Security Breach

Decrease Potential Data Breach, with Simple Security Control

Some senior management folks might find this strange, but you can significantly make your organization harder to breach. In fact, just a handful of defenses can do more to lower your cybersecurity risk than anything else. These include fighting social engineering and phishing better, patching the most likely to be attacked software far better, and requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all logons.

Zero-day and information system protection

Because zero-day flaws usually refer to software that is widely in use, it’s generally considered good form if one experiences such an attack to share any available details with the rest of the world about how the attack appears to work — in much the same way you might hope a sick patient suffering from some unknown, highly infectious disease might nonetheless choose to help doctors diagnose how the infection could have been caught and spread. patch management is critical in protecting information technology systems.

Ransomware Breach and Criminals

The typical use case for ransomware is a shotgun approach type distribution campaign of dropping ransomware on people's machines, and then you charge them for getting their data or services back,” says Jeffery Walker, CISO at CyberSecOp. “Another use case is for covering tracks. These tools have the façade of ransomware: They would encrypt data, they would post a ransom note, and they would ask for money. They will even give you details on how to pay, but they're used to remove things from the endpoint while throwing off defenders into believing that the reason why that data was lost was because of a random hit by ransomware, but in some cases this is a cover up of a more bigger breach”

Vulnerabilities and Exploits

These are all vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cybercriminals bent on stealing personally identifiable information and protected health information – activity that could also play havoc disrupting healthcare delivery processes.

The study, based on network traffic data monitored by CyberSecOp over a six-month period, found the most prevalent method attackers use to hide command-and-control communications in healthcare networks was hidden HTTPS tunnels.

CyberSecOp compliance solutions deliver cost-effective data protection, data discovery, data classification and data loss prevention for data privacy and compliance.

Ransomware Breach and Ransomware Prevention

Cyber-criminals have turned to ransomware as the latest go-to tool for attacking and extorting businesses using a wide range of variants such as Dharma, Wallet, WannaCry, Cryptowall, Samas, Locky, TeslaCrypt., RyUK and others. The outbreak of WannaCry was one of the largest and worst ransomware campaigns ever. Traditional signature-based antivirus and threat detection methods have proven to be woefully ineffective against such attacks. CyberSecOp use AI to help organization protect their data, and provide ransomware Incident response and remediation services.

HOW DO I RESPOND TO RANSOMWARE?

Implement your security incident response and business continuity plan. It may take time for your organization’s IT professionals to isolate and remove the ransomware threat to your systems and restore data and normal operations. In the meantime, you should take steps to maintain your organization’s essential functions according to your business continuity plan. Organizations should maintain and regularly test backup plans, disaster recovery plans, and business continuity procedures.

Contact law enforcement immediately. We encourage you to contact a local FBI or USSS field office immediately to report a ransomware event and request assistance. Contact CyberSecOp Security Consulting Firm for ransomware incident response & digital forensic services.

There are serious risks to consider before paying the ransom. We do not encourage paying a ransom. We understand that when businesses are faced with an inability to function, executives will evaluate all options to protect their shareholders, employees, and customers. As you contemplate this choice, consider the following risks:

•       Paying a ransom does not guarantee an organization will regain access to their data; in fact, some individuals or organizations were never provided with decryption keys after having paid a ransom

•       Some victims who paid the demand have reported being targeted again by cyber actors.

•       After paying the originally demanded ransom, some victims have been asked to pay more to get the promised decryption key.

•       Paying could inadvertently encourage this criminal business model.

Ransomware Incident Response from CyberSecOp, the firm that provide ransomware protection, and ransomware ransom payment.

WHAT IS RANSOMWARE?

Ransomware is a type of malicious software cyber actors use to deny access to systems or data. The malicious cyber actor holds systems or data hostage until the ransom is paid. After the initial infection, the ransomware attempts to spread to shared storage drives and other accessible systems. If the demands are not met, the system or encrypted data remains unavailable, or data may be deleted.  

HOW DO I PROTECT MY NETWORKS?

A commitment to cyber hygiene and best practices is critical to protecting your networks. Here are some questions you may want to ask of your organization to help prevent ransomware attacks: 

1.    Backups: Do we backup all critical information? Are the backups stored offline? Have we tested our ability to revert to backups during an incident?

2.    Risk Analysis: Have we conducted a cybersecurity risk analysis of the organization? 

3.    Staff Training: Have we trained staff on cybersecurity best practices?

4.    Vulnerability Patching: Have we implemented appropriate patching of known system vulnerabilities?

5.    Application Whitelisting: Do we allow only approved programs to run on our networks?

6.    Incident Response: Do we have an incident response plan and have we exercised it? 

7.    Business Continuity: Are we able to sustain business operations without access to certain systems? For how long? Have we tested this?

8.    Penetration Testing: Have we attempted to hack into our own systems to test the security of our systems and our ability to defend against attacks?

Protecting Your Networks from Ransomware

Ransomware is the fastest growing malware threat, targeting users of all types—from the home user to the corporate network. On average, more than 4,000 ransomware attacks have occurred daily since January 1, 2016. This is a 300-percent increase over the approximately 1,000 attacks per day seen in 2015. There are very effective prevention and response actions that can significantly mitigate the risk posed to your organization.

Ransomware targets home users, businesses, and government networks and can lead to temporary or permanent loss of sensitive or proprietary information, disruption to regular operations, financial losses incurred to restore systems and files, and potential harm to an organization’s reputation. 

 Ransomware may direct a user to click on a link to pay a ransom; however, the link may be malicious and could lead to additional malware infections. Some ransomware variants display intimidating messages, such as: 

“Your computer was used to visit websites with illegal content. To unlock your computer, you must pay a $100 fine.”

 “You only have 96 hours to submit the payment. If you do not send money within provided time, all your files will be permanently encrypted and no one will be able to recover them.”

Ransomware?

Ransomware is a form of malware that targets your critical data and systems for the purpose of extortion. Ransomware is frequently

delivered through spearphishing emails. After the user has been locked out of the data or system, the cyber actor demands a ransom payment. After receiving payment, the cyber actor will purportedly provide an avenue to the victim to regain access to the system or data. Recent iterations target enterprise end users, making awareness and training a critical preventive measure.

