Category: Cybersecurity

What Is Network Observability, And Why Is It Demanded In The Cloud And IoT Era?

What is network observability why is it demanded in the cloud IoT era

 

What Is Network Observability, And Why Is It Demanded In The Cloud And IoT Era?

 

What Is Network ObservabilityImplementing dynamic network infrastructure design has become more critical than ever to securely connect with people, devices, applications, and data to support our evolving working environment. What can be the first thing we need to consider for this challenge? We cannot control or secure all kinds of connectivity if we don’t see what is happening in our network. By default, networks are distributed systems, and network visibility is vital in distributed systems. However, can network monitoring be good enough to better network visibility in the Cloud and IoT era? If not, what can be the solution?

Today’s enterprise digital infrastructure is comprised of hybrid cloud and on-premise solutions. Complex operational models manage these technologies, but their operational visibility continues to be a concern for most businesses. Read how large enterprises are securing their data?

The best way to gain network visibility is by leveraging network observability rather than network monitoring. This article explains what network observability is, why it’s necessary, and how it can help you manage your hybrid cloud and IoT infrastructure.

What Is Network Monitoring?

Monitoring is a passive data collection and surveillance practice used to measure the performance against pre-set standards. Monitoring equipment has been deployed over the years depending on more static, traditional network environments without frequent changes. However, these tools can be deployed throughout the corporate network.

It offers a centralized view of the operational health of the underlying network and infrastructure. Network monitoring might give alerts based on connectivity, downtime, or service degradation but does not give deeper cause or hypothetical exploration of unknowns provided by an observability platform.

 

What Is Network Observability?

According to Gartner, Observability is the evolution of monitoring into a process that offers insight into digital business applications, speeds innovation, and enhances customer experience. So we should use observability to extend current monitoring capabilities. Network observability is intended to have a deep knowledge of network health to provide an optimal end-user experience. When teams observe networks deeply, they understand ways to solve problems, correct them, and improve network performance to prevent future errors. Here are the main differences:

Network Observability Network Monitoring
  • It focuses on network health from the end-user perspective
  • reduce administrator time to detect root cause and remediation
  • Applies a broader range of information to pinpoint the leading cause
  • provide service assurance to guarantee quality services
  • uses next-generation AI and streaming telemetry
  • less focused on network health
  • NetOps staff handle alerts manually
  • Monitors deviations and baselines traffic
  • Uses proven protocols and tools

The Current Challenges With Network Monitoring

What Is Network Observability And Why Is It Demanded

The rapid shift towards cloud technology and related trends, such as SD-WAN, has changed the concept of network monitoring. Still, the traditional network performance monitoring tools are not keeping up with advanced networking technologies. Here are some issues regarding conventional network performance monitoring tools.

  • Traditional Network Performance Monitoring (NPM) tools do not include metadata or routing policy, network security, or cloud orchestration information.
  • Basic network connectivity info such as IP/MAC and port numbers are insufficient to analyze network traffic securely.
  • The tools can’t handle cloud scalability, as cloud customers produce terabytes of VPC flow logs every month. So Typical network packet sniffer solutions do not work in the cloud environment.

 

Conclusion

As mentioned above, challenges associated with network observability can be solved by implementing a combination of network monitoring and network analytics solutions. These solutions can help you get a high-level view of network activities across your hybrid cloud and on-premise environment. – Network monitoring: Network monitoring solutions are responsible for gathering network data from all network devices. They can help you identify issues that may affect business continuity and performance. – Network analytics: Network analytics solutions can be used to gain insights into network activities, such as network anomalies, performance, and capacity issues. Additionally, the data from the network monitoring solutions can be used to build network analytics dashboards.

 

Protected Harbor Zero Trust NAC can solve the challenge.

Network observability is necessary to ensure that the networks remain secure, reliable, and scalable. It is crucial for organizations that rely on hybrid cloud and IoT architecture. A hybrid cloud architecture, cloud migration, and end-to-end digital transformation are the primary reasons for network observation being demanded. A Zero Trust network architecture is the best way to achieve network observability.

Protected Harbor’s Hybrid Cloud Network Orchestration and Security platform is powered by a Zero Trust Network Access Control (NAC) engine. This network access control engine is designed to enforce a Zero Trust architecture and help achieve network observability by:

Device identity: Identify devices and enforce access rules based on device identity and user identity.

User identity: Identify users and enforce access rules based on user identity.

Endpoint compliance: Detect and enforce endpoint compliance using agentless endpoint compliance and vulnerability assessment.

Endpoint threat detection: Detect and quarantine endpoints with malicious activities in real-time.

Session visibility: Monitor and analyze all network traffic to detect suspicious activities during a session.

Session compliance: Detect and enforce session compliance based on policies.

Session threat detection: Detect and quarantine sessions with malicious activities.

Session compliance enforcement: Ensure all network traffic conforms to the policy.

Session visibility: Monitor and analyze all network traffic for all sessions.

Port visibility: Monitor and analyze all traffic on ports.

Protected Harbor Zero Trust Network Access Control (NAC) can log and monitor traffic coming from all branches and remote users using Cloud Gateway. The total network traffic can be observed. However, you can only watch and control unauthorized or non-compliant devices.

Most importantly, Protected Harbor Device Platform Intelligence powered by Cloud technology can enhance network visibility more contextually by correlating network connectivity info with business context (e.g., Connected devices’ EoL, EoS, manufacturer) and risk-related information like CVE. Overall, you can monitor and control all connected devices’ activities holistically without losing business performance, so you can substantially boost the success of an organization’s operations.

If you want to know more about how network observability can help your business, or if you want to see how you can simplify your network infrastructure, we’d love to talk.

Eye Care Leaders Data Breach Caused by Cloud EHR Vendor. Don’t be the Next.

eye care leaders data breach caused by cloud ehr endor dont be the next

 

Eye Care Leaders Data Breach Caused by Cloud EHR Vendor. Don’t be the Next.

Data Breach Caused by Cloud EHR VendorThe databases and system configuration files for Eye Care Leaders, a manufacturer of cloud-based electronic health record and practice management systems for eye care practitioners, were recently hacked.

What Happened

The breach reportedly compromised the organizations’ cloud-based myCare solution, with hackers obtaining access to the electronic medical record, patient information, and public health information (PHI) databases on or around December 4, 2021, according to breach notification letters provided by some of the affected practices. The hacker then erased the databases and system configuration files.

When the breach was discovered, the company promptly locked its networks and initiated an investigation to avoid additional unauthorized access. That investigation is still underway, and it’s unclear how much patient data was exposed. However, it’s possible that sensitive data was seen and exfiltrated before the database was deleted. Patients’ names, dates of birth, medical record numbers, health insurance information, Social Security numbers, and personal health information regarding care received at eye care offices were all stored in the databases.

More than 9,000 ophthalmologists use the Durham, NC-based company’s products. It’s unclear how many providers have been affected at this time. Summit Eye Associates, situated in Hermitage, Tennessee, has revealed that it was hacked and that the protected health information of 53,818 patients was potentially stolen. Evergreen Health, a Kings County Public Hospital District No. 2 division, has also acknowledged that patient data has been compromised. According to reports, the breach affected 20,533 people who got eye care at Evergreen Health. The breach has been confirmed by Allied Eye Physicians & Surgeons in Ohio, which has revealed that the data of 20,651 people was exposed.

