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Risk

8/14/2020
11:00 AM
Steve Zurier
Steve Zurier
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7 Ways to Keep Your Remote Workforce Safe

These tips will help you chart a course for a security strategy that just may become part of the normal way organizations will function over the next several years.
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Reassess How the Company Manages VPN and RDP Connections
Dan Petro, a lead researcher at Bishop Fox, says it's unrealistic for companies with 1,000 or more remote workers to run VPN connections out to all those employees. Rather, security teams need to reassess how they manage virtual private networks, he says. For example, only five or 10 HR people need access to the HR data, and only another slice may need financial or access to source code. Petro says the pandemic has forced security teams to more effectively organize their VPN connections, which in the long run will make their networks more efficient and, thus, more secure.
Matt Gayford, principal consultant at the Crypsis Group, says while Remote Desk Protocol (RDP) sessions let employees rapidly access their organizations' resources, they are not without risk. There's no silver bullet to prevent RDP attacks, but businesses can employ defense-in-depth strategies to deliver the best security posture possible. Companies should implement controls at each step in the remote work process, starting from the connection. They should use VPNs that use multifactor authentication (MFA) to protect the point of access. MFA, used in combination with a VPN, can help protect the account from a brute-force or credential reuse attack.
As for other tips on locking down RDP sessions, Gayford advises the enforcement of strong password and lockout policies. Threat actors are known to launch automated attacks via guessing passwords in sequence, known as brute-force attacks. Adopting a strong password policy can reduce the risk of a successful brute-force attack. Also, only allow RDP connections on devices that require them. Many organizations choose to enable RDP on all devices, but doing so exponentially increases the attack surface. Finally, attackers are constantly sweeping the Internet for devices where the standard RDP port (3389) remains open. Changing to a different port prevents your organization from showing up on default port sweeps.
Image Source: Adobe Stock: Putilov_denis

Reassess How the Company Manages VPN and RDP Connections

Dan Petro, a lead researcher at Bishop Fox, says it's unrealistic for companies with 1,000 or more remote workers to run VPN connections out to all those employees. Rather, security teams need to reassess how they manage virtual private networks, he says. For example, only five or 10 HR people need access to the HR data, and only another slice may need financial or access to source code. Petro says the pandemic has forced security teams to more effectively organize their VPN connections, which in the long run will make their networks more efficient and, thus, more secure.

Matt Gayford, principal consultant at the Crypsis Group, says while Remote Desk Protocol (RDP) sessions let employees rapidly access their organizations' resources, they are not without risk. There's no silver bullet to prevent RDP attacks, but businesses can employ defense-in-depth strategies to deliver the best security posture possible. Companies should implement controls at each step in the remote work process, starting from the connection. They should use VPNs that use multifactor authentication (MFA) to protect the point of access. MFA, used in combination with a VPN, can help protect the account from a brute-force or credential reuse attack.

As for other tips on locking down RDP sessions, Gayford advises the enforcement of strong password and lockout policies. Threat actors are known to launch automated attacks via guessing passwords in sequence, known as brute-force attacks. Adopting a strong password policy can reduce the risk of a successful brute-force attack. Also, only allow RDP connections on devices that require them. Many organizations choose to enable RDP on all devices, but doing so exponentially increases the attack surface. Finally, attackers are constantly sweeping the Internet for devices where the standard RDP port (3389) remains open. Changing to a different port prevents your organization from showing up on default port sweeps.

Image Source: Adobe Stock: Putilov_denis

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harrysonphord
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harrysonphord,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/18/2020 | 8:06:28 AM
Re: Encrypting sensitive information before sending it to the cloud
Found a few useful tips but nothing new, actually.
Shih-Chin Yang
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Shih-Chin Yang,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/18/2020 | 1:24:22 AM
Encrypting sensitive information before sending it to the cloud
Great Article! Constantly educating the workforce about cybersecurity is key to success.

We also constantly tell our workforce to always encrypt sensitive information before sending it to the cloud. The email itself is not secure for protecting sensitive information. Even though cloud storage services providers such as Google Drive, One Drive, DropBox are convenient to use, but for sensitive data, it worths adding an extra layer of protection by client-side encryption.

A successful intranet site makes data constantly available 24x7, it is really great for a remote workforce. Imagine that you need to look up lab data when other colleagues are not around.  On the other hand, if you host an intranet site on the cloud, it is not really a good idea without end-to-end encryption. Since the staff at cloud service providers could potentially see your data if you don't encrypt with your own key. Your data could be the lifeboat for your organization.

The recently hacked Twitter is a good example of how the internal threats inside cloud service providers could possibly cause a data breach. That's why Senator Ron Wyden also called for Twitter to end-to-end encrypt DMs after the hack.

When encryption is done right, it would improve productivity, together with modern cloud services and web technology, it is very cost-effective.

Hopefully, this helps.

Shih-Chin Yang
ccie8030
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ccie8030,
User Rank: Author
8/14/2020 | 11:35:44 AM
User security education
Great suggestions in this article, I believe user security awareness training should be incorporated throughout the process.  
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