Protecting Your Networks

Educate Your Personnel

Attackers often enter the organization by tricking a user to disclose a password or click on a virus-laden email attachment.

 Remind employees to never click unsolicited links or open unsolicited attachments in emails. To improve workforce awareness, the internal security team may test the training of an organization’s workforce with simulated phishing emails.

You will need and experience security consulting firm to guide you remediate the ransomware.

Proactive Prevention is the Best Defense

Prevention is the most effective defense against ransomware and it is critical to take precautions for protection. Infections can be devastating to an individual or organization, and recovery may be a difficult process requiring the services of a reputable data recovery specialist.

 The U.S. Government (USG) recommends that users and administrators take the following preventive measures to protect their computer networks from falling victim to a ransomware infection:

Preventive Measures 

•      Implement an awareness and training program. Because end users are targets, employees and individuals should be aware of the threat of ransomware and how it is delivered. 

•      Enable strong spam filters to prevent phishing emails from reaching the end users and authenticate inbound email using technologies like Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Message Authentication Reporting and Conformance (DMARC), and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) to prevent email spoofing. 

•      Scan all incoming and outgoing emails to detect threats and filter executable files from reaching end users.

•      Configure firewalls to block access to known malicious IP addresses.

•      Patch operating systems, software, and firmware on devices. Consider using a centralized patch management system. 

•      Set anti-virus and anti-malware programs to conduct regular scans automatically.

•      Manage the use of privileged accounts based on the principle of least privilege: no users should be assigned administrative access unless absolutely needed; and those with a need for administrator accounts should only use them when necessary. 

•      Configure access controls—including file, directory, and network share permissions— with least privilege in mind. If a user only needs to read specific files, the user should not have write access to those files, directories, or shares. 

•      Disable macro scripts from office files transmitted via email. Consider using Office Viewer software to open Microsoft Office files transmitted via email instead of full office suite applications. 

•      Implement Software Restriction Policies (SRP) or other controls to prevent programs from executing from common ransomware locations, such as temporary folders supporting popular Internet browsers or compression/decompression programs, including the AppData/LocalAppData folder. 

•      Consider disabling Remote Desktop protocol (RDP) if it is not being used.

•      Use application whitelisting, which only allows systems to execute programs known and permitted by security policy. 

•      Execute operating system environments or specific programs in a virtualized environment. 

•      Categorize data based on organizational value and implement physical and logical separation of networks and data for different organizational units.  Business Continuity Considerations 

•      Back up data regularly. Verify the integrity of those backups and test the restoration process to ensure it is working. 

•      Conduct an annual penetration test and vulnerability assessment. 

•      Secure your backups. Ensure backups are not connected permanently to the computers and networks they are backing up. Examples are securing backups in the cloud or physically storing backups offline. Some instances of ransomware have the capability to lock cloud-based backups when systems continuously back up in real time, also known as persistent synchronization. Backups are critical in ransomware recovery and response; if you are infected, a backup may be the best way to recover your critical data. 

What to Do If Infected with Ransomware

Should preventive measures fail, the USG recommends that organizations consider taking the following steps upon an infection with ransomware: 

•      Isolate the infected computer immediately. Infected systems should be removed from the network as soon as possible to prevent ransomware from attacking network or share drives. 

•      Isolate or power-off affected devices that have not yet been completely corrupted. This may afford more time to clean and recover data, contain damage, and prevent worsening conditions.

•      Immediately secure backup data or systems by taking them offline. Ensure backups are free of malware.

•      Contact law enforcement immediately. We strongly encourage you to contact a local field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or U.S. Secret Service immediately upon discovery to report a ransomware event and contact CyberSecOp to request assistance.

•      If available, collect and secure partial portions of the ransomed data that might exist.

•      If possible, change all online account passwords and network passwords after removing the system from the network. Furthermore, change all system passwords once the malware is removed from the system.

•      Delete Registry values and files to stop the program from loading.

Implement your security incident response and business continuity plan. Ideally, organizations will ensure they have appropriate backups, so their response to an attack will simply be to restore the data from a known clean backup. Having a data backup can eliminate the need to pay a ransom to recover data

There are serious risks to consider before paying the ransom. CyberSecOp does not encourage paying a ransom to criminal actors. However, after systems have been compromised, whether to pay a ransom is a serious decision, requiring the evaluation of all options to protect shareholders, employees, and customers. Victims will want to evaluate the technical feasibility, timeliness, and cost of restarting systems from backup. Ransomware victims may also wish to consider the following factors:

•      Paying a ransom does not guarantee an organization will regain access to their data; in fact, some individuals or organizations were never provided with decryption keys after paying a ransom. 

•      Some victims who paid the demand were targeted again by cyber actors.

•      After paying the originally demanded ransom, some victims were asked to pay more to get the promised decryption key. CyberSecOp can negotiate the ransom for you, we have a 60% t rate of reducing the ransom.

•      Paying could inadvertently encourage this criminal business model. 

Ransomware Variants

Ransomware is a growing criminal activity involving numerous variants. Since 2012 when police locker ransomware variants first emerged, ransomware variants have become more sophisticated and destructive. Some variants encrypt not just the files on the infected device, but also the contents of shared or networked drives, externally attached storage media devices, and cloud storage services that are mapped to infected computers. These variants are considered destructive because they encrypt users’ and organizations’ files, and render those files useless until a ransom is paid. 

 Recent federal investigations by the FBI reveal that ransomware authors continue to improve ransomware code by using anonymizing services like “Tor” for end-to-end communication to infected systems and Bitcoin virtual currency to collect ransom payments. Currently, the top five ransomware variants targeting U.S. companies and individuals are CryptoWall, CTBLocker, TeslaCrypt, MSIL/Samas, and Locky. New ransomware variants are continually emerging.  

CryptoWall

CryptoWall and its variants have been actively used to target U.S. victims since April 2014.

CryptoWall was the first ransomware variant that only accepted ransom payments in Bitcoin.

The ransom amounts associated with CryptoWall are typically between $200 and $10,000. Following the takedown of the CryptoLocker botnet, CryptoWall has become the most successful ransomware variant with victims all over the world. Between April 2014 and June 2015, IC3 received 992 CryptoWall-related complaints, with victims reporting losses totaling over $18 million. CryptoWall is primarily spread via spam email but also infects victims through drive-by downloads and malvertising. 

