Dangers of Encrypted Malware And How To Protect Your Organization

Dangers of Encrypted Malware And How To Protect Your Organization

Every time you get on the internet, you are exposed to many forms of risk. Encrypted traffic is supposed to be secure, but what are the dangers of encrypted malware?

dangers of encrypted malware

Hackers are constantly finding new ways to identify security flaws and exploit them, compromising your data or device. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, the effect of the financial market caused by cybercrime is expected to rise to 6 trillion dollars in 2021.

Most websites on the internet have resulted in encrypted connections to beef up their security. You’ve probably encountered it. For instance, when a site has a padlock icon at the top of the browser, it is a sign that the site’s communication is through an encrypted connection under a valid TLS/SSL certificate.

SSL encryption is key for any application or site to safely transfer sensitive information. This includes financial data, credit card numbers, and passwords. SSL certificates are also a great defense tactic to stop intruders on their tracks when trying to get wind of your internet activity.

However, most people have become too trusting whenever they spot the padlock icon assuming that they are safe from all kinds of attacks.

The truth is, bad guys have found ways around encryption. Cybercriminals and hackers have found ways to cover malicious code using SSL/HTTPS and in the process, send encrypted malware.

What is Encrypted Malware?

Encrypted malware is a program that can go around common security blockers and infiltrate corporate networks with the goal of acquiring data or setting a ransomware attack.

How are the hackers able to bypass security measures?

The most common IT security solutions nowadays involve combining firewalls and intrusion detection systems to comb through and analyze all of the incoming traffic to the local network. The notion is for the system to detect and stop cyberattacks and any hacking threats automatically before the users become vulnerable.

However, there is an in-built loophole in how these systems operate. These systems are made to scan network traffic in a bid to spot patterns that are related to malware or some malicious attacks. Even so, if the systems cannot decode the full body of every incoming network request, they become blind to a portion of the traffic.

For instance, when you download a PDF document from a website outside the network, your intrusion detection system or firewall can check through the packets of data that get into the local network. However, if the communication is taking place over an SSL connection, then the firewall/system is blind to the encryption and cannot detect what is inside the PDF document.

Businesses need to invest more in cybersecurity if they are to gain the confidence of clients. An Arcserve survey on consumers showed that 70 percent of consumers were not confident with how businesses were securing their personal information. This couldn’t be further from the truth. A report by Varonis discovered that only an average of 5 percent of companies’ folders is protected properly from cybersecurity risks.

Encrypted Ransomware

Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that in 2021, there will be a ransomware attack every 11 seconds on businesses. Additionally, Arcserve projects damages caused by ransomware to reach 20 billion dollars in 2021. Even worse, the Arcserve report shows that 59 percent of buyers will not do business with companies that experienced a cyberattack in 2020.

Encrypted ransomware is a type of ransomware where complex and advanced encryption algorithms are leveraged by ransomware creators to encrypt all of the data saved on an infected device.

Ransomware creators in this case apply military-grade encryption algorithms that prevent you from decrypting the files on your own. The ransomware is even able to scramble all the file names, making it difficult for you to determine the affected files and those that are not affected.

In an encryption ransomware attack, the attacker tries to spot all kinds of potential vulnerabilities that they can identify in your computer’s security system. A ransom note is then shown on your computer screen after the attack is complete. The note has all the information you’ll need to regain the encrypted content. Usually, the creators of the ransomware will give the victims about 96 hours to pay the amount.

What are the Dangers of Encrypted Malware?

Some interesting statistics by Comparitech continue to show that many people are still prone to malware attacks. For example, 3.7 million malware attacks got sent via encrypted SSL/TSL traffic in 2019, a 27 percent increase from 2018. These encrypted channels make it difficult to detect and mitigate, thus the malware packages experience higher success rates.

Additionally, according to Mimecast, 51 percent of organizations encountered a ransomware attack that caused at least a temporary disruption of business operations.

With that said, let’s take a look at some of the dangers of encrypted malware:

  • Loss of data
  • Loss of profits in businesses especially during downtime
  • Cost of having to replace compromised devices
  • Reputation damage that may lead to loss of business
  • Cost of recovery
  • Having to invest in new security systems
  • Illegal withdrawal of balance from bank accounts
  • Unauthorized people getting access to valuable documents

Polymorphic Malware vs Encrypted Malware

A finding by Webroot shows that 93.6 percent of malware that was observed in 2019 was polymorphic. Polymorphic malware is a kind of malware that constantly alters its identifiable features so as to evade detection. The polymorphic techniques include changing file names and types or even encryption keys, ensuring the malware is unrecognizable to detection systems.

Many of the common kinds of malware can be polymorphic, such as keyloggers, bots, trojans, viruses, and worms.

Polymorphism is leveraged to avoid pattern-matching detection that is relied on by security solutions such as antivirus software. While some characteristics of this malware may change, its functional purpose remains undeterred.

Does this mean that polymorphic malware is impossible to detect? Not exactly.