The records of 194,035 people were exposed due to the breach at Regional Eye Associates, Inc. and Surgical Eye Center of Morgantown in West Virginia. Central Vermont Eye Care (30,000 people) recently reported a data breach affecting EHRs. However, HIPAA Journal has not been able to establish whether the cyberattack caused the data loss at Central Vermont Eye Care on Eye Care Leaders.

 

Confidential Information Exposed

In this distressing incident, Eyecare Leaders, a prominent eye care technology company, experienced a severe data breach, compromising the sensitive patient information of numerous Retina Consultants of Carolina patients. The breach has raised significant concerns about the security and privacy of patients’ medical records and personal data.

Eyecare Leaders, known for providing comprehensive technology solutions to eyecare practices, play a crucial role in managing and safeguarding sensitive information within the healthcare industry. However, this breach has exposed vulnerabilities within their systems, potentially leading to unauthorized access and misuse of patient data.

The breach, possibly a ransomware attack, highlights the pressing need for robust cybersecurity measures in the healthcare sector, urging organizations like Eyecare Leaders to strengthen their data protection protocols and mitigate the risk of future breaches. Meanwhile, Retina Consultants of Carolina patients are advised to monitor their accounts, remain vigilant against potential identity theft, and seek guidance from healthcare providers to ensure the security of their confidential information.

 

Update

Over the last two weeks, the number of eye care providers affected by the hack has increased. The following is a list of eye care practitioners who have been identified as being affected:

Affected Eye Care Provider Breached Records
Regional Eye Associates, Inc. & Surgical Eye Center of Morgantown in West Virginia 194,035
Shoreline Eye Group in Connecticut 57,047
Summit Eye Associates in Tennessee 53,818
Finkelstein Eye Associates in Illinois 48,587
Moyes Eye Center, PC in Missouri 38,000
Frank Eye Center in Kansas 26,333
Allied Eye Physicians & Surgeons in Ohio 20,651
EvergreenHealth in Washington 20,533
Sylvester Eye Care in Oklahoma 19,377
Arkfeld, Parson, and Goldstein, dba Ilumin in Nebraska 14,984
Associated Ophthalmologists of Kansas City, P.C. in Missouri 13,461
Northern Eye Care Associates in Michigan 8,000
Ad Astra Eye in Arkansas 3,684
Fishman Vision in California 2,646
Burman & Zuckerbrod Ophthalmology Associates, P.C. in Michigan 1,337
Total 522,493

Data Breach Caused by Cloud EHR Vendor smallProtected Harbor’s Take On The Matter

There are more than 1,300 eye care practices in the United States alone. And with more than 24 million Americans affected by some form of visual impairment, the demand for eye care services continues to grow.  In response to these growing needs, we have seen an increase in cloud-based electronic health record management software solutions to streamline operations while increasing efficiency and security.

Unfortunately, this also means that cybercriminals see the eye care industry as a prime target for hackers because their information is so sensitive and accessible. That’s why you must know which cloud EHR vendors were hacked recently.

Protected Harbor’s 5 ways to prevent unauthorized access to your company data:

  1. Strong Password Policy– Having your users add symbols, numbers, and a combination of characters to their passwords makes them more difficult to crack. Having a minimal amount of characters and changing it periodically (every 60 or 90 days) ensures that outdated passwords aren’t reused for years, making it much easier to get unwanted access to the account.
  2. MFA– Multi-factor authentication is a great approach to ensure you only access the account. You will need another device (usually your mobile device) nearby in addition to your usual login and password since you will be required to enter a code that will be produced instantly.
  3. Proactive Monitoring- Preventing unauthorized access is the initial step, but monitoring login attempts and user behaviors can also provide insight into how to prevent it best. For example, if you have logs of failed login attempts for a single user. You can launch an inquiry to see whether the user merely forgot their password or if someone is attempting to breach the account.
  4. IP Whitelisting- IP Whitelisting compares the user’s IP address to a list of “allowed” IP addresses to determine whether or not this device is authorized to access the account. If your firm only uses one or a limited number of IP addresses to access the internet, as is usually the case, you can add a list of IP addresses that are granted access. All other IPs will be sent to a page that isn’t allowed.
  5. SSO (Single Sign-On)- If your firm has a centralized user directory, using it to acquire access makes things more accessible and more manageable for you. You’ll have to remember one password, and if something goes wrong, your network administrator can deactivate all of your applications at once.

Richard Luna, CEO of Protected Harbor, stated: Unfortunately, this is how things will be in the future. The development tools used to create websites and mobile applications were created in the 1990s. Data transferability, or the ability to move data from one device to another, was a critical concern back then. The emphasis back then was on data proliferation. FTP comes to mind as a secure method with no encryption. Authentication was designed for discerning between good actors, not to harden data and protect against data theft because all data exchanges were between good actors back then. Now that we live in a different environment, we may expect more data breaches unless security is built into data transfer protocols rather than bolted on as an afterthought.

We’ve been helping businesses respond to these attacks for some time, including ransomware attacks and cross-pollinating destructive IP attacks across numerous access points and multiple AI use. If a company has 50 public IPs and we’re proactive monitoring the services behind them, and a bad actor assaults one of them, ban them from all entry points in all systems, even if it involves writing a synchronized cron job across firewalls or other protection devices. Add in artificial intelligence (AI) and comprehensive application monitoring, and a corporation has the tools to detect and respond to such threats quickly.

Final Thoughts

Data security isn’t a one-time or linear process. You must invest in software vendors, ongoing resources, time, and effort to ensure data security against unwanted access.

Cybercriminals are becoming more sophisticated every day, and they are employing cutting-edge technologies to target businesses and get illicit data access.

As the number of data breaches rises, you must become more attentive. It’s critical that your company implements concrete security measures and that each employee prioritizes cybersecurity.

If you’d want us to conduct an IT security audit on your current security policies, we’ll work with you to ensure that you’re well-protected against unauthorized data access and other cyber risks. Contact us today!

A Privilege Escalation assault is what? How can you stop them?

what is a privilege escalation attack how to prevent them

 

What is a Privilege Escalation attack? How to prevent them?

What is a Privilege Escalation attackPrivilege escalation is a vulnerability used to access applications, networks, and mission-critical systems. And privilege escalation attacks exploit security vulnerabilities and progressively increase criminal access to computer systems. These attacks are classified into vertical and horizontal privilege escalation based on the attack’s objective and strategy. There are several types of privilege escalation attacks, and each of them exploits a unique set of vulnerabilities having its own set of technical requirements.

Where there are privileges, there are ways to subvert them. Privilege escalation attacks are methods of gaining access to restricted privileges in system services or programs. This article covers the various types of privilege escalation attacks, the types and impact of these attacks, and how to prevent them and prevent yourself from being exploited.

What is a Privilege Escalation attack?