CTB-Locker

CTB-Locker emerged in June 2014 and is one of the first ransomware variants to use Tor for its C2 infrastructure. CTB-Locker uses Tor exclusively for its C2 servers and only connects to the C2 after encrypting victims’ files. Additionally, unlike other ransomware variants that utilize the Tor network for some communication, the Tor components are embedded in the CTBLocker malware, making it more efficient and harder to detect. CTB-Locker is spread through drive-by downloads and spam emails.

TeslaCrypt

TeslaCrypt emerged in February 2015, initially targeting the video game community by encrypting gaming files. These files were targeted in addition to the files typically targeted by ransomware (documents, images, and database files). Once the data was encrypted, TeslaCrypt attempted to delete all Shadow Volume Copies and system restore points to prevent file recovery. TeslaCrypt was distributed through the Angler, Sweet Orange, and Nuclear exploit kits.

MSIL or Samas (SAMSAM)

MSIL or Samas (SAMSAM) was used to compromise the networks of multiple U.S. victims, including 2016 attacks on healthcare facilities  that were running outdated versions of the JBoss content management application. SAMSAM exploits vulnerable Java-based Web servers. SAMSAM uses open-source tools to identify and compile a list of hosts reporting to the victim’s active directory. The actors then use psexec.exe to distribute the malware to each host on the network and encrypt most of the files on the system. The actors charge varying amounts in Bitcoin to provide the decryption keys to the victim.

Locky

In early 2016, a destructive ransomware variant, Locky, was observed infecting computers belonging to businesses globally, including those in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom. Locky propagates through spam emails that include malicious Microsoft Office documents or compressed attachments (e.g., .rar, .zip) that were previously associated with banking Trojans such as Dridex and Pony. The malicious attachments contain macros or JavaScript files to download the Locky files. Recently, this ransomware has also been distributed using the Nuclear Exploit Kit.

Links to Other Types of Malware

Systems infected with ransomware are also often infected with other malware. In the case of

CryptoLocker, a user typically was infected by opening a malicious attachment from an email.

This malicious attachment contained Upatre, a downloader, which infected the user with GameOver Zeus. GameOver Zeus was a variant of the Zeus Trojan used to steal banking information and other types of data. After a system became infected with GameOver Zeus, Upatre would also download CryptoLocker. Finally, CryptoLocker encrypted files on the infected system and demanded a ransom payment

 The disruption operation against the GameOver Zeus botnet also affected CryptoLocker, demonstrating the close ties between ransomware and other types of malware. In June 2014,

an international law enforcement operation successfully weakened the infrastructure of both

GameOverZeus and CryptoLocker.

Ransomware Attack: Threats, and Countermeasures

When you combine cryptography with malware, you get a very dangerous mix of problems. This is a type of computer virus that goes by another name, “ransomware”. This type of virus is part of a field of study called “cryptovirology”. Through the use of techniques called phishing, a threat actor sends the ransomware file to an unknowing victim. If the file is opened it will execute the virus payload, which is malicious code. The ransomware runs the code that encrypts user data on the infected computer or host. The data are user files like documents, spreadsheets, photos, multimedia files and even confidential records. The ransomware targets your personal computer files and applies an encryption algorithm like RSA which makes the file inaccessible. The only way to access them is if the user pays a ransom to the threat actor by following instructions which appear encoded into the encrypted files. Thus it is called ransomware, because a form of payment is demanded in order to fix the problem.

bad guys attack.png

Once they have all publicly available email addresses, the fun starts. The more of your email addresses that are floating out there, the bigger your attack footprint is, and the higher the risk is. It’s often a surprise how many addresses are actually out there. Now they can send all employees an email supposedly coming from Accounting, Human Resources, the CEO or perhaps the mail room, and social engineer your users to click on a link. almost 90 percent of attack are done via the internet, based on the new software model, and yes the bad guys are also moving to the cloud. Software is shifting away from locally-installed apps to Software as a Service web applications that run in the cloud. Criminals are cashing in on this trend, which has led to the creation of Ransomware as a Service (RaaS), a growing threat to business.

RaaS refers to various online malware exploits that bad actors can use to attack the IT assets of businesses and individuals. These attack programs are created by criminal entrepreneurs who sell their services to other criminals. The people who buy these programs then extort or blackmail their victims by holding computer systems to ransom.

How does Ransomware spread?

Ransomware is typically spread through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments. These emails appear to come from a legitimate source and give a compelling reason that the document is important. Malicious attachments are often PDF,  ZIP, DOC, XLS, PPT files that appear as invoices, legitimate business documents, or other work-related files.  In some cases, Ransonware may end up on your computer by visiting infected web sites. To avoid malicious drive-by downloads, ensure that antivirus and all installed software is up-to-date.

How to Mitigate the Risk of Ransomware Infections

These recommendations are not comprehensive but provide general best practices.

Securing Networks and Systems

  • Have an incident response plan that includes what to do during a ransomware event.

  • Backups are critical. Use a backup system that allows multiple iterations of the backups to be saved, in case a copy of the backups includes encrypted or infected files. Routinely test backups for data integrity and to ensure it is operational.

  • Use antivirus and anti-spam solutions. Enable regular system and network scans with antivirus programs enabled to automatically update signatures. Implement an anti-spam solution to stop phishing emails from reaching the network. Consider adding a warning banner to all emails from external sources that reminds users of the dangers of clicking on links and opening attachments.

  • Disable macros scripts. Consider using Office Viewer software to open Microsoft Office files transmitted via e-mail instead of full office suite applications.

  • Keep all systems patched, including all hardware, including mobile devices, operating systems, software, and applications, including cloud locations and content management systems (CMS), patched and up-to-date. Use a centralized patch management system if possible. Implement application white-listing and software restriction policies (SRP) to prevent the execution of programs in common ransomware locations, such as temporary folders.

  • Restrict Internet access. Use a proxy server for Internet access and consider ad-blocking software. Restrict access to common ransomware entry points, such as personal email accounts and social networking websites.

  • Apply the principles of least privilege and network segmentation. Categorize and separate data based on organizational value and where possible, implement virtual environments and the physical and logical separation of networks and data. Apply the principle of least privilege.