Polymorphic malware can be spotted using 2 techniques. These are entry point algorithms and generic description technology. The entry point algorithm utilizes a special malware detection program to go through machine code at the point of entry of every file. The generic description technology, on the other hand, runs the file through a protected virtual computer.

In encrypted malware, the signature is hidden under a layer of encryption. Polymorphic malware, on the other hand, is an improvement over encrypted malware. Where encrypted malware is prone to signature scanning, malware writers began morphing the decryption code in polymorphic malware to avoid detection.

Can Encrypted Files be Hacked?

It would take 6.4 quadrillion years for current classical computers to decrypt your encrypted data. However, hackers still find ways to get hold of the original content. They often result in stealing encryption keys or intercepting data before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted. The most common way that encrypted data is hacked is by adding an encryption layer while using an attacker’s key.

Let’s take an in-depth look at some encryption mistakes that lead to data breaches

Handling key management poorly

Failing to handle key management in the right way, is the most common way that hackers get their hands on sensitive data regardless of it having been encrypted correctly. If hackers get hold of your encrypted data and the encryption key, your defense is gone. So what are some of the key management failures?

Keeping the key ‘under the mat’

So you’ve encrypted all your sensitive data and signed it properly. Where do you hide the encryption key? In the database? On the file system? In an app config file? All these are bad choices for storing your encryption key.

Failing to protect the key

Even if you hide the key in a separate place, your job is not cut out for you since hackers might get to it there too. You should encrypt the encryption key with another encryption key, preferably, a Key Encryption Key, that you’ll then have to store in a different location. To beef up your security even more, you can secure all your KEKs using a Master Encryption Key and a Master Signing Key.

Insecurely fetching the key

Despite having 3 layers of encryption protecting the data, you still have to transfer the key to the app securely. Ideally, this requires authentication between the key management server and your app, as well as delivering it over an encrypted connection, thus the fourth layer of encryption. Furthermore, there include performance considerations including caching the key securely in memory which can be troublesome. All these complexities are grounds for data hacks.

Same key for all data

Some people use the one encryption key to safeguard their sensitive data. This is the equivalent of using one key for your house, office, and your car, which is not usually the case. For this reason, you should split your data into several security partitions, each having its encryption key. This can be complex as it requires that you intelligently figure out the key you need to fetch each time you encrypt and decrypt data, but it is necessary.

Never altering the key

It’s common knowledge that it’s wise to change the locks occasionally on your doors, and the same principle applies to encryption. This is known as key rotation and it should not be overlooked. It entails maintaining several versions of every encryption key and matching it to its corresponding version of the encrypted data. In some cases, you need to move the existing data from an old key to the new key.

Expecting cloud providers to secure your data

With the rise in popularity in cloud computing, many server-side applications are migrating from server rooms to data centers. These centers are spread out across the globe and are under the management of companies like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. These tech giants have pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into cybersecurity, to ensure that they are “THE” secure cloud.

This causes many organizations to assume that any data that is stored by these providers are safe. This is a very risky assumption.

While the physical infrastructure powering the cloud providers may be secure, and even some offering encryption options, still, they recommend that developers first encrypt their sensitive data before they send it to the cloud.

How to Protect Yourself or Your Business from Encrypted Malware

  • You should be on the look for the padlock symbol on your browser to be sure that the site you are on has SSL encryption enabled. However, don’t just assume that this is enough since many suspicious websites also spoof their own sites with SSL certificates to seem legitimate.
  • Every time you key in your personal information or perform a financial transaction, take some time to assess the platform you are using and if the URL in your browser, as well as any organization details found on the SSL certificate, corresponds to the organization.
  • Hackers can still use advanced DNS spoofing to give seemingly correct URLs that in turn get user credentials. Using strong password managers will help protect you from this as they cross-reference URLs. Still, users need to be cautious when inputting login info.
  • Opt to add a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to strengthen your online security. This service is growing in popularity among many internet users as it is easily available via subscription, and leverages different kinds of encryption apart from SSL to ensure your network is secure and anonymous during online sessions.
  • Ensure that your organization has intrusion detection systems and firewalls that are correctly configured. Hackers never tire from spotting vulnerabilities in your system. This means that even after taking the right precautions, there is a chance that you might still be vulnerable to malware.
  • Ensure that your organization is utilizing deep packet inspection and/or SSL inspection to weed out threats that may come through encrypted web traffic.
  • Invest in proven anti-virus tools from credible sources, and always keep them up to date. While this might not be completely foolproof, there is no sure way, given the latest technology, to protect your network other than having anti-malware, anti-virus software, and a firewall manning your network.
  • Embark on offline backups and online files. Companies are doubling up in a bid to safeguard their information. Firstly, they are storing large parts of their files in the cloud, ensuring that their physical devices will not be affected in the event of an infection. Secondly, they are storing secure backups offline, to prevent them from getting affected by an infection.

An analysis by CybSafe of data from the UK Information Commissioner’s Office discovered that 90 percent of the cybersecurity breaches in Britain were linked to human error. As such, other simple measures include advising employees not to click on links or download attachments that are from unknown sources. They should also be keen on the spelling of email addresses, and if there are inconsistencies, delete them immediately. They should also ignore and bin emails that have poor formatting and grammar.