Privilege escalation is a common method attackers use to gain unauthorized access to systems and networks within a security perimeter. Many organizations face an attack vector due to a loss of focus on permissions. As a result, existing security controls within organizations are often insufficient to prevent attacks. Attackers initiate privilege escalation attacks by detecting the weak points in an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Privilege escalation attacks occur when a malicious actor gains access to a user account, bypasses the authorization channel, and successfully accesses sensitive data. The attacker can use obtained privileges to execute administrative commands, steal confidential data, and cause severe damage to server applications, operation systems, and the company’s reputation. While deploying these attacks, attackers are generally attempting to disrupt business functions by exfiltrating data and creating backdoors.

How Do Privilege Escalation attacks Work?

Privilege escalation attacks represent the layer of a cyberattack chain where criminals take advantage of a vulnerable system to access data from an unauthorized source. However, there are various weak points within a system, but some common entry points include Application Programming Interfaces and Web Application Servers. Attackers authenticate themselves to the system by obtaining credentials or bypassing user accounts to initiate the attack. Apart from it, attackers find different loopholes in account authorization access to sensitive data.

Regrading how a privilege escalation attack works, attackers usually use one of these five methods: credential, system vulnerabilities, and exploits, social engineering, malware, or system misconfigurations. By implementing one of these techniques, malicious actors can gain an entry point into a system. Depending on their goals, they can continue to uplift their privileges by taking control of a root or administrative account.

Common Privilege Escalation Attacks Examples

Here are some common examples of real-world privilege escalation attacks.

  • Windows Sticky Keys_ It’s one of the most common examples of privilege escalation attacks for Windows operating systems. This attack requires physical access to the targeted system and the ability to boot from a repair disk.
  • Windows system internals_ commands provide a source of privilege escalation attacks in Windows. This method assumes that the attacker has a backdoor from a previous attack, such as Windows sticky keys method. The attacker must have access to local administrative rights and then logs into backdoor accounts to escalate permissions to the system level.
  • Android and Metasploit_ Metasploit is a well-known tool, including a library of known exploits. This library contains the privilege escalation attack against rooted android devices. It creates an executable file called superuser binary, allowing attackers to run commands with administrative or root access.

Privilege Escalation attack techniques

What is a Privilege Escalation attack? How to prevent themThe goal of the privilege escalation attack is to get high-level privileges and find entry points to critical systems. There are various techniques attackers use for privilege escalation. Here are three of the most common ones.

  • Bypass user account control_ The user account control is a bridge between users and administrators. It restricts application software to standard permissions until an admin authorizes privilege increase.
  • Manipulating access tokens_ In this case, the attacker’s main task is to trap the system into believing that the running processes belong to another user other than the authorized user that started the process.
  • Using valid accounts_ Criminals can leverage credential access techniques to get credentials of certain user accounts or streal them using social engineering. Once attackers access the organization’s network, they can use these credentials to bypass access control on IT systems and various resources.

What Are The Types Of Privilege Escalation Attacks?

There are two types of privilege escalation attacks. These include

1. Horizontal privilege escalation

It’s a type of attack in which attackers expand their privileges by taking control of another account and misusing the authorized rights granted to the legitimate user. Phishing campaigns are used to gain access to user accounts. For elevating the permissions, attackers either exploit vulnerabilities in the OS to gain root-level access or leverage hacking tools, such as Metasploit.

2. Vertical privilege escalation

This type of attack occurs when a criminal gains direct access to an account with the intent to perform similar actions as the legit user. A vertical privilege attack is easier to achieve as there is no desire to elevate permissions. In this scenario, the attack focuses on account identification with necessary privileges and gaining access to that account.

Impact of Privilege Escalation Attack

Privilege escalation attacks can impact in the following ways.

  • It can enter the organization’s IT infrastructure
  • Modify permissions to steal sensitive information
  • Add, delete, or modify users
  • Create a backdoor for future attacks
  • Gain access to systems and files and disrupt the operations
  • Crash the website

How to prevent Privilege Escalation attacks?

Here are some best practices to prevent privilege escalation attacks.

  1. Protect and scan your systems, network, and application. You can use effective vulnerability scanning tools to detect insecure and unpatched operating systems, applications, weak passwords, misconfigurations, etc.
  2. It’s essential to manage privileged accounts and ensure their security. The security team needs an inventory of all accounts where they exist and their purpose.
  3. Establish and enforce robust policies to ensure that users and strong and unique passwords. Use multi-factor authentication to add an extra security layer while overcoming vulnerabilities arising due to weak passwords.
  4. Users are the weakest link in the security chain, putting the entire organization at risk. Businesses should implement robust security awareness programs with effective training.
  5. Secure databases and sanitize user inputs. Databases are attractive targets of criminals as web applications store all their data in databases, such as login credentials, configuration settings, and user data. With one successful attack, such as SQL injection, criminals can access all sensitive information and leverage it for further attacks.

Conclusion

Privilege escalation attacks are a significant problem. They can easily create havoc, with the attack escalating from one user to the entire system. The most important thing you can do is be aware of the different privilege escalation types and be sure not to give access to anything on your computer or network that you don’t need. For better protection from attacks, seek help from a cybersecurity partner such as Protected Harbor.

The Protected Harbor approach is designed to mitigate the risk of privilege escalation attacks by monitoring and controlling system privileges. Protected Harbor is a leading provider of IT security consulting with over 20 years of experience helping clients protect their critical data from cyberattacks. We specialize in Privilege Escalation Assessment, Vulnerability Assessment, and Penetration Testing services for modern enterprises. By identifying potential risks in your organization before hackers target them, we provide proactive protection against cyber-attacks. Our experts will work with you to identify your needs and develop a customized assessment plan that meets your unique requirements. We’ll also work side-by-side during the assessment to answer any questions you may have and provide guidance on how to make changes or updates in response to our findings.

Protected Harbor is giving a free IT Audit for a limited time. Contact us today to get one.

Test Your Vulnerabilities: The Complete Guide to Identifying and Mitigating Risk

test your vulnerabilities the complete guide to identifying and mitigating risk

 

Test Your Vulnerabilities: The Complete Guide to Identifying and Mitigating Risk

 

Test Your VulnerabilitiyVulnerability Assessment helps you identify, assess, and analyze security flaws in applications and IT infrastructure. We provide vulnerability assessment services through reliable tools to scan vulnerabilities and give in-depth and accurate final reports.

With the rapid pace of technological development in today’s digital world, companies have become exposed to new risks that are often difficult to identify and manage. However, failure to monitor these risks could result in significant damage. There are several ways that businesses can be affected by cyber threats. You must assess your own risk and other people’s risks, and potential external threats to your business. Failure to do so will leave you open to vulnerabilities; here is what you need to know about testing your vulnerabilities, mitigating risk, and how we help in vulnerability assessment.

Components Of The IT Environment We Access

We provide high-quality vulnerability assessment services at reasonable costs. Our information security team finds vulnerabilities and detects weak points in the following elements of the IT environment.

IT Infrastructure

  • Network_ We evaluate the efficiency of the network access restriction, network segmentation, firewall implementation, and the ability to connect to remote networks.
  • Email services_ We assess the susceptibility to spamming and phishing attacks.

