Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

12/19/2007
02:00 AM
50%
50%

Putting Up Your Cyber Defenses

It's time to start thinking about protecting your systems - and your employees - in the event of attacks from foreign entities

Earlier this month, I participated in network TV coverage on the massive cyber attacks on U.S. government facilities. The number of attacks – more than 1,100 – seems staggering, but actually is relatively small, given the potential of increasingly well funded attackers and ever more sophisticated technology.

The U.S. nuclear labs are some of the best-protected government facilities in the country, and any penetration is dangerous. Even the theft of employee information might lead an agency worker into giving up state secrets for some of the most lethal technology that exists in the world.

The recent series of attacks is only one of several incidents like this that I've been informed about in the last few months. It appears that such exploits are both becoming more sophisticated and much more successful. Let's look at how these attacks are evolving, and what you can do about them.

Well Financed Attackers
At a security briefing a few months ago, I was lectured on the increasing level of sophistication in both technology and software. In some countries of Eastern Europe, it is legal to create sophisticated hacking tools – and some of the best ones are coming out of that region now with full warranty support.

The governments of these Eastern European countries see their lack of controls as free commerce, but to me, when one government enables its citizens to attack and destroy the financial well-being of businesses and citizens under another government, that’s war – regardless of what name we actually put on it. It is well past time we started stepping up to what this means in terms of defense.

A Disturbing Trend
Over the course of this year, I've been briefed on several attacks on private companies. In one case that lasted almost a year, the attacker ended up with full access to all of the correspondence between top executives and a massive amount of insider information. I'm still not sure what the bad guys did with the data, but clearly, the attackers' efforts to phish for employee personal and financial information were massively successful. These guys had enough data to credibly threaten the financial stability of any employee, including the CEO.

If you think that's scary, remember that the recent attacks on government facilities could have led to the data required to create weapons of mass destruction. Attackers are getting much bolder, and are feeling secure that they cannot be caught or punished – even if they go after highly protected government sites.

The good news is that it isn't hard to prevent this sort of attack. Make employees aware that they will not get requests from IT for passwords or confidential information. Make sure the TPM in their computers is turned on and properly used, so they can trust the connections they have. Make them aware of the places that they can go to both input information legitimately and to report and find out about electronic attacks.

Getting Physical
While cyber attacks are in vogue, there have been several instances this month in which gunmen appeared in a place of business. It is well past time to teach employees how to protect themselves physically as well as electronically. Just some simple rules could help employees stay safe in a dangerous situation.

I’m not talking about arms training here – just some guidelines to follow when employees see something that doesn’t look right. Often, an alert employee can see something that others might not – if he knows what to look for and what to do about it.

— Rob Enderle is President and Founder of Enderle Group . Special to Dark Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
News
FluBot Malware's Rapid Spread May Soon Hit US Phones
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/28/2021
Slideshows
7 Modern-Day Cybersecurity Realities
Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  4/30/2021
Commentary
How to Secure Employees' Home Wi-Fi Networks
Bert Kashyap, CEO and Co-Founder at SecureW2,  4/28/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-31828
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-06
An SSRF issue in Open Distro for Elasticsearch (ODFE) before 1.13.1.0 allows an existing privileged user to enumerate listening services or interact with configured resources via HTTP requests exceeding the Alerting plugin's intended scope.
CVE-2020-18888
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-06
Arbitrary File Deletion vulnerability in puppyCMS v5.1 allows remote malicious attackers to delete the file/folder via /admin/functions.php.
CVE-2020-18890
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-06
Rmote Code Execution (RCE) vulnerability in puppyCMS v5.1 due to insecure permissions, which could let a remote malicious user getshell via /admin/functions.php.
CVE-2021-31793
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-06
An issue exists on NightOwl WDB-20-V2 WDB-20-V2_20190314 devices that allows an unauthenticated user to gain access to snapshots and video streams from the doorbell. The binary app offers a web server on port 80 that allows an unauthenticated user to take a snapshot from the doorbell camera via the ...
CVE-2021-31916
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-06
An out-of-bounds (OOB) memory write flaw was found in list_devices in drivers/md/dm-ioctl.c in the Multi-device driver module in the Linux kernel before 5.12. A bound check failure allows an attacker with special user (CAP_SYS_ADMIN) privilege to gain access to out-of-bounds memory leading to a syst...