Dangers of Encrypted Malware – The Bottom line

Encrypted traffic is very important in making networks secure while keeping information safe. Even so, it does not mean that it is totally safe from attacks, such as encrypted malware. This could result in huge financial losses and data breaches. For this reason, companies need to practice proactive precaution.

Consider Cybriant’s PREtect Service as an All-in-One Cybersecurity Solution for your organization. Learn more here.

Who Needs CMMC Certification?

Who Needs CMMC Certification?

Who Needs CMMC Certification? You may have heard about the upcoming CMMC certification requirement. Will your organization require certification?

The first question most organizations have regarding CMMC is: Who must comply with the CMMC? The short answer is all DoD contractors. But there may be more to the story, keep reading to find out. 

Any cyberattack leading to loss of Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) from the Defense Industrial Base (DIB) poses a significant risk to national security.

With many companies and organizations doing business with the Department of Defense (DOD), the defense industrial database is one of the most frequent and valuable targets for malicious cyber activities. For this reason, DoD rolled out Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC). At its core, CMMC is a certification standard aiming to tighten cybersecurity protocols and reduce vulnerability to possible cyberattacks.

The CMMC certification is a seal that increases the security and resiliency of the DIB. Organizations that comply with the robust CMMC requirements will have played their role in improving national security.

In this article, you will learn more about Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, who need the certifications, how to know if your organization needs to be certified, and other related information. Keep scrolling!

What is Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification?

Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is a program rolled out by the DoD to unify standards for implementing cybersecurity across DIB. Essentially, it protects the information and data on all DoD networks while improving overall cybersecurity.

CMMC certification comes at a time when attempts to attack DoD systems are extremely high. Besides ensuring contractors observe appropriate levels of cybersecurity controls, this initiated certification will measure the readiness, capabilities, and sophistication of contractors in the cybersecurity area. For a contractor to be awarded any federal contract, they must meet minimum standards. This will significantly guarantee information and data protection while ensuring the integrity of the supply chain.

The primary goal of CMMC is to improve and ensure the safeguarding of sensitive data, including Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI) and Federal Contract Information (FCI) associated with federal contractors.

The CMMC framework

Featuring five certification levels, the CMMC framework consists of a comprehensive and scalable certification element to reflect the maturity and reliability of a contractor’s cybersecurity infrastructure. The five levels are tiered and build upon technical requirements of each other. You must at least comply with lower-level requirements and institutionalize different processes to implement cybersecurity practices of a higher level.

cmmc levels

Various levels in the CMMC certification framework demonstrate a collection of best cybersecurity-based practices used by organizations. The degree of adherence showcases an organization’s commitment to improving domain in maturity models for higher performance.

From basic cyber hygiene to higher aptitude levels and advanced security operations, CMMC builds upon existing frameworks and standards to create one maturity model. Here is an overview of the processes and practices of individual levels.

Level 1: Basic Cyber Hygiene – This is foundational and minimum CMMC certification levels. It is centered around protecting FCI, government information not intended for public release. Primarily, it requires an organization to use antivirus software and sanitize or destroy media featuring FCI before disposal.

Level 2: Intermediate Cyber Hygiene – At this level, contractors are expected to establish and document information on the best cybersecurity practices and policies. During the evaluation, a contractor or company should have an approach encompassing all activities to protect any CUI.

Level 3: Good Cyber Hygiene – With level 3 certification, a company or contractor showcases the essential ability to safeguard CUI and effectively implement NIST SP 800-171 security requirements. At this level, a company is required to resource and maintain a management plan to implement specific activities to protect CUI. A contractor needs to review policies and processes while ensuring activities are sufficiently maintained.

Level 4: Proactive – This is the second-highest certification level. The level includes establishing proactive practices to enhance detection and response to evolving tactics, techniques, and procedures of advanced persistent threats (APTs). These advanced cybersecurity practices can defend CUI from long-term malicious attacks aimed to mine sensitive information.

Level 5: Advanced/ Progressive – The highest certification level. Level 5 certification entails protecting CUI from APTs through more sophisticated techniques and capabilities to detect and respond to APTs. To be certified, organizations must implement standardized and optimized processes across the organization.

Who needs CMMC Certification?

The first question most organizations have regarding CMMC is: Who must comply with the CMMC? The short answer is all DoD contractors.

CMMC applies to anyone in the defense contract supply chain. These include contractors who engage directly with the Department of Defense and subcontractors contracting with primes to fulfill and/or execute those contracts.

According to the DoD, the CMMC launched standards will affect over 300,000 organizations. Thankfully, most companies will need between level 1 to level 3 certification to be eligible for government contracts. The affected organizations include all suppliers at all tiers along the DoD supply chain, commercial items contractors, small businesses, and foreign suppliers.