  • Vet and monitor third parties that have remote access to the organization’s network and/or your connections to third parties, to ensure they are diligent with cybersecurity best practices.

  • Participate in cybersecurity information sharing programs and organizations, such as MS-ISAC and InfraGard.

Securing the End User

  • Provide social engineering and phishing training to employees. Urge them not to open suspicious emails, not to click on links or open attachments contained in such emails, and to be cautious before visiting unknown websites.

  • Remind users to close their browser when not in use.

  • Have a reporting plan that ensures staff knows where and how to report suspicious activity.

Responding to a Compromise/Attack

  • Immediately disconnect the infected system from the network to prevent infection propagation.

  • Call CyberSecOp.com Ransomware Response Team: They provide remediation and bitcoin payment services.

  • Determine the affected data as some sensitive data, such as electronic protected health information (ePHI) may require additional reporting and/or mitigation measures.

  • Determine if a decryptor is available. Online resources such as No More Ransom! can help.

  • Restore files from regularly maintained backups.

  • Report the infection. It is highly recommended that SLTT government agencies report ransomware incidents to MS-ISAC. Other sectors and home users may report to infections to local Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field offices or to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Ransomware Checker & Removal Tools

Why You Need a Cybersecurity Management Program

Many organization’s cybersecurity teams (or information security teams as they used to be known) continue to struggle to communicate cybersecurity issues to senior leadership. Likewise, senior management also struggles to effectively articulate cybersecurity strategy to technical cybersecurity personnel. It is as though two parts of the same organization speak foreign languages to one another, and each party has a very limited, or no, knowledge of the other party’s language. However, it does not have to be like this.

Why so many organizations struggle with Cyber Security

Failure to communicate issues is most often revealed in grassroots cybersecurity initiatives that have evolved into corporate cybersecurity programs. Typically, this resulted from an enterprise in startup mode implementing solutions to address specific technical challenges. Unfortunately, many organizations continue to employ a similar approach to secure much larger and more complex environments against threats that outmatch the capabilities of their original solutions. No longer simply a technical solution, cybersecurity management has become a business function in today’s industry. As a business function, a greater level of integration with other business units requires a greater level of transparency and performance reporting. The evolution of grassroots cybersecurity programs rarely results in the kind of mature cybersecurity solutions that are aligned with, and address business needs. And why should they? The initial programs were designed to solve technical challenges, such as preventing virus outbreak or infection, stopping cyber attackers from compromising or stealing valuable information. Such initial cybersecurity efforts were neither designed as business functions nor defined in business terms.

CyberSecOp Comprehensive Security Program - Going beyond compliance

Cyber Security Program Key Success Factors

The following key success factors are common to many successful cybersecurity programs. The programs:

  • Support and drive strong governance attitudes and actions

  • Are designed, developed, and implemented in a similar way to other business functions

  • Adopt a standard framework approach, usable for an extended period of many years with little or no changes to that framework

  • Are measureable in terms of their effectiveness

Organizations and executives that drive successful cybersecurity programs do so in the same manner as other successful business initiatives. Executives succeed at this not because of industry pressure, but because each aims to improve their organization. Having identified the opportunity, executives evaluate whether the initiative poses additional risks to their organizations and decide whether to accept this additional risk or not. After accepting such risk, executive sponsors continue to evaluate initiatives toward implementation. Even when initiatives are operational, executives still employ strong governance methods, including internal audit teams, to manage and monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of these initiatives. This business approach has become institutionalized across most enterprise units with the exception of IT and cybersecurity. Key stakeholders in IT and cybersecurity often claim that cybersecurity management programs are too technical, only internal facing, or too complex, to properly develop and implement using this approach.

The truth is if these same IT and cybersecurity groups adopted a common framework and designed their cybersecurity management programs based on said framework, cybersecurity management would truly become just a standard business function in their enterprises. Unfortunately, the cybersecurity world does not agree on a standard cybersecurity framework across all countries, industries, and states. Analysis of the commonalities and differences between these standard frameworks show that it is possible to create a universal cybersecurity management framework to address all countries, industries, and states. Such a framework is not firmly associated with any particular cybersecurity standard and can be adapted during implementation to address any specific security standard that organizations using it wishes to follow. This paper introduces a cybersecurity management framework where it is apparent that a successful approach is not too technical, addresses both internal and external concerns, and is not overly complex to implement, operationalize, and manage over the long term.

CyberSecOp Cyber Security Management - Aligning businesses with security

Cybersecurity Management Framework

The design of the CyberSecOP cybersecurity management framework (CMF) assumes cybersecurity management is a business function.

The framework, as a business function, is comprised of three discrete pillars with each subsequent layer unfolding increasing levels of specificity as follows:

The Executive Management (Strategy) Pillar directs Governance and Planning initiatives that drive the framework forward to operation.

The Executive Management Pillar requires people to identify why cybersecurity is needed, consider the business issues, and then define, document, and publish the direction the required cybersecurity program will adopt.

The Operations Pillar that defines what the cybersecurity program must address to comply with the requirements specified in the strategy, what supporting functions are needed, and what level of reporting/ governance monitoring should be provided. These needs are supported through the security intelligence, IT and Cybersecurity Assurance and IT Risk Management operations sub-pillars.

  • The Operations Pillar requires definitions of documented operational standards, processes, procedures, and other collateral that specify what operators should do and how they should do it.

    • The Tactical (Technology) Pillar defines how required cybersecurity controls mandated in the Operations and Executive Management pillars will be applied to the systems, networks and applications used by the organization and how evidence will be provided to management that the security controls implemented actually address the specific requirements and that they perform their job as expected.

    • The security controls in the Tactical pillar, whether requiring technology or not, are responsible for securing all aspects of an enterprise computing environment, continuously monitoring the environment for security events, collecting and analyzing captured events, and reporting defined security metrics, some of which are provided to the SLT.

Addressing Cybersecurity Challenges

Although addressing cybersecurity challenges with just three pillars is perfectly possible, adopting and using it in that way is difficult and potentially open to error or misinterpretation. To minimize these issues, these macro-level pillars must be divided into more manageable chunks. The CyberSecOp LocPar subdivides its three macro pillars into seven discrete focus areas:

  • Executive Management: Key decisions and accountability required to drive the program

  • IT Risk Management: Reducing risk exposure to the organization to a level acceptable to the SLT and Board of Directors.