Applications

  • Mobile applications_ We assess the mobile application security level using the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP Top) 10 mobile security risks.
  • Web applications_ We evaluate the vulnerability of web applications to several attacks using OWASP Top 10 application risks.
  • Desktop applications_ We check how data is stored in an application, how the application transfers data, and whether the authentication is provided.

Assessment Methods We Apply

Our security testing team merges the manual and automated ways to take full advantage of the vulnerability assessment process.

Manual Assessment

We tune the scanning tools manually and perform subsequent manual validation of the scanning results to remove false positives. Upon completing the manual assessment conducted by our security testing team specialists, you get reliable results with actual events.

Automated Scanning

We use automated scanning tools based on customer needs and financial capabilities to start the vulnerability assessment process. These scanning tools have databases containing the known technical vulnerabilities and enable you to determine your organization’s susceptibility to them. The key benefit of the automated approach is that it ensures comprehensive coverage of security flaws in multiple devices and hosts on the network. Moreover, it is not time-consuming.

Cooperation Models We Offer

Regardless of the cooperation model you choose, we provide you with a high-quality vulnerability assessment.

1. One-time services

One-time services let you get an impartial security level assessment and avoid vendor lock-in. Selecting this model may help you make an opinion on the vendor and decide if you want to cooperate with them afterward. We are ready to offer on-time services to evaluate the security level of your applications, network, or other elements of the IT environment. When getting familiar with the assessment target, our team thoroughly reads the details, such as understanding basic device configurations, gathering information on the installed software on the devices in the network, and collecting available data on known vulnerabilities of the vendor, device version, etc. Evaluation activities are carried out afterward.

2. Managed services

Selecting managed services means establishing a long-term relationship with a vendor. After gathering the information on your IT infrastructure during the first project, the vendor can eventually carry out an assessment reducing the cost for you and spending less time on the project. If you want to stay aware of your company’s security level, we suggest you put a vulnerability assessment regularly and provide appropriate services. We have sufficient resources to perform vulnerability assessment on a quarter, half-year, or annual basis, depending on your regulatory requirements and frequency to apply changes in your applications, network, etc.

Upon completion, we offer a final vulnerability assessment report, regardless of the selected cooperation model. The report splits into two parts_ an executive summary and a technical report. The executive summary contains the information on the overall security state of your company and the revealed weaknesses, and the technical report includes comprehensive details on assessment activities performed by security engineers. Apart from it, we provide valuable recommendations regarding corrective measures to mitigate the revealed vulnerabilities.

Vulnerability classification techniques we apply

Test Your Vulnerabilitiy medium

We have divided the detected security flaws into groups based on their types and security level while conducting the vulnerability assessment, following the classification below

  • Open Web Application Security Project testing guide
  • Web Application Security Consortium Threat Classification
  • OWASP Top 10 Application Security Risks
  • OWASP Top 10 Mobile Risks
  • Common Vulnerability Scoring System

This vulnerability classification lets our security engineers prioritize the results based on the impact they may have during the exploitation. It will take your attention to the most critical vulnerabilities to avoid security and financial risks.

Challenges We Solve

The vulnerability assessment scope is defined without foreseeing the customer’s needs.

Information security vendors may follow a familiar pattern while performing vulnerability assessments for their customers having specific requirements. Our security engineers mainly focus on getting all information regarding the customer’s request and the vulnerability assessment target at the negotiation stage. Our security specialists confirm whether a customer needs to comply with HIPAA, GLBA, PCI DSS, GDPR, and other standards and regulations, whether the firewall protection is applied in the network, and what elements are included. This information lets us estimate an approximate scope of work, efforts, and resources required to complete the project.

Advanced and more sophisticated vulnerabilities occur every day.

Cybercriminals always try to find new attack vectors to get inside the corporate network and steal sensitive data. Our security testing team stays updated with the latest changes in the information security environment by regularly monitoring the new flaws and checking updates of scanning tools databases.

Changing the elements of the IT environment can cause new security weaknesses.

There is always a chance that new flaws can occur after modification in customers’ applications and networks. Our security engineers provide vulnerability assessments after each release or significant update. It will ensure that changes implemented do not open new doors for cybercriminals to attack your IT infrastructure.

Advanced hyper-connected solutions are highly prone to evolving cyber threats.

A wide range of advanced integrated solutions exists in affiliation with each other. Thus, a vulnerability in one system can compromise the security of other systems connected to it. For example, a modern solution merging a wide variety of elements in the e-commerce environment generally includes a website, an e-commerce platform, a payment gateway, marketing tools, CRM, and a marketplace. Our security testing team looks at the vulnerability assessment process from different perspectives that helps them to evaluate the security of all possible vectors that hackers may choose to get into the complex solutions.

Conclusion

A Vulnerability Test is a great way to understand your level of risk and identify any potential gaps or issues in your security. It is essential to conduct regular tests to ensure that any weaknesses are identified and addressed as soon as possible. Once you have completed your tests, including Network Penetration Testing, it is necessary to change your passwords and passcodes and update any software or systems that need to be updated. Finally, installing and using security software is important to monitor and identify threats in your systems and networks.

Increase the security level of your organization by leveraging Protected Harbor Vulnerability Assessment services. Our security testing team will help you identify the flaws in the security of your application, network, etc. Equipped with expertise, our specialists will help you detect the loopholes in your company’s IT infrastructure and find ways to mitigate the risks associated with security vulnerabilities. We rely on a quality management system to ensure that cooperation with us doesn’t risk your data’s security.

If you want to know more about our services while opting for vulnerability assessment services, feel free to contact us. Our security experts are here to answer any query to help you make a final decision.

The Importance of Encryption in Data Security

the importance of encrypion in data security

 

The Importance of Encryption in Data Security

Importance of Encryption in Data SecurityData security has become a point for convergence with the widespread use of the Internet and the adoption of network applications. The information and data transmitted over the Internet should ensure its integrity, confidentiality, and authenticity. One of the most effective ways to resolve this issue is to leverage advanced encryption techniques. Encryption is one of the most crucial methods to secure data online. It’s a process of converting plain text into ciphertext that is not understood or transformed by unauthorized users. Encryption is a cybersecurity measure protecting sensitive data using unique codes that encrypt data and make it unreadable to intruders. This article will discuss fast-speed symmetric encryption, secure asymmetric encryption, and hash functions. Then we’ll figure out the importance of encryption and how can end-to-end data encryption prohibit data breaches and security attacks.

What is Encryption?

To get secure in this digital world, the fundamental necessity is to hide sensitive data and information from unauthorized users or malicious actors. Encryption is the best way to protect data from being hacked. It’s a process of making data and files unreadable using an encryption key, so if somebody tries to gain access to sensitive data, they only see gibberish. Encryption provides security and privacy by hiding information from being shared or hacked by malicious actors. To preserve the integrity and confidentiality of data, encryption is an essential tool whose value can’t be overstated.

The encryption takes place through a proper process. The data that needs to be encrypted is known as plaintext. This plaintext is passed through some encryption algorithms. Apart from it, an encryption key is required to convert the plaintext into ciphertext. When the data is encrypted, the ciphertext is sent over the Internet instead of plaintext. Once it is reached the receiver, they use a decryption key to convert ciphertext into the original readable format.