Coordination between DoD and CMMC Accreditation Body (CMMC-AB) develops procedures to certify independent third-party assessment organizations (C3PAO) and assessors. These assessors evaluate companies’ CMMC levels. The exact level of certification a company needs to be awarded a federal contract will be specified in the RFP. All the same, contractors doing business with DoD must at least meet Level 1 CMMC requirements.

Organizations will get appropriate certification upon satisfying the security requirements for a specifically requested tier. All CMMC assessors are licensed through CMMC-AB; therefore, guaranteeing the finding of your cybersecurity audit remains confidential. Nevertheless, your level of certification will be available to DoD through a database.

So, how do you know if you need to be certified? If you’re a contractor working with DoD or a subcontractor executing DoD projects, you need CMMC certification.

What are some of the CMMC Best Practices?

Although CMMC will likely be fully implemented by 2026, companies and organizations should start certification efforts earliest possible. Essentially, this involves putting in place the best cybersecurity-based practices.

The rate at which a company achieves an acceptable level of cyber hygiene and ultimately comply with CMMC requirements depends on the current environment. Here are some of the CMMC best practices.

  • Determine the CMMC level you need to obtain, review cyber hygiene requirements, and start gathering CMMC tools, documents, and templates.
  • Identify the scope of the evaluation and configure the existing security environment to align with CMMC requirements.
  • Review each CMMC practice against your environment, starting with the first practice in the first domain and work way down.
  • Continually visit the DoD’s website to check any updates on CMMC as you wait for assessment by CMMC-AB certified assessor.

CMMC Readiness Assessment

Prepare today for the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification with our CMMC Readiness Assessment and Gap Analysis.

Our experts will determine where your gaps are and what you need to do to remediate them. After completing a thorough gap analysis we will provide you with a documented Plan of Action so that you can develop a roadmap towards eventual CMMC certification.

Click here to learn more. 

In Conclusion

CMMC is a unified standard to safeguard information and data from all DoD systems while ensuring the supply chain’s integrity. Unlike NIST SP 800-171, which requires contractors to take solid measures towards compliance, CMMC compliance includes assessments that assign a company maturity level. It is a no-brainer that CMMC is more than NIST SP 800-171 and will ensure all DoD contractors protect CUI as required. Prepare today with the Readiness Assessment from Cybriant. 

 

2021 Guide to Cybersecurity and IT Due Diligence

2021 Guide to Cybersecurity and IT Due Diligence

If previous years have shown us anything, it’s that we want to be prepared for all situations. With IT due diligence, you have processes and procedures designed so your organization has a complete picture of your infrastructure and any risk associate with it. Here’s how to get start on 2021 with IT due diligence especially in cybersecurity.

it due diligence

Are You Doing Your IT Due Diligence?

The words “due diligence” may make you think of a courtroom drama on television. Surely, that’s something only lawyers have to worry about? Not so fast. Due diligence is something your business can be doing, too. Are you covering the basics?

Due diligence is about taking care and being cautious in doing business. It extends to how you manage your technology, too. This is vitally important when it comes to cybersecurity. You may think you’re immune to a data breach or cyberattack, but cybercriminals can target you regardless of business size or industry sector.

Depending on your industry, you may even have compliance or regulatory laws to follow. Some insurance providers also expect a certain level of security standards from you. The costs associated with these cyber incidents are increasing, too. Don’t leave your business vulnerable.

What is IT Due Diligence?

Cybersecurity due diligence requires attention to several areas. There are several items listed below that should be considered, and we recommend starting with a security risk assessment. You’ll learn any security gaps and easy to follow recommendations to help you achieve due diligence.

Here are some topics to consider regarding IT due diligence:

  • Do you have an up-to-date list of authorized devices and authorized software?
  • Are you checking for vulnerabilities as well as patching and remediting those vulnerabilities?
  • What type of Malware defense do you have in place?
  • Application security – How are you protecting your systems and software from attack?
  • Wireless devices with WIFI network access – are employees able to connect over unsecure wifi?
  • Are you testing your Data Recovery capabilities – backups and restoration?
  • Do your employees have access to Security skills assessment and training?
  • Do you systematically change passwords and secure configurations for network hardware?
  • Are you able to track and controll the use of administrator privileges?
  • Are you actively monitoring for network attacks?
  • How is remote network access activity logged?
  • Account monitoring and control – have you removed inactive accounts?
  • Data loss prevention – are mobile storage media devices encrypted?
  • Incident Response and Management  – Is there a written incident response plan?
  • Do you require Penetration testing?

Vendor Due Diligence

It will become more and more important to vet your contractors and vendors especially if you work on any sort of government contract.

Consider CMMC – While it may only be required for Department of Defense contractors, it will be a good practice for vendor due diligence moving forward.

Here is more information:

The upcoming Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) may be a concern to you if you are a government contractor in an organization that contains Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI). 

Privacy is going to be of major concern going forward.  Just as NIST 800-171 is a subset of 800-53.  CMMC, as discussed previously, will take from NIST 800-171 and 800-53 to produce a list of requirements around any data pertaining to a contract, including CUI.  NIST has upped their game/concern for privacy.  It stands to reason that this would make its way into the CMMC.  Table F-2 of NIST 800-53 is a great place to start to begin the understanding of how important privacy will be.