  • Cybersecurity Intelligence: Required to provide the cybersecurity and IT teams with appropriate information to achieve and surpass IT Risk Management goals.

  • IT and Cybersecurity Assurance: Required to provide evidence to management and especially the SLT that their investments in cybersecurity are delivering the benefits they expected.

  • Secure Network: Required to support secure, on demand access to information to authorized personnel no matter where it is located within, or external to, the organization.

  • Secure Systems: Required to provide controlled access to applications, data and devices according to the identity of the requesting party. This focus area also includes how data is protected, whether at rest, or in transit.

  • Secure Applications: Required to control access to data and other networks, systems and applications according to the identity of the requesting party. For internally developed applications, requirements extend to how the application was designed, developed and managed throughout the whole development lifecycle.

Summary

Development, implementation, and maintenance of a cybersecurity management program for an organization is no small undertaking. However, the overall value that organizations achieve through development and implementation of such programs includes reduced instances of successful cyber attacks. Moreover, a cybersecurity management program provides organizations with a means to reduce a successful attack’s impact on the bottom line due to its programmatic predefined approach for identifying and responding to cybersecurity incidents. Read more about cybersecurity management programs and CyberSecOp Cybersecurity Services at https://www.cybersecop.com/

Addressing Cyber Threats and Enabling Security in your Enterprise

Cybersecurity threats from hacktivists, criminals, and hostile nation states are enough to keep government officials, businesses, and consumers up at night. These attacks are growing in sophistication and frequency and pose serious threats to our national and economic security.

Everyone impacted by these vicious and dangerous acts must work together to help prevent, protect against, and effectively respond to them.

What are the biggest cyber threats CISOs are worried about in 2019? In today's age of breaches, staying ahead of cyber threats is becoming more critical than ever. Dive into how organizations are addressing the threat of cyber attacks, how they are measuring risk, and what they are doing about improving security from some of the top experts in the field.

  1. Ransomware is still a large risk, affecting a large number of businesses

  2. Data Loss and Data Breach based on information available on dark web, proves that organization can’t protect customers data.

  3. Small business with no security program are at risk more than large organization.

  4. All industry need to have some type of cyber regulations based on secure standards such as NIST or ISO.

What can business do, to enable a stronger security posture in their enterprise

Businesses adopt standalone cyber insurance policies as boards and executives wake up to cyber liability. As boards and executives experience and witness the impact of cyber attacks, including reduced earnings, operational disruption, and claims brought against directors and officers, businesses will turn to tailored enterprise cyber insurance policies, rather than relying on “silent” components in other policies. Adoption will spread beyond traditional buyers of cyber insurance, such as retail, financial, and healthcare sectors, to others vulnerable to cyber-related business disruption, including manufacturing, transportation, utility, and oil and gas.

As the physical and cyber worlds collide, chief risk officers take center stage to manage cyber as an enterprise risk. As sophisticated cyber attacks generate real-world consequences that impact business operations at increasing scale, C-suites will wake up to the enterprise nature of cyber risk. In 2018, expect CROs to have a seat at the cyber table, working closely with chief information security officers (CISOs) to help organizations understand the holistic impact of cyber risk on the business.

Regulatory spotlight widens and becomes more complex, provoking calls for harmonization. EU holds global companies to account over General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) violation; big data aggregators come under scrutiny in the U.S. In 2018, regulators at the international, national and local levels will more strictly enforce existing cybersecurity regulations and introduce new regulations. Expect to see EU regulators holding major U.S. and global companies to account for GDPR violations. Across the Atlantic, big data organizations (aggregators and resellers) will come under scrutiny on how they are collecting, using, and securing data. Industry organizations will push back on regulators, calling for alignment of cyber regulations.

Criminals look to attack businesses embracing the Internet of Things, in particular targeting small to mid-sized businesses providing services to global organizations. In 2018, global organizations will need to consider the increased complexities when it comes to how businesses are using the IoT in relation to third-party risk management. The report predicts large companies will be brought down by an attack on a small vendor or contractor that targets the IoT, using it as a way into their network. This will serve as a wake-up call for large organizations to update their third-party risk management, and for small and mid-sized businesses to implement better security measures or risk losing business.

As passwords continue to be hacked, and attackers circumvent physical biometrics, multi-factor authentication becomes more important than ever before. Beyond passwords, companies are implementing new methods of authentication – from facial recognition to fingerprints. However, these technologies are still vulnerable and as such, the report anticipates that a new wave of companies will embrace multi-factor authentication to combat the assault on passwords and attacks targeting biometrics. This will require individuals to present several pieces of evidence to an authentication instrument. With the new need for multi-factor authentication, and consumer demand for unobtrusive layers of security, expect to see the implementation of behavioral biometrics.

Criminals will target transactions that use reward points as currency, spurring mainstream adoption of bug bounty programs: Companies beyond the technology, government, automotive and financial services sectors will introduce bug bounty platforms into their security programs. As criminals target transactions that use points as currency, businesses with loyalty, gift and rewards programs –such as airlines, retailers, and hospitality providers– will be the next wave of companies implementing bug bounty programs. As more organizations adopt the programs, they will require support from external experts to avoid introducing new risks with improperly configured programs.

Ransomware attackers get targeted; crypto currencies help ransomware industry flourish. In 2018, ransomware criminals will evolve their tactics. The reports predicts that attackers utilizing forms of benign malware—such as software designed to cause DDoS attacks or launch display ads on thousands of systems— will launch huge outbreaks of ransomware. While attackers will continue to launch scatter-gun-style attacks to disrupt as many systems as possible, the report predicts an increase in instances of attacks targeting specific companies and demanding ransomware payments proportional to the value of the encrypted assets. Crypto currencies will continue to support the flourishing ransomware industry overall, despite law enforcement becoming more advanced in their ability to trace attacks, for example through bitcoin wallets.

Insider risks plague organizations as they underestimate their severe vulnerability and liability while major attacks fly under the radar. In 2017, businesses under invested in proactive insider risk mitigation strategies, and 2018 will be no different. According to the report, a continued lack of security training and technical controls, coupled with the changing dynamics of the modern workforce, the full extent of cyber attacks and incidents caused by insiders will not become fully public. Many companies will continue to reactively responding to incidents behind closed doors and remain unaware of the true cost and impact of insider risk on the organization.