The need for data security has given birth to various encryption techniques, such as symmetric, asymmetric, hash functions, message authentication codes, digital signatures, and more. But in this report, we highlight symmetric and asymmetric encryption techniques and hash functions to secure data.

Symmetric Encryption

In symmetric encryption, also known as private-key encryption, a secret key is held by one person only and exchanged between the sender and receiver of data. Both the sender and receiver should have a copy of a secret key to transfer data. The recipient should have the same key as the sender before the message is decrypted. The standard symmetric encryption algorithms include RC2, AES, DES, RC6, 3DE, and Blowfish. The positive aspect of symmetric encryption is that it is faster. However, symmetric encryption is not much robust technique for protecting data. It can be easily decrypted, hacked, and prone to attacks. But if planned and executed carefully, the risk of decoding can be reduced. Symmetric encryption is suitable for closed systems having fewer risks of a third-party intrusion.

Asymmetric Encryption

Asymmetric encryption, also known as public-key encryption, is a two-key system with a public and a private key. As the name suggested, the public key is available to anyone, but the private key remains with the recipient intended to decode data. The user sends an encrypted message using a private key not shared with the recipient. If a user or sending system first encrypts data with the intended recipient’s public key and then with the sender’s private key, the recipient can decrypt data first using the secret or private key and then the sender’s public key. Using the asymmetric encryption method, the sender and recipient can authenticate each other and protect the data’s secrecy. The asymmetric algorithm includes RSA, Diffie Hellman, XTR, ECC, and EES. The positive aspect of asymmetric encryption is that it is relatively safe and secure than symmetric encryption. However, it is slower than symmetric encryption.

Encryption in Data SecurityHash Functions

A hash function is a unique identifier for a set of data or information. It’s a process that takes plaintext data and converts it into unique ciphertext. Hash functions generate unique signatures of fixed length for a data set. There is a unique hash for each data set or a message that makes minor changes to the data or information that is easily traceable. Data encryption using hash functions can’t be decoded or reversed back into the original format. Therefore, hashing is used only as a technique for verifying data. Hash functions ensure data integrity, protect stored passwords, and operate at different speeds to suit other processes.

Importance of Encryption

There are a lot of reasons for using encryption techniques. The following points can define its importance. Encryption is essential for data security because it provides

  • Confidentiality_ This is critical because it ensures that no unauthorized user can understand the shared information except one having the decipher key.
  • Data Integrity_ It ensures that the received information or data has not been modified from its original format. While transferring data online, it may get changed by malicious actors. However, data integrity confirms that data is not intact by an unauthorized user. It can be achieved by using hash functions at both sender and the receiver end to create a unique message.
  • Authentication_ It’s ensuring the intended recipient’s identity. The user has to prove their identity to access the information.
  • Access Control_ It’s a process of restricting unauthorized users from accessing data. This process controls who can access resources and prevent data from malicious actors.

Conclusion

Today most of us communicate or send information and data in cyberspace, putting security at risk. Users transmit their private information and data that malicious actors can hack into over the Internet. As a result of the widespread adoption of advanced technologies and the Internet, there is a need to implement robust security measures, and data encryption is one of them. This article has learned a lot about data encryption and its various methods, including symmetric, asymmetric, and hash functions. Moreover, we have seen how encryption provides data security, integrity, and confidentiality value.

Protecting your network against cyber threats requires an integrated approach with solid security infrastructure. Encrypt your data on site-level and at the cloud level to keep your information safe from hackers. If a hacker breaks into your data center, you’d want to know right away. The best way to do this is to monitor your data 24/7/365. You can do this by hiring a data security specialist such as Protected Harbor.

Protected Harbor’s suite of services includes remote monitoring and support, software updates, anti-virus, anti-malware, data backup, encryption, and much more. We are providing a free IT Audit to the business looking to safeguard themselves. Contact us for an audit today.

Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)

Privacy impact assessment PIA

 

Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)

 

PrivacyImpact Assessment-featuredIntroduction
A Privacy Impact Assessment, or PIA, determines whether or not a user’s privacy or personal information is protected. Privacy for IT systems should be addressed in addition to financial loss. Some federal agencies have IT systems and databases that store sensitive citizen data. The Privacy Act requires these agencies to adopt adequate technical, administrative, and physical safeguards to defend against cyber intrusions. The E-Government Act requires the Privacy Impact Assessment for stored information of 2002. It’s a way of evaluating the privacy of information systems and databases that are easy to use. Let’s look at the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA).

What is Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)

Privacy is a fit, basic human right essential for protecting human dignity. It helps people make boundaries to restrict who can access data, information, places, things, and communications. Privacy is also referred to as the right to be left alone and not disclose or publicize one’s personal information.  In Constitutional law, privacy is referred to as the right of people to make decisions concerning intimate matters. However, under the Common Law, it is about people’s right to lead their lives in a way secluded reasonably from the public scrutiny that either comes from a scrutineer eavesdropping ears or a neighbor’s prying eyes. [1][2]

Privacy Risk Assessment provides an early warning to detect privacy issues, avoid costly mistakes in privacy compliance, and increase the information available to make informed decisions. Moreover, Federal agencies are responsible for performing privacy impact assessments for government systems and programs collecting personal data under the E-Government Act of 2002. Federal agency’s CIOs ensure that the PIAs are completed and reviewed for pertinent IT systems.

The US passed a legal reform in 1970, known as the Privacy Act of 1974. It helps to make new expectations of how the federal government collects and manages information. The Privacy Act strengthened over time, and other laws with privacy concerns were added. Several best practices are established for comprehensive federal privacy programs. Leadership is essential for the success of an organization’s privacy. The selection of senior officers with privacy expertise and direct support from the organization’s head is necessary.

Privacy-Impact-Assessment-featured 2The responsibilities of SAOP/CPO include evaluating advanced technologies, online activities, programs, contracts, legislation, and regulations for potential privacy impacts. The formation of Privacy risk management and compliance documentation is one of the best practices recommended for ensuring the privacy of information stored by federal organizations’ IT systems. The SAOP/CPO must make and implement tools and techniques for evaluating the privacy impacts of all systems and programs. Moreover, robust security and privacy programs are vital for protecting Personally Identifiable Information (PII) used, collected, retained, shared, or disclosed by the organization. Federal organizations must implement privacy and security risk mitigation in the initial phases of the project. [3]

E-Government Act Section 208 helps government agencies to put in place enough protection for the privacy of PII. It requires organizations to perform a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for IT systems to collect, maintain, or disseminate information. Moreover, the PIA procedure requires federal agencies to review the collected data, how they can use it, and develop new IT systems for handling PII collection. Implementing a PIA is necessary because it lets you ask individuals different questions and discuss best practices to implement security and privacy. A Privacy Impact Assessment is a recommended action by several authoritative sources. It satisfies legal requirements and helps agencies identify and manage risks and avoid unnecessary costs and loss of trust and reputation. [4][5]

Cities can develop a consistent method to identify, evaluate, and address privacy risks by implementing the Privacy Impact Assessment process. It helps to balance collecting data to provide services and protect citizens’ privacy, particularly while developing innovative smart city technologies. Conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment before leveraging technologies in a smart city will enhance accountability and transparency, mitigate potential harms regarding privacy, reduce legal risks, and improve compliance. Additionally, it lets people make more confident and consistent decisions about technology and data. [6]

Final Words

The elements discussed here provide a roadmap for the agencies to implement a robust privacy program. Privacy issues regarding the protection of personally identifiable information continue to be a factor for these agencies as advanced technologies and programs require usage, collection, storage, and destruction of PII keep on increasing. Therefore, the organizations must conduct PIA to identify and implement robust privacy measures effectively and quickly.