Because of the privacy emphasis in the industry at large and the latest draft of 800-53 we at Cybriant suggest the following actions to prepare:

  • Develop a privacy program
  • Begin identifying all types of PII captured by your organization
  • Develop or modify training to address privacy
  • Begin updating all policies to address privacy concerns
    • Privacy Policy (of course)
    • Record retention and destruction
    • Communications policy & procedures
    • Business continuity and disaster recovery
    • and more
  • Be thinking about
    • Does your company need the PII it does have?
    • How does your organization communicate privacy concerns to all parties?
    • Who will be ultimately responsible for privacy?
    • How will allowing redress of privacy concerns affect your processes?

Processes, People, and Technology

Yes, that old trope is back.  We’ve heard it a thousand times but, it is our belief contractors will need to start getting their ducks in a row now if they want the road to CMMC compliance to be as painless as possible.  Long gone are the days of throwing together a System Security Plan (SSP) a couple of Plan of Action and Milestone (PoAM)s and calling it a day.  It is our strong belief that CMMC will require more than just adherence to particular security controls, an SSP and enough PoAMs to make the auditors happy.  After seeing the concerted effort to implement RMF throughout the entire organization, pushing that process down the chain is almost certain.

What do I mean by that?

The Risk Management Framework places heavy importance on ensuring that not only controls implemented but your daily operations, the very fabric of how you run your organization, lives and breathes security.  Marry that with the industry-accepted thought that NIST is aligning itself closer to industry norms of ISO 27001, GDPR, etc, and there are a few items that organizations wishing to win contracts must be made aware.

Risk Assessments take center stage

Within most all frameworks one of the main starting points is a risk assessment.  This helps define the major deficiencies of the organization as compared to the standard.  Not only that but, a Cybriant risk assessment allows an organization to understand their security in a more holistic manner.   Being compliant does not make you secure just as being secure does not make you compliant.  As such, a Cybriant risk assessment addresses both issues.

Read more, “Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification: What to Expect.”

Conclusion

IT due diligence protects your business. Meeting these security standards can also cut costs and preserve your brand reputation. Demonstrating vigilance helps you avoid hefty compliance or regulatory fines and fight litigation. In the event of legal action, you’ll also want to prove the efforts you made. So, be sure to thoroughly document all IT security efforts.

Due diligence doesn’t have to be difficult. Start with a security risk assesment and our experts can help you determine the best preventative measures for your organization. Some business risks will pay off, sure, but when it comes to your IT, caution will have the best results.

Phishing Email Red Flags | One Tool To Stop Phishing Emails

Phishing Email Red Flags | One Tool To Stop Phishing Emails

Once you learn these 5 phishing email red flags, you will never click on a spear-phishing email again. However, hackers are getting better and better. We’ve got one simple tool that will help stop any malware from executing from a phishing email. Read to the end to learn more.

phishing email red flags

It’s been said that your users are your weakest link. A single click can be the difference between maintaining data security and suffering massive financial losses. From the moment just one employee takes the bait in a phishing email, your business is vulnerable to data breaches and extensive downtime.

Quickly spot these Phishing Email Red Flags:

1. Poor spelling and grammar

While occasional typos happen to even the best of us, an email filled with errors is a clear warning sign. Most companies push their campaigns through multiple review stages where errors are blitzed and language is refined. Unlikely errors throughout the entire message indicate that the same level of care was not taken, and therefore the message is likely fraudulent.

2. An offer too good to be true

Free items or a lottery win sure sound great, but when the offer comes out of nowhere and with no catch? There’s definitely cause for concern. Take care not to get carried away and click without investigating deeper.

3. Random sender who knows too much

Phishing has advanced in recent years to include ‘spear phishing’, which is an email or offer designed especially for your business. Culprits take details from your public channels, such as a recent function or award, and then use it against you. The only clues? The sender is unknown – they weren’t at the event or involved in any way. Take a moment to see if their story checks out.

4. The URL or email address is not quite right

One of the most effective techniques used in phishing emails is to use domains that sound almost right. For example, [microsoft.info.com] or [pay-pal.com]

Hover over the link with your mouse and review where it will take you. If it doesn’t look right or is completely different from the link text, send that email to the bin.

5. It asks for personal, financial, or business details

Alarm bells should ring when a message contains a request for personal, business, or financial information.  If you believe there may be a genuine issue, you can initiate a check using established, trusted channels.

How to Stop Phishing Emails

Unfortunately, once the hackers have your email address, it’s difficult for them to stop making attempts. You can easily see if your email address has been compromised by going to https://haveibeenpwned.com/.

If any red flags are discovered, immediately change your password. Cybriant’s CTO created a remote workers guide with a very helpful step by step guide to protecting your personal information. See our Remote Workers Guide here. 