What is Cybersecurity Risk Management

Cyber Risk Management is the next evolution in enterprise technology risk and security for organizations that increasingly rely on digital processes to run their business. Risk management is a concept that has been around as long as companies have had assets to protect. The simplest example may be insurance. Life, health, auto and other insurance are all designed to help a person protect against losses. Risk management also extends to physical devices, such doors and locks to protect homes and autos, vaults to protect money and precious jewels, and police, fire and security to protect against other physical risks.

What is cybersecurity risk management?

Rather than doors, locks and vaults, IT departments rely on a combination of strategies, technologies and user education to protect an enterprise against cybersecurity attacks that can compromise systems, steal data and other valuable company information, and damage an enterprise’s reputation. As the volume and severity of cyber attacks grow, the need for cybersecurity risk management grows with it.

Cybersecurity risk management takes the idea of real world risk management and applies it to the cyber world. It involves identifying your risks and vulnerabilities and applying administrative actions and comprehensive solutions to make sure your organization is adequately protected.

Setting up your risk management system

Before setting up a cybersecurity risk management system, the enterprise needs to determine what assets it needs to protect and place a priority on. As the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) points out in its Framework for Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, there is no one-size-fits all solution. Different organizations have different technology infrastructures and different potential risks. Some organizations such as financial services firms and healthcare organizations, have regulatory concerns in addition to business concerns that need to be addressed in a cybersecurity risk management system. Cybersecurity should follow a layered approach, with additional protections for the most important assets, such as corporate and customer data. Remember that reputational harm from a breach can do more damage than the breach itself.

Risk management with CyberSecOp

  • Identity Services

Identity services help companies manage the explosion of digital identities and access to critical resources, both internal and cloud-based. In this age of digital transformation, the spheres of the individual’s life―as a professional, consumer, and private citizen―are interlinked in a complex digital structure, like a piece of fabric. The growing ability to piece together a digital picture of a person’s life and identity carries both risk and opportunity.

Wherever an organization is on its journey, we can help them achieve efficiencies, reduce risk, and evolve to support the changing needs of the digital business. With 20 years of identity management experience across the major industries, we offer field-tested accelerators and methods that are scalable and adaptive to each client’s specific set of business requirements.

  • Data Protection
    Data Protection services help implement capabilities and technologies to protect sensitive data. As infrastructure and applications become more virtualized and adaptive, new cybersecurity gaps can be created as fast as old ones have been addressed, making the prevention of data breaches more difficult than ever. By prioritizing preventative and detective defenses around highly sensitive data, security teams can help reduce data loss and risk when attackers get past network, application, and infrastructure controls.

    Leveraging these principles and an understanding of each client’s risk profile, CyberSecOp helps organizations design, implement, and manage capabilities to help better protect sensitive information across the end-to-end data lifecycle, and at an organization’s last line of defense.

  • Application Security 
    In the era of digital transformation, application portfolios are becoming exponentially more diverse—and support a growing community of users. As the application “surface area” expands, so does cyber risk. Amid the change, one thing remains constant: applications are the lifeline of the business—and need to be a front line of cyber defense. It’s an important time for organizations to reexamine their approaches to application security.

    Improving application security requires technical attention to individual applications, but also a broad framework across the application portfolio—from custom-developed to commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) applications and whether managed on-premise, on a mobile platform, in the cloud, or in a hybrid environment. It also requires the flexibility to support varying and often coexisting system methodology processes from waterfall, to agile, to DevOps in order to address application-related cyber risk at the pace of the organization’s digital evolution.

    CyberSecOp’s application security services help organizations to design and implement security mechanisms across the system development methodology that can flex to your operational requirements to drive value through IT while also protecting your application portfolio against the changing cyber threat landscape.

  • Infrastructure Security
    Infrastructure Security services focus on developing advanced protection of core systems and devices. Today’s critical business drivers—the need to digitally transform, modernize the supply chain, enhance customer experience, increase agility, reduce costs, etc.—are driving a major shift in technology priorities. This shift includes increasing focus on cloud adoption, the Internet of Things (IoT), hybrid computing, software-defined networks (SDN), robotic process automation (RPA), blockchain, artificial intelligence, and more. The infrastructure supporting it has become highly virtualized and automated—and the traditional means of securing infrastructure fall short.

    CyberSecOp helps organizations move toward a modernized, risk-focused agile defense approach. While the basic infrastructure domains—physical facilities, networks, systems and storage, and endpoints—that need to be protected remain the same, the means to secure them must evolve. By providing assessment, strategy, architecture, implementation, and operational management assistance across the four infrastructure domains, we help clients face our brave new world with a transformed, agile defense capability.


Data Protection Solutions & Data Security

Protect and secure data and data privacy is critical since most companies hold clients/costumers sensitive data, and protect that data is not only critical to its clients/costumes. Data protection is also critical for companies intellectual properties and reputation.

Data Protection Services

As more organizations move to hybrid or multi-cloud IT strategy, managing data protection services has become increasingly more complex. Various systems, technologies and environments require different tools for data protection management, and many IT teams find they must use a variety of tools to perform backup operations. In addition to greater inefficiency and rising costs, this intensive focus on data protection services diverts IT teams from higher value tasks and other strategic priorities.

Data Protection Simplified by CyberSecOp LocVault services

To simplify data protection services, CyberSecOp offers a Managed Data Protection solution that can protect digital assets across all your environments. Powered by Locvault's best-in-class data backup and recovery software, CyberSecOps Managed Data protection services help simplify data protection by enabling IT teams to use a single tool for backup and restore processes.

Efficiently Protect, Manage and Recover Your Data

  • Protect, manage and access the information you need with a heterogeneous data protection solution

  • A single interface manages data at a fraction of the time, effort and cost required by separate point products

  • Simplify data management in complex networked storage environments with a consistent way to locate and manage data and applications

    With Privacy and Data Protection, CyberSecOp LocVault will help you protect your sensitive business data and help you meet compliance requirements related to data storage and protection.

