According to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), cyber criminals are now targeting outdated VPNs (virtual private networks), and work-at-home staff and remote employees. You can read the alert HERE.

“As organizations elect to implement telework, CISA encourages organizations to adopt a heightened state of cybersecurity,” the advisory reads. Organizations using virtual private networks (VPN) for telework must be aware that hackers are searching for and targeting vulnerabilities, the alert said. “As VPNs are 24/7, organizations are less likely to keep them updated with the latest security updates and patches.”

CISA’s alert urges teleworkers to be aware that malicious cyber actors may increase phishing emails to steal their usernames and passwords. It also warns that organizations not using multi-factor authentication (MFA) for remote access are more susceptible to phishing attacks. In addition, CISA points out that organizations may have a limited number of VPN connections and beyond that must not allow other employees to telework. “With decreased availability, critical business operations may suffer, including IT security personnel’s ability to perform cybersecurity tasks,” the alert said.

“There are nation-states that are actively taking advantage of the situation, particularly our Cold War adversaries, and we need to be keenly aware that they are aware of the lack of security that is presented by everyone telecommuting,” Tom Kellermann, who heads VMware Carbon Black’s cybersecurity strategy, told The Hill..

CISA is urging businesses to implement the following recommendations if considering telework options:

  • Update VPNs, network infrastructure devices, and devices being used to remote into work environments with the latest software patches and security configurations.
  • Alert employees to an expected increase in phishing attempts.
  • Implement MFA on all VPN connections to increase security. If MFA is not implemented, require teleworkers to use strong passwords.
  • Contact CISA to report incidents, phishing, malware, and other cybersecurity concerns.

Security provider Check Point also offered these best practices for your business’ telework force. “This guide should serve as a starting point for businesses whether their apps and data are stored in data centers, public clouds or within SaaS applications,” the security specialist wrote in a blog post.

  1. Trust no-one: Understand who has access to what information, segmenting your users and making sure that you authenticate them with multi-factor authentication.
  2. Every endpoint needs attention: Think ahead about how to handle the threats posed by data leakage, attacks propagating from devices into your network, and ensure that the overall security of the devices are sufficient.
  3. Define your data: Identify, specify and label sensitive data to prepare policies to ensure that only the appropriate people can access it.
  4. Segment your workforce: Audit current policies for access and sharing of different types of data. Reevaluate your security policies and team segmentation within your business.

by DH Kass • Mar 18, 2020 on

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