Best Practice: Prevent Malware from Executing

While it’s vital to teach your staff these 5 phishing email red flags, hackers are getting so good at crafting compelling phishing emails.  Traditional knowledge tells us to use an antivirus that will stop us from going to any unsavory websites. We’ve discovered that isn’t the case with modern-day hackers. There are several threats that can still make it through your antivirus. 

Many organizations are not comfortable removing their antivirus product completely. Very often, clients will utilize Managed Detection and Response (MDR) security services to determine just how much their current AV has missed. You’ll have the ability to detect and prevent hidden exploit processes that are more complex than a simple signature or pattern and evade traditional antivirus.

How many different technologies are deployed on your users’ endpoints? How many full-time employees does it take to manage those technologies? By reducing the number of layers of security on your endpoints, you’ll find that you see an improved level of security. Deploying more technology or software on the endpoint will have an impact on system performance.

Here are some reasons we highly recommend MDR:

24/7 Continuous Monitoring
Rest assured that your endpoints are protected around the clock, Cybriant provides forensic analysis, threat intelligence, and 24/7 protection.

Full Lifecycle Protection
Combining automated processes and technologies with expert, field-seasoned cyber intelligence analysts, you’ll receive full-spectrum protection from initial alert to security event remediation.

Real-Time Threat Detection
By using AI technology, we have the ability to detect and prevent attacks before they can fully execute. When a threat is detected, we are able to contain and mitigate threats from all diverse modes of attack.

Remediation
When you work with Cybriant, we give you the insight and expertise to remediate any threats. This will help your organization reduce their attack surface by learning how you’ve been compromised.

Consider MDR from Cybriant today. When you take advantage of our 30-day trial, you’ll receive the details of managed detection and response pricing in case you want to continue using the service.

Conclusion

While education is the best way to ensure phishing emails are unsuccessful, an MDR service that is watching your endpoints around the clock will provide peace of mind that your business has the best protection available.

Test out our MDR service with a free 30-day trial. 

Should You Consider a Managed SIEM Service?

Should You Consider a Managed SIEM Service?

While a SIEM is a vital tool for monitoring networks, could a Managed SIEM service make an impact on your business?

managed siem service

What is a SIEM?

Security information and event management (SIEM) is an approach to security management that combines SIM (security information management) and SEM (security event management) functions into one security management system.

The acronym SIEM is pronounced “sim” with a silent e.

The underlying principles of every SIEM system is to aggregate relevant data from multiple sources, identify deviations from the norm, and take appropriate action.

For example, when a potential issue is detected, a SIEM might log additional information, generate an alert, and instruct other security controls to stop an activity’s progress.

managed siem service Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance originally drove SIEM adoption in large enterprises but concerns over advanced persistent threats (APTs) have led smaller organizations to look at the benefits of a SIEM and what a managed security service provider (MSSP) can offer.

Read more: Do you need a SIEM to be PCI Compliant?

Being able to look at all security-related data from a single point of view makes it easier for organizations of all sizes to spot patterns that are out of the ordinary.

Today, most SIEM systems work by deploying multiple collection agents in a hierarchical manner to gather security-related events from end-user devices, servers, network equipment, as well as specialized security equipment like firewalls, antivirus, or intrusion prevention systems.

The collectors forward events to a centralized management console where security analysts sift through the noise, connecting the dots and prioritizing security incidents.

What is Managed SIEM?

Managed SIEM is the process of outsourcing the monitoring of your SIEM to an outsourced security provider. Many organizations take advantage of a Managed SIEM service because they are able to leverage the expertise of security professionals on an around the clock basis. You are also able to reduce training costs, gather greater threat intelligence, and scale faster.

Read more Managed SIEM FAQs here. 

Questions About Managed SIEM Pricing

Cybriant’s Managed SIEM service pricing is based on a number of different variables. These variables include the level of support, software licensing cost, number of devices, and post-implementation services. To request a quote, fill out our form here. 

Is Managed Security Right For You?

A SIEM is a complex tool that requires expertise to implement and maintain. To be effective, a SIEM has to be constantly updated and customized because external threats and internal environments are constantly changing.
It requires experienced security engineering to tune the SIEM to minimize false positive alerts and maximize the efficient detection of real breaches or malicious behavior.

Managing a SIEM ain’t easy

Utilizing and managing a SIEM in-house is typically reserved for large organizations that have the budget for developing a large, specialized team. Deploying a fully managed SIEM also means that your team consists of security analysts that oversee your system around the clock and calendar. This is their one and only dedicated job, and not an additional task for an already overworked engineer.

If you need help with any of the following questions, then a managed SIEM may be right for your organization. Learn more about our Managed SIEM service. 

  • Does your company have a framework-based security program?
  • Are you required to keep up with compliance regulations or IT audits?
  • How are you meeting requirements or IT audits?
  • Do you have a SIEM? Inhouse or Outsourced?
  • Are you receiving the business value you expected from your SIEM?
  • Are you considering deploying a SIEM?
  • Are you constrained by time, resources, or budget?