Privacy Impact Assessments are essential for protecting your data. By understanding the risks and impacts associated with data collection and use, you can mitigate potential harm to individuals and organizations. Protected Harbor is a company that specializes in privacy and cybersecurity. We can help you conduct a risk and impact assessment, and customize your infrastructure to fill any gaps. Contact us today for more information.

Network Penetration Testing 101

network penetration testing 101

 

Network Penetration Testing 101

Network-Penetration-TestingIn an ever-changing cybersecurity landscape, new threats develop regularly. Regular network penetration testing is the most effective technique to prevent thieves from accessing your mission-critical data and systems. Protected Harbor’s penetration testing services simulate a cyber attack on your current infrastructure, identifying vulnerabilities and revealing holes or entry points that hackers could exploit during a cyber attack.

Our network penetration testing services don’t only tell you where and how cybercriminals might get into your network; it also tells you how they might act or behave once they are in. Penetration testing is necessary to ensure that you are on the same page as malicious actors. Condition Zebra’s network penetration testing services put you inside the heads of cybercriminals, so you are one step ahead of them. Let’s first discuss network penetration testing.

What is network penetration testing?

Network penetration testing is a way to stimulate the processes cybercriminals use to attack your business network, network applications, and attached devices. This simulation is used to identify security issues before attackers can find and exploit them. Penetration tests go beyond stopping malicious actors from unlawful access to an organization’s data and network. It helps create real-world scenarios to show organizations how efficiently their current security defenses would face cyber-attacks. Read why cybersecurity awareness for employees is important.

Network penetration testing is generally used to:

  • understand the network baseline
  • prevent network and data breaches
  • test your security controls and postures
  • ensure system and network security

A network penetration test is generally performed when an organization has a mature security posture or effective security measures.

Three steps of a network penetration testing

Planning or Pre-attack phase

  • Define the intruder model (internal or external), enabled rights, and privileges.
  • Determine the scope of the targeted environment.
  • Define the goals, scope of work, source data, and testing targets.
  • Define interaction and communication procedures.
  • Develop the testing methodology.

Network-Penetration-TestingTesting or attack phase

  • Fieldwork and service identification.
  • Intrusion tools and custom scanning are developed if required.
  • Vulnerabilities scanning and detection, and elimination of false positives.
  • Utilization of compromised systems as a starting line for further intrusions.
  • Exploit vulnerabilities and gain unauthorized access.

Reporting or post-attack phase

  • Result analysis and reporting with the recommendations to reduce risks.
  • Visual demonstration of damage an intruder can inflict on the system.

Types of network penetration testing

Network penetration testing can be performed from two perspectives, inside and outside your company’s network perimeter/

Internal network penetration testing

An internal network penetration testing is performed to help simulate what a hacker could get with the initial access to a network. It can mirror inside threats, such as workers intentionally or unintentionally performing malicious actions. Internal pen testing is an authorized hacking attempt used to identify and exploit vulnerabilities within an organization’s perimeter defenses. Onsite access is given to testers via an ethernet cable. They then gain access to critical information.

Benefits of internal penetration testing

  • Minimize risks to business continuity and the cost of being non-compliant.
  • Harden the network against information leakage using current or terminated employees or online data.
  • Ensure compliance with PCI DSS and other security standards.
  • Provide management with exploit proof outlining the assets that an attack can compromise.
  • Detects installations that are non-compliant with an organization’s internal policies. It may act as a pivot for external attackers.
  • Do not add unnecessary security layers before getting an independent attestation on the effectiveness of current systems.
  • Audit security monitoring processes and test your incident response tactics.
  • Detects vulnerabilities that may be exploited to access privileged information.

External network penetration testing

An external penetration testing is performed to test the effectiveness of the perimeter security controls to detect and prevent attacks and identify the weaknesses in the Internet-facing assets, such as mail, web, and FTP servers. It’s an authorized hacking attempt that aims at hardening the external-facing network against hackers attempting to compromise the vulnerable hosts from outside the company’s perimeter.

Benefits of external penetration testing

  • Reduce the risk to business continuity and non-compliant costs.
  • Avoid the cost of adding extra security layers before getting an independent attestation of current systems.
  • Provide management with exploitation proof that outlines the assets compromised by an attack.
  • Detects vulnerabilities that can be exploited to access privileged information.
  • Detects installations that are non-compliant with your internal policy.
  • Audit external security monitoring procedures and test incident response tactics.
  • Get independent security verification of your company’s internet-facing presence.
  • Harden network and systems against host compromise.

Penetration testing methods

  1. Black box testing_ We work in life-like scenarios having limited knowledge of your network and no information on the network structure, security policies, and network protection.
  2. Gray box testing_ We analyze your system with some knowledge of your networks, such as architecture diagrams, user login details, or the network overview.
  3. White box testing_ We detect the potential points of weakness by leveraging admin rights and access to database encryption principles, server configuration files, architecture documentation, or architecture documentation.

Final words

Cybercriminals can target your internal and external network through various sites, ranging from systems and hosts to multiple networking devices. Protected Harbor’s audits identify your current network architecture’s noticeable strengths and weaknesses. Our penetration testing report explains how your security mechanisms respond to various cyberattacks.

We develop a comprehensive and tailored remediation strategy to mitigate cyber threats using these findings. Our skilled staff is ready to execute a network penetration test for your firm, whether you wish to optimize your security processes following a data breach or structural changes or fulfill tight information security compliance standards. Contact us today for a free IT Audit.

Many techniques to spot malicious activity in a network

Various ways to detect malicious activities in a network

 

Various ways to detect malicious activities in a network

malicious-activities-Businesses are not reacting promptly to malicious activities. Technology is constantly and rapidly evolving and expanding the attack surface in multiple ways. At the same time, cybercriminals are adapting advanced courses and escalating the threat landscape. They are adopting sophisticated ways to attack, and the struggle to deal with the changes is real. Malicious or unauthorized activities occurring inside your network are causing damage without even you knowing that. How can you detect those malicious network activities inside your network as quickly as possible and respond efficiently to avoid or reduce the potential damage?

There are a variety of network protection tools available for this purpose. Some are enhancements or evolutions of others, and some are mainly focused on certain types of malicious activities. However, all network intrusion detection systems are intended to detect malicious or suspicious activities on your network and enable you to act promptly against them. This article will discuss these tools to see malicious activities on your network. But before that, let’s discuss the malicious activities.

What is a malicious activity?

Malicious activity is an unauthorized breach of network traffic or processes on any connected device or system. Malicious threat actors perform these suspicious activities using various attack vectors and looking for financial gain. These actors differ widely in attack techniques, sophistication, and whether they are linked to a cybercriminal group or not. There are multiple types of malicious software, and cybercriminals use many of them.  Therefore, it is essential to find out how to detect malicious activities on various platforms for different uses. Evidence of what an antagonistic activity on a network can do is everywhere.

