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12/18/2020
10:40 AM
Jai Vijayan
Jai Vijayan
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5 Key Takeaways From the SolarWinds Breach

New details continue to emerge each day, and there may be many more lessons to learn from what could be among the largest cyberattacks ever.
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Remote Monitoring and Management Tools Are an Attack Vector

The SolarWinds incident shows how remote monitoring and management (RMM) tools present an attractive attack vector, says Eran Farajun, executive vice president at Asgira. Many managed service providers use RMM tools to monitor client networks, endpoints, and devices. SolarWinds has thousands of MSPs as its customers; together, they have hundreds of thousands of clients among them.

RMM tools require an agent to be installed on client servers, hypervisors, workstations, networking devices, laptops, and other mobile endpoints, which give them deep access into enterprise networks. "RMM agents/probes normally have OS and below level access," Farajun says. A variety of agents monitor things such as patch and version levels, and hardware performance issues including CPU, memory, fan speeds, and other functions. "These agents/probes are normally not well protected, if at all," Farajun says.

When MSPs use their RMM platform with tightly integrated backup solutions, it provides a single access point for attackers to target dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of organizations, he notes. "One of the best practices is to ensure your most important tools are 'app-gapped,' which means they are not integrated into a common platform, which, if compromised, enables the attackers to use it as a proxy to traverse any other tightly integrated application within a platform," he says.

Image credit: Mr.B-king via Shutterstock

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