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Managed SIEM Use Cases

Regulatory.  All major regulatory acts require affected companies to implement procedures to regularly review records of information system activity, such as audit logs, access reports, and security incident tracking reports.  This includes regulations such as PCI-DSS, HIPAA, GLBA, and others that impact industry verticals like Retail, Healthcare, Financial Services, Government, and Education.  A properly implemented SIEM captures, stores, and analyzes this information.

Supply Chain Framework and Compliance. Many clients have contractual requests based on their framework. Cybriant’s services are aligned with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

Cyber Risk Management.  Properly implemented SIEMs are essential to the discovery of the most sophisticated cyber attacks known as advanced persistent threats (APTs), and aid in ensuring other defense tactics and tools are operating effectively.

Why Managed SIEM?

Limited IT Staff.  Most midsize and lower enterprise organizations lack the in-house IT staff required to maintain the tools they have in place, much less implement and manage new security products. Nor do they have adequate personnel coverage for 24/7 monitoring, analysis, and response.

Lack of Security Expertise.  In addition to not having enough IT staff, midsize and lower enterprise companies lack the security expertise necessary to research, analyze, and understand threats, leaving them woefully under-prepared to effectively respond to a cyber attack.

Insufficient Budget.  Trying to build and maintain an in-house security team with the necessary skills and tools to be effective is not only difficult, but it’s also expensive and beyond the means of most mid-size and lower enterprise companies who are contending with limited IT budgets.

Dynamic Computing Environments.  The rising adoption of cloud services and mobile computing has led to a dynamic IT infrastructure with a porous perimeter and growing attack surface, which is far more difficult to defend, especially for under-resourced teams.

Benefits of Managed Services vs. In-House Services

It’s tempting to consider your in-house IT team to take care of your SIEM, but is it the right decision for your business?

If you’re like most businesses, you’re always on the lookout for ways to save money while improving results. Sometimes this means expanding your staff to include a team of tech specialists at your beck and call, but this can often be an unnecessary expense that leaves you with highly paid employees twiddling their thumbs all day.

For organizations who are looking for the best of both worlds, we recommend Managed Security Services.

Put simply, Managed SIEM gives you a team of specialist 24/7 security analysts and network experts – and at a fraction of the cost. Naturally, you’d rather see your IT budget working to support your growth and kept as low as possible.

That’s our focus too, and why we don’t simply maintain and repair your systems, we proactively monitor to avoid downtime and work with you to ensure your IT increases productivity and efficiency. Whether you already have in-house IT and are auditing the value, or are curious about what having IT support might be like for your business, we’ve put together a few factors to consider before making your choice:

Availability: Most employees work 9-5, but what happens if something goes wrong with your systems outside these hours? Our team is monitoring your SIEM on a 24/7 basis and will only alert your team if a major incident is detected.

Total cost: If you have considered building a Security Operations Centers (SOC) for your organization, take a few minutes to download the ebook, Insource vs. Outsource: Cost Comparison for building a 24/7 Security Operations Center.  We will take you through the exact costs of building an internal SOC for a medium-sized business and compare it to the costs of outsourcing to a cybersecurity firm like Cybriant.

Ongoing Training: Putting aside the fact your internal team will often spend entire weeks away upgrading their skills and leaving you scrambling for support while they’re gone, those training costs quickly add up. With a salaried SOC, you’ll have to pay all ongoing training and certification costs, plus travel costs for industry conferences. We know how important it is to remain current, certified, and skilled in new technologies, so we spend the money to invest in ourselves so we can serve you better. We’re part of industry-related communities and attend multiple conferences each year, all at our own expense.

Different goals: For most employees, a higher wage is the goal and many will job-hop to achieve that. Internal security analysts may be looking for the first opportunity to leave and get paid more, often leveraging all the training you’ve just provided. In these modern times, switching jobs regularly is expected, with an average of only 3 years in each position. Considering how much it cost your business to acquire, train, and upskill your technician, 3 years is an unreasonable ROI. Our goals couldn’t be more different – we only aim to keep you a happy customer for as long as we can!

In the end, your business needs to find the right balance between profit and expertise. When you partner with our Managed security services, you’re securing availability, ever-increasing expertise, and commitment to your success. We work closely with you to provide the very best support and protect you from costly disasters, taking preemptive action to keep you safe and operational. There’s no doubt our Managed SIEM service is a better decision than building an in-house SOC, and we’d be delighted to prove it to you.

Learn more about Managed SIEM here. 

5 Malicious Yet Common Types of Malware

5 Malicious Yet Common Types of Malware

It’s important to understand the most common types of malware, so the more prepared your organization will be to fight against those threats. Read more about the common threats and how you can fight against them.  

common types of malware

There are many ways to protect your business from ransomware threats, here are the basics of malware to help you understand the threats to your organization.

Malware vs. Ransomware

We recently discussed the top 15 types of ransomware threats that we’ve seen this year, but what is the difference between malware and ransomware?

Malware is the general term for any program that is designed to damage, disrupt, or hack a device. Viruses and ransomware are malware.

Ransomware is malicious programs that block access to your device until you pay a ransom fee to its creator. It is often very difficult and expensive to remove.