For all organizations connected to the Internet, using it to store a company’s data or communicate with the employees, it is necessary to understand what a malicious activity can do. As digital transformation is in full rage, cybercriminals know how to use this digital shift to mold and escalate the threat landscape they create.

Malicious activities can come in various forms, particularly from an organizational point of view. It includes

  • Network anomalies
  • Strange network behavior
  • Problem with the network traffic flow
  • System downtime
  • Vulnerabilities exploitation in the system
  • Data breach and compromised system
  • DDoS (Denial of service) attacks

There are several tools and best practices to avoid malicious activities. Let’s discuss some of them.

Network Security Tools

Here is a list of tools you can use to detect malicious activities in a network.

1. Intrusion Detection System (IDS)

An Intrusion Detection System analyzes activities on a network and vulnerabilities in a system to search for patterns and reasons for known threats. Here are two main types of IDS, Host Intrusion Detection System (HIDS) protects an individual host system, and Network Intrusion Detection System (NIDS) monitors an entire subnet at a network level. IDS raises flags for malicious or suspicious activities or any intrusion detected and sends notifications to the IT team. It does not take action to prevent or avoid that activity.

2. Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)

An Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is an evolution of IDS. The capabilities and functions of an IPS are similar to an IDS. However, there is a difference that an IPS can take action to prevent or avoid malicious or suspicious activities. IP can also be referred to as an Intrusion Detection Prevention System (IDPS).

3. Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM)

A Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) tool are designed to help companies manage the massive volume of data and signals and tie up threat information for a centralized view of IT infrastructure. SIEM comes in various sizes and shapes, but it is promising to monitor, analyze, and record network activities to detect potential security events or incidents in real-time and send alerts to IT teams. So they can take appropriate actions.

4. Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Data protection is the most important thing for most organizations. It is the primary target of most cyberattacks, whether sensitive data of employees or customers, bank or credit card information, corporate data, or confidential intellectual property. Data loss prevention, also referred to as Data Leak Prevention or Data Loss Protection protects data and ensures that personal or sensitive data is secured and not exposed or compromised. DLP often enforces data handling policies based on how information is classified. In most cases, it can automatically detect things like Social Security numbers or credit card numbers depending on the data format to alert the IT team and avoid unauthorized disclosure.

5. Network Behavior Anomaly Detection (NBAD)

A simple way to identify suspicious or malicious activities is to detect a move out of the ordinary. NBAD, also termed as network detective establishes a baseline of normal activities on a network and gives real-time monitoring of activities and traffic to see unusual events, trends, or activities. Anomaly detection can identify emerging threats, such as zero-day attacks, because it looks for unusual activity instead of relying on indicators of compromise of specific threats.

-the-lookout-for-malicious-activitiesBest practices to prevent malicious activities in a network

Apart from these tools, you can follow these best practices to avoid malicious network activity.

  • Identify malicious emails_ Malicious actors use phishing emails to access sensitive data. It’s a growing trend in cyberspace, and employees should practice safe email protocol and must be careful while clicking on the links from unknown resources. It’s also important to have network security protection in place.
  • Report a slower-than-normal network_ A malware outbreak or hacking attempt often results in a slower network. Employees should quickly inform the IT security department when they face slower than typical network speed.
  • Identify suspicious pop-ups_ Increased security in a business environment means safe web browsing. Employees should not click on the pop-up windows appearing on the websites. Unknown pop-ups can be infected with spyware or malware that compromise a network.
  • Note abnormal password activity_ If an employee is locked out of their system and gets an email saying that a password has been changed, it can signify that the password is compromised. The best practice is to ensure that all employees use strong and unique passwords for all accounts and update the network every six months.

Conclusion

The threat of a cyberattack on your organization is real. Protecting your business network comes down to ensuring that security controls exist across the organization. The security tools and best practices mentioned in the article are simple and allow organizations to focus on their core business activities. It lets them take advantage of a modern world of digital business opportunities. Adequately configured network security tools are helpful for monitoring and analyzing overwhelming network traffic in a rapidly changing, dynamic environment and detecting potentially malicious activities.

Malicious activities can often go undetected in a network because they are disguised as regular traffic. By properly configuring your security tools, you can monitor and analyze network traffic to detect any activities that may be malicious. Protected Harbor provides 360-degree security protection from most threats and malicious activities. Our expert tech team is a step ahead of phishing and malware attacks with a proactive approach. Partner with us today and be secured from malicious activities.

What is a denial of service attack? How to prevent denial of service attacks?

what is a denial of service attack how to prevent denial of service attacks

 

What is a denial of service attack? How to prevent denial of service attacks?

What are Denial of Service attacksDenial of service (DoS) attacks can disrupt organizations’ networks and websites, resulting in the loss of businesses. These attacks can be catastrophic for any organization, business, or institution. DoS attacks can force a company into downtime for almost 12 hours, resulting in immense loss of revenue. The Information Technology (IT) industry has seen a rapid increase in denial of service attacks. Years ago, these attacks were perceived as minor attacks by novice hackers who did it for fun, and it was not so difficult to mitigate them. But now, the DoS attack is a sophisticated activity cybercriminals use to target businesses.

This article will discuss the denial of service attacks in detail, how it works, the types and impacts of DoS attacks, and how to prevent them. Let’s get started.

What is a denial of service (DoS) attack?

A denial of service (DoS) attack is designed to slow down networks or systems, making them inaccessible to users. Devices, information systems, or other resources on a machine or network, such as online accounts, email, e-commerce websites, and more, become unusable during a denial of service attack. Data loss or direct theft may not be the primary goal of a DoS attack. However, it can potentially damage the targeted organization financially because it spends a lot of time and money to get back to its position. Loss of business, reputational harm, and frustrated customers are additional costs to a targeted organization.

Victims of denial of service attacks often include web servers of high-profile enterprises, such as media companies, banks, government, or trade organizations. During a DoS attack, the targeted organization experiences an interruption in one or more services because the attack has flooded their resources through HTTP traffic and requests, denying access to authorized users. It’s among the top four security threats of recent times, including ransomware, social engineering, and supply chain attacks.

How does a denial of service attack work?

Unlike a malware or a virus attack, a denial of service attack does not need a social program to execute. However, it takes advantage of an inherent vulnerability in the system and how a computer network communicates. In denial of service attacks, a system is triggered to send malicious code to hundreds and thousands of servers. This action is usually performed using tools, such as a botnet.

A botnet can be a network of private systems infected with the malicious code controlled as a group, without the individuals knowing it. The server that can’t tell that the requests are fake sends back its response and waits up to a minute to get a reply in each case. And after not getting any response, the server shuts down the connection, and the system executing the attack again sends a new batch of fake requests. A DoS attack mainly affects enterprises and how they run in an interconnected world. The attack hinders access to information and services on their systems for customers.

Types of denial of service attacks

Here are some common types of denial of service (DoS) attacks.

