What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity or IT Security is implemented protection of a computer-based system, as well as the network infrastructure, to prevent the theft or damage of your companies hardware, software, or data, to mitigate the damage, disruption, or misdirection that a cyber network could face due to attacks or breaches.
Cyber Threats Your Organization Will Face
Modern cyberattacks come in many different forms. Many of today’s most effective attacks begin on a social level through Phishing and Spear Phishing campaigns, spam, ransomware, and insider threats to gain primary access to your operational network. These attempts typically begin at the very root of access with the user being misled into thinking they are updating a password or logging into the network using their priority-based credentials. The threat actor then will steal these credentials to be used to gain access and further disrupt your network using different kinds of attacks. To mitigate these intrusions, security measures and assessments must be carried out to train staff, detect these attempts, and stop the attacks before credentials are stolen.
The OWASP Top 10
The Open Web Application Security Project is an online community that produces articles, documentation, methodologies, tools, and technologies in the field of web application security. OWASP continually researches and updates the most widely used and effective attacks that could compromise your organization’s security and produces a list of resources for developers and analysts to look towards when analyzing an intrusion or attack. Currently, the top 10 web-based threats are:
- Injection. Injection flaws, such as SQL, NoSQL, OS, and LDAP injection, occur when untrusted data or information is sent to an interpreter during a command or query. The attacker’s hostile data then take advantage of the interpreter, by executing unintended commands or accessing data without proper authorization.
- Broken Authentication. When Application functions that use authentication and session management are implemented incorrectly, attackers will gain access to passwords, keys, or session tokens, or exploit other implementation flaws to assume users’ identities temporarily or permanently.
- Sensitive Data Exposure. Web applications and APIs do not properly protect sensitive data, such as financial, healthcare, and PII. Attackers may steal or modify this poorly protected data to conduct fraud, identity theft, and other identity-based crimes. Without extra protection such as encryption, sensitive data may be compromised both at rest or in transit and require special precautions to secure.
- XML External Entities (XXE) Poorly configured, or Legacy machine XML processors evaluate external entity references in XML documents. These entity references can be used to disclose internal files using the file URI handler, internal file sharing, internal port scanning, remote code execution, and denial of service attacks.
- Broken Access Control. Specific restrictions on what authorized users can do and access are often not properly implemented or policed. Attackers can exploit these weaknesses to gain access to unauthorized functionality or data, granting access to users’ accounts, the ability to view sensitive files, modify other users’ data, and change access rights.
- Security Misconfiguration. Security misconfiguration is the most typically assessed issue. Misconfiguration is a common result of non-secure default configurations, incomplete or improvised configurations, open cloud storage, misconfigured HTTP headers, and detailed error messages that contain sensitive information. To mitigate this issue, all operating systems, frameworks, libraries, and applications must be securely configured and must be patched/upgraded regularly.
- Insecure Deserialization. Insecure deserialization may give a pathway for attackers to execute remote code execution as well as mount attacks such as replay attacks, injection attacks, and privilege escalation attacks.
- Using Components with Known Vulnerabilities. Components, such as libraries, and frameworks run with the same privileges as the application. If a vulnerable component is exploited, serious data loss or server takeover is a possibility. APIs and applications that use components with known vulnerabilities may undermine application defenses and enable various attacks and impacts.
- Insufficient