What is Malware?

The term “virus” is often used to describe many different types of infection a computer might have.  Virus, when used as a blanket term, can describe any number of potential computer programs. What these programs have in common are they are typically designed to cause damage, steal data, or spread across the network.

Malware describes software designed to act maliciously on a personal computer.  The name ‘malware’ is a shorthand for ‘malicious software’ and describes exactly what it is. A computer virus is a single type of malware that can cause harm to your PC, but it is only one of many.

Common Types of Malware Include:

#1. Adware

Short for advertising-supported software, adware is a type of malware that delivers advertisements to your computer.  These advertisements are often intrusive, irritating, and often designed to trick you into clicking something you don’t want. A common example of malware is pop-up ads that appear on many websites and mobile applications.

Adware often comes bundled with “free” versions of software that uses these intrusive advertising to make up costs.  Commonly it is installed without the user’s knowledge and made excessively difficult to remove.

#2. Spyware

Spyware is designed to spy on the user’s activity without their knowledge or consent.  Often installed in the background, spyware can collect keyboard input, harvest data from the computer, monitor web activity, and more.

Spyware typically requires installation to the computer. This is commonly done by tricking users into installing spyware themselves instead of the software or application that they thought they were getting. Victims of spyware are often completely unaware of its presence until the data stolen is acted on in the form of fraudulent bank transactions or stolen online accounts.

#3. Virus

In technical terms a computer virus is a form of malware that is installed inadvertently, causing damage to the user.  A typical virus may install a keylogger to capture passwords, logins, and bank information from the keyboard.  It might steal data, interrupt programs, and cause the computer to crash.

Modern virus programs commonly use your computers processing power and internet bandwidth to perform tasks remotely for hackers.  The first sign of this can be when the computer sounds like it is doing a lot of work when no programs should be running. A computer virus is often spread through installing unknown software or downloading attachments that contain more than they seem.

#4. Ransomware

A particularly malicious variety of malware, known as ransomware, prevents the user from accessing their own files until a ransom is paid.  Files within the system are often encrypted with a password that won’t be revealed to the user until the full ransom is paid.

Instead of accessing the computer as normal, the user is presented with a screen that details the contact and payment information required to access their data again.

Ransomware is typically downloaded through malicious file attachments, email, or a vulnerability in the computer system.

#5. Worm

Among the most common type of malware, today is the computer worm.  Worms spread across computer networks by exploiting vulnerabilities within the operating system.  Often these programs cause harm to their host networks by consuming large amounts of network bandwidth, overloading computers, and using up all the available resources.

One of the key differences between worms and a regular virus is its ability to make copies of itself and spread independently.  A virus must rely on human activity to run a program or open a malicious attachment; worms can simply spread over the network without human intervention.

How to Protect Your Organization from Common Types of Malware

You can plan today for cybersecurity threats – here are the top threats we are prepping for.

We typically recommend taking it back to the basics – People, Process, and Technology when creating your security strategy. Our team uses the NIST Cybersecurity Foundation for any and all technology decisions – and we recommend this foundation to our clients as well.

pretect We have found that most threats fall under 4 main categories – advanced persistent threats, compromised endpoints, poor patch management, and technical vulnerabilities. Our PREtect service covers all these threats in one simple service. PREtect includes 24/7 managed SIEM, Managed Detection and Remediation (MDR), and Comprehensive vulnerability management. These three services cover the first four levels of NIST CSF – including Identify, Protect, Detect, and Respond.

Learn more about PRetect here: https://cybriant.com/pretect/

Now is also the perfect time of the year to schedule your security risk assessments, mobile security risk assessments, penetration tests, etc. Learn more about our assessment services here.

Security Training for All (Plus MDR)

People are the core of your business success. At the same time, they can also represent a real security threat. According to Experian, only 45% of companies have mandatory cybersecurity training.

Yet your staff needs to understand the many ways in which they can put your business at risk. IT can’t be the only team making cybersecurity a priority.

In educating employees about common types of malware:

  • Impress the importance of caution and questioning the source of any communication with links or attachments. Hovering over URLs can show where the link leads. Grammatical and spelling errors are often a red flag, too.
  • Require the use of MDR and consider 24/7 monitoring
  • Explain why you have an acceptable-use policy. Talk about what could happen if they decide to download that one app from the Web to their work device.
  • Warn them about installing random USB drives hoping to connect the stray device to its owner. Dropping thumb drive devices is a common way cybercriminals gain illicit access.
  • Emphasize the importance of physical security, too. A stolen unencrypted laptop or someone accessing an on-site computer can lead to a breach.
  • Provide them with a way to report suspicious emails, communications, and potential compromise.

Even after you’ve taken the above advice to educate employees, there are still risks. Some of these emails are very convincing. People are busy, working fast, tired, and overly trusting. Additionally, these particular scams are targeting our preoccupation and fears around the coronavirus. It only takes one bad click to breach your system, which is why we highly recommend an MDR service. 

Learn More About MDR

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