1. Volumetric attacks

It is a type of DoS attack where the entire network bandwidth is consumed so the authorized users can’t get the resources. It is achieved by flooding the network devices, such as switches or hubs, with various ICMP echo requests or reply packets, so the complete bandwidth is utilized, and no other user can connect with the target network.

2. SYN Flooding

It’s an attack where the hacker compromises multiple zombies and floods the target through various SYN packets simultaneously. The target will be inundated with the SYN requests, causing the server to go down or the performance to be reduced drastically.

3. DNS amplification

In this type of DoS attack, an attacker generates DNS requests appearing to originate from an IP address in the targeted network and sends requests to misconfigured DNS servers managed by a third party. The amplification occurs due to intermediate servers responding to the fake submissions. The responses generated from the intermediate DNS servers may contain more data, requiring more resources to process. It can result in authorized users facing denied access issues.

4. Application layer

This DoS attack generates fake traffic to internet application servers, particularly Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or domain name system (DNS). Some application layer attacks flood the target server with the network data, and others target the victim’s application protocol or server, searching for vulnerabilities.

Impact of denial of service attacks

Denial-of-Service-attacksIt can be difficult to distinguish an attack from heavy bandwidth consumption or other network connectivity. However, some common effects of denial of service attacks are as follows.

  1. Inability to load a particular website due to heavy flow of traffic
  2. A typically slow network performance, such as a long loading time for websites or files
  3. A sudden connectivity loss across multiple devices on the same network.
  4. Legitimate users can’t access resources and cannot find the information required to act.
  5. Repairing a website targeted by a denial of service attack takes time and money.

How to prevent denial of service attacks?

Here are some practical ways to prevent a DoS attack.

  • Limit broadcasting_ A DoS attack often sends requests to all devices on the network that amplify the attack. Limiting the broadcast forwarding can disrupt attacks. Moreover, users can also disable echo services where possible.
  • Prevent spoofing_ Check that the traffic has a consistent source address with the set of lessons and use filters to stop the dial-up connection from copying.
  • Protect endpoints_ Make sure that all endpoints are updated and patched to eliminate the known vulnerabilities.
  • Streamline incident response_ Honing the incident response can help the security team respond to the denial of service attacks quickly and efficiently.
  • Configure firewall and routers_ Routers and firewalls must be configured to reject the bogus traffic. Keep your firewalls and routers updated with the latest security patches.
  • Enroll in a DoS protection service_ detecting the abnormal traffic flows and redirecting them away from the network. Thus the DoS traffic is filtered out, and the clean traffic is passed on to the network.
  • Create a disaster recovery plan_ to ensure efficient and successful communication, mitigation, and recovery if an attack occurs, having a disaster recovery plan is important.

Conclusion

This article has looked at the denial of service attacks and how to prevent them. A DoS attack is designed to make networks or systems inaccessible to users. The most effective way to be safe from these attacks is to be proactive. Protected Harbor’s complete security control offers 99.99% uptime, remote monitoring, 24×7 available tech-team, remote backup, and recovery, ensuring no DoS attack on your organization. Protected Harbor is providing a free IT and cybersecurity audit for a limited time. Contact us today and get secured.

How Can Law Firms Protect Themselves From Cyber Threats

how can law firms protect themselves from cyber threats

 

How Can Law Firms Protect Themselves From Cyber Threats

 

Attractive-nuisance-stop-hackers-from-attacking-your-law-firmAfter the coronavirus outbreak, everyone is doing their business online. Cybercriminals are getting more chances to attack, and it is evolving day by day. Not even a single organization is safe from cyber-attacks. Law firms are at greater risk and becoming the next top target of hackers.

Criminals use ransomware for data breaches and block access to systems until they pay the ransom. They threaten these firms to publish confidential data if they don’t fulfill their requirements. Law firms are responsible for the client’s data to keep it private. They carry sensitive information, and it is their responsibility not to let their data into the wrong hands.

This article will discuss the security measures law firms can take to protect themselves from cyber attacks:

How to protect a Law Firm from Cyber-attacks?

There was a rapid business shift to remote work during the pandemic outbreak. The responsibilities of IT professionals and security experts increase. They are under more pressure to keep their organization safe from potential attacks.

Migration to remote work creates more vulnerabilities as employees are working from home. Law firms should be more cautious and take steps to protect themselves from hacker attacks.

Here are some steps you can follow to make your firm more secure.

 

Tell your employees to monitor their devices.

When employees work from home and use their devices and the internet, it can increase vulnerability if the employee’s network is not secure. Hackers always try to attack vulnerable systems as they are the weakest and easily get attacked. The consequences of such attacks include data loss and data breaches. Law firms hold confidential data, and they can’t afford to lose it. The responsibility of law firms is to educate their employees to use a VPN to protect their systems.

 

Encrypt Data

Law firms use emails and document sharing systems to send and receive data. And they use the internet to communicate with clients and employees. Try to send data in encrypted form over the internet so you can protect it from cyber-criminals. It is harder for a hacker to intercept such data. The virtual private network helps to encrypt data reliably and cost-effectively. Through VPN, they can securely send data from a computer to the internet.

 

attacking your-law-firmTell Employees to use Two-Factor Authentication.

Most people use the same passwords for all the accounts they have. Either it is a personal account or a work account. But keep in mind, using a weak and same password is not a secure way. Reused passwords increase the risk of cyber-attacks. Implement a two-factor authentication process within your organization. This process uses a code for login. Every time a user wants to log in to a system, it requires a code sent to the employee’s mobile or device. This code expires after some time. It is a way to protect the company’s systems and accounts from vulnerable users.

 

 

Educate Employees about Ransomware

Ransomware is a kind of malware that prevents users from accessing their data and files on their system. They cannot access their data until they pay the ransom that cyber-criminals demand. There is no guarantee of accessing the data even after paying the ransom. So, it is better to take precautionary measures before facing such attacks. Law firms should educate their employees about it and tell them ways to protect their data. These steps include

  • Use a secure way of file sharing
  •  Do not open malicious emails.
  • Use strong passwords
  • Keep your systems up to date
  • Use Virtual Private Network

 

Use VPNs

A law firm can protect a client’s personal information using a VPN. Lawyers keep sensitive data, and they need to keep it confidential. They can have better security if they use a VPN. All of the data is transferred in an encrypted form. VPNs are beneficial for these law firms because they meet the essential requirements. Privacy and security are the biggest concerns of a law firm that can be fulfilled using a VPN.

As mentioned above, all VPNs are not the same, so they should get one according to the firm’s needs and expectations. Prices and quality vary, so it is recommended to get a free VPN trial first, find the best one for your firm, and then buy it.

 

Conclusion

The current legal industry comprises around 1.5 million organizations, and large law firms are strongly advised to adopt cyber security measures to protect the IP they have developed over time.

When dealing with the digital world daily, security is a top priority. You must take every precaution to protect yourself from cyber threats and hackers, mainly if you deal with sensitive client information and data. Protected Harbor provides Comprehensive Legal Services Threat and Vulnerability Assessment for law firms. By partnering with Protected Harbor, you will have full access to all the safeguards and tools needed to stay protected from cyber threats, but you’ll also be partnering with one of the most respected names in the industry. Contact us today for a free network vulnerability test for your law firm.