    We’ll also help you assess your risk, create custom policies to encrypt and restrict access to sensitive data, and report on data access — helping to ensure that your important data remains protected. Speak with an expert

Are Users Your Weakest Link - To Your Cybersecurity Posture

Humans remain the weak link in corporate data protection

Humans remain the weak link in corporate data protection, but you might be surprised that it isn't only rank-and-file employees duped by phishing scams who pose risks. Some companies are lulled into a false sense of cybersecurity by vendors. You read that right, Some enterprises believe the shiny new technologies they've acquired will protect them from anything.

As we continue to build defense in depth and deploy security appliances utilizing AI and other emerging technologies, attackers will continue to pivot to the perennial weak spot: the users. Recently I hosted the Social Engineering Capture The Flag competition at Hackfest in Quebec, and similar to last year, the results were sobering. Every single targeted company had employees that gave detailed information over the phone on their OS and service pack level, and 88 percent gave detailed information on the browser they were using. Three quarters went to a URL that they were given over the phone. The information that the companies bled was disheartening but not shocking. Until we train employees to trust their instincts and tell them it's okay to say no to a customer, things won't change. In the current environment where companies ask their customers to leave a positive review online, employees increasingly feel less empowered to terminate a call they feel is suspicious. Your friendly neighborhood hacker is happy to exploit this weakness.

Billions being send on security tools

The threat of cyber crime has created a significant increase in interest on the topic of cyber security, with organizations spending billions of dollars to protect themselves against a fast evolving array of current and potential future threats. Many spend heavily on monitoring, surveillance and software; however, they often neglect the risk exposure created by their own people – and, in this digital age, by their customers.

Businesses are losing the fight, pay ransom, or lose their lively hood

Businesses are forced to make exceedingly difficult decisions. On one hand, it feels wrong to negotiate with the cybercriminals and give them what they want. On the other hand, the looming financial hit and business interruption is typically far more detrimental than the payoff amount. If business owners don’t engage with the ransomers, they face the prospect that they, and their employees, may lose their livelihood. I see ransomware as a continuing cyber threat in 2019 and beyond. It’s up to business owners to implement the best security practices and ensure that their employees are properly trained to identify and avoid potential threats.

Cybercrime To Cost Businesses $5.2 Trillion - Cyber Security Is Very Important

Cybercrime To Cost Businesses $5.2 Trillion - Cyber Security Very Important

Global companies could incur $5.2 trillion in cybercrime costs and lost revenue associated with cyberattacks over the next five years, according to a survey of more than 1,700 business leaders conducted by Accenture.

  • 80 percent of business leaders said protecting their companies from third-party security weaknesses is becoming “increasingly difficult.”

  • 79 percent noted digital economy advancement “will be severely hindered” unless dramatic Internet security improvements take place.

  • 76 percent indicated that consumers cannot trust the safety of their online identities due to the fact that too much of their personal data is already available without restrictions.

  • 75 percent said addressing cybersecurity challenges will require an organized group effort.

  • 56 percent want stricter Internet security regulations imposed by a central organization or governing body.

Today’s business leaders often understand cyber threats and are increasing their cyber security investments accordingly, Accenture said. However, business leaders also must collaborate with executives, government leaders and regulators to develop principle-based standards and policies to safeguard the Internet.

How Can Business Leaders Address Internet Security Threats?

Accenture offered the following recommendations to help business leaders keep pace with evolving Internet security threats:

  • Create an Industry-Wide Internet Code of Security: Business leaders can promote the development and implementation of ethical codes of conduct for software professionals across their respective industries.

  • Encourage Consumers to Take Control of Their Digital Identities: Business leaders can teach consumers about Internet security and offer tools and resources to help them secure their digital identities.

  • Be Transparent About Cyberattacks: Business leaders can acknowledge cyberattacks and share details about these incidents with consumers and other key stakeholders.

  • Embed Security into a Business Architecture: Business leaders can make security a part of all aspects of a company, including its business model and leadership structure.

  • Make All Lines of Business Accountable: Business leaders can offer incentives to business-line managers who prioritize cyber security in their day-to-day activities.

Business leaders frequently deploy security strategies that address past cyber threats, CyberSecOp indicated. Yet business leaders who frequently evaluate the cybersecurity landscape are better equipped than ever before to protect their companies against cyberattacks both now and in the future.

WHAT DO SECURITY CONSULTANTS DO?

WHAT DO SECURITY CONSULTANTS DO?

Security consults deal with various threats to physical and computer security. Security threats come in many forms such as computer hackers, terrorists, and attacks on physical assets. There are specializations for security consultants of building security, natural and man-made disaster prevention, or with computer security issues.

Some of the roles security consultants may do for companies or private individuals are installing physical protections of video surveillance and alarm systems. Physical security risks are issues for many companies and security consultants may determine physical security risks such as threats of violence in the workplace, the stability of a building during tornadoes, earthquakes, fires, or other natural disasters, and development of evacuation plans for personnel during emergencies. Security consultants also may advise on building maintenance issues.

What services does a security consultants provide?

Security consultants can also help to incorporate security changes at all levels of the company. Based upon the security audit that’s conducted, a security consultant, if allowed to, can implement various new security measures and procedures throughout the company, which can include security related to:

  • Analyzing areas that are currently exposed and if they have had their security compromised in the past;

  • Performing a gap analysis in order to determine if any areas of a company’s current security does not meet accepted industry standards;

  • Gauging the work environment through performing interviews with important personnel and company employees;

  • Providing a list of recommendations based upon found security vulnerabilities, which includes security measures that should be incorporated.

  • Policies and procedures;

  • Electronic surveillance and alarm systems;

  • Security personnel.

A security consultant will work closely with management for the purposes of transparent communication and to make sure that any security changes that are implemented are done so within the allotted budget. The degree to which a security consultant can incorporate security changes depends largely upon this, in addition to the management’s instructions.

CyberSecOp Security Services has been providing expert security consulting services for decades. Make sure to contact us today to ask about our advanced security consulting services, which will be personalized to your company’s particular needs.

Microsoft's Emergency Internet Explorer Patch - Kills Lenovo Laptops

Only a few days ago, Microsoft released an emergency Internet Explorer patch bundled in a cumulative update. The patch was rolled out to fix the zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer first discovered by a

However, it seems like the patch is creating more problems than fixing them. Out of many known issues, as mentioned by Microsoft in the changelog, one can be regarded as a more severe issue since it is leaving many Lenovo laptops unbootable after installing the patch.

Microsoft mentions that the issue is only affecting Windows 10 users who have a Lenovo laptop that has less than 8 GB RAM. On the other hand, few sources tell that the issue has only affected PC’s that are still on the 1607 version, or Windows 10 Anviersary Update (2016). 

Considering only enterprise PCs have the ability to delay updates, they are most likely have been affected by the unbootable issue.

If you have installed the latest “KB4467691” cumulative update on your PC, and are facing the same issue, here are some steps that Microsoft wants you to follow —

Restart the affected machine using UEFI. After this, disable Secure Boot and then perform restart.

If BitLocker is enabled on your computer, you may have to go through BitLocker recovery after Secure Boot has been disabled.

Ransomware Cyberattack - 92% of MSSPs Expect Ongoing Attacks

Ransomware is the leading cyberattack experienced by small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), according to a survey of more than 2,400 managed service providers (MSSPs) conducted by data protection company Datto.

Datto’s State of the Channel Ransomware Report provides unique visibility into the ransomware epidemic from the perspective of the IT Channel and the SMB clients who are dealing with these infections on a daily basis. The report provides a wealth of detail on ransomware, including year-over-year trends, frequency, targets, impact, and recommendations for ensuring recovery and continuity in the face of the growing threat.

ransomware_infographic.jpg

Key findings from Datto’s “State of the Channel Ransomware Report” included:

  • 79 percent of MSSPs reported ransomware attacks against customers.

  • 85 percent indicated that victims had antivirus software installed, 65 percent reported victims had email/spam filters installed and 29 percent reported victims used pop-up blockers.

  • 89 percent are “highly concerned” about ransomware attacks.

  • 92 percent predict the number of ransomware attacks will continue at current, or worse, rates.

  • MSPs ranked phishing emails as the top ransomware delivery method, followed by malicious websites, web ads and clickbait.

  • The average requested ransom for SMBs is roughly $4,300, while the average cost of downtime related to such an attack is approximately $46,800.

  • The number of MSPs reporting OS/iOS attacks increased by nearly 500 percent year over year in the first six months of 2018.

No single solution is guaranteed to prevent such attacks, Datto indicated. Conversely, SMBs require a multilayered approach to identify and stop ransomware attacks before they cause brand reputation damage, revenue loss and other problems.

How Can SMBs Address Ransomware Attacks?

CyberSecop offered the following recommendations to help SMBs safeguard their data and assets against such attacks:

  • Leverage business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) technologyBCDR technology won’t stop ransomware attacks; instead, it helps an SMB determine how to limit downtime and maintain operations despite a ransomware attack.

  • Provide cybersecurity training. By offering regular and mandatory cybersecurity training, an SMB can ensure all of its employees can identify and avoid potential phishing scams that otherwise lead to such an attack.

  • Employ a dedicated cybersecurity professional. It may be difficult for an SMB to hire a full-time cybersecurity professional. Fortunately, working with an MSSP allows an SMB to receive cybersecurity monitoring and other security services.

Data Breaches Ransomware and Cyber Attacks

Data Breaches Ransomware and Cyber Attacks

It’s unrealistic to think that you can completely avoid cyberattacks and data breaches, so it’s vital to have a proper data recovery plan in place. You can also tighten your defenses significantly by ensuring all of your network devices are properly configured, and by putting some thought into all of your potential network borders.

Data Recovery Capability

Do you have a proper backup plan in place? Have you ever tested it to see that it works? Disaster recovery is absolutely vital, but an alarming number of companies do not have an adequate system in place. A survey of 400 IT executives by IDG Research revealed that 40% rate their organizations’ ability to recover their operations in the event of disaster or disruption as “fair or poor.” Three out of four companies fail from a disaster recovery standpoint, according to the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark.

A successful malware attack can lead to altered data on all compromised machines and the full effects are often very difficult to determine. The option to roll back to a backup that predates the infection is vital. Backed up data must be encrypted and physically protected. It’s also important that a test team routinely checks a random sampling of system backups by restoring them and verifying data integrity.

Secure Configurations for Network Devices such as Firewalls, Routers, and Switches

The default configurations for network devices like firewalls, routers, and switches are all about ease of use and deployment. They aren’t designed with security in mind and they can be exploited by determined attackers. There’s also a risk that companies will create exceptions for business reasons and then fail to properly analyze the potential impact.

The 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey found that failure to keep technical configuration up to date was a factor in 19% of incidents. Attackers are skilled at seeking out vulnerable default settings and exploiting them. Organizations should have standardized secure configuration guidelines applied across devices. Security updates must be applied in a timely fashion.

You need to employ two-factor authentication and encrypted sessions when managing network devices, and engineers should use an isolated, dedicated machine without Internet access. It’s also important to use automated tools to monitor the network and track device configurations. Changes should be flagged and rule sets analyzed to ensure consistency.

Boundary Defense

When the French built the Maginot Line in World War II, a series of impregnable fortifications that extended along the border with Germany and beyond, it failed to protect them because the Germans invaded around the North end through neutral Belgium. There’s an important lesson there for security professionals: Attackers will often find weaknesses in perimeter systems and then pivot to get deeper into your territory.

They may gain access through a trusted partner, or possibly an extranet, while your defensive eye is focused on the Internet. Effective defenses are multi-layered systems of firewalls, proxies, and DMZ perimeter networks. You need to filter inbound and outbound traffic and take caution not to blur the boundaries between internal and external networks. Consider network-based IDS sensors and IPS devices to detect attacks and block bad traffic.

Segment your network and protect each sector with a proxy and firewall to limit access as far as possible. If you don’t have internal network protection, then intruders can get their hands on the keys to the kingdom by successfully breaching the outer defenses.

The real cost

A lot of businesses argue that they can’t afford a comprehensive disaster recovery plan, but they should really consider whether they can afford to lose all their data or be uncertain about its integrity. They may lack the expertise to ensure that network devices are securely configured, but attackers don’t lack the skills to exploit that. It’s understandably common to focus on the outer boundary of your network and forget about threats that come from unexpected directions or multiply internally, but it could prove costly indeed.

Compared to the cost of a data breach, all of these things are cheap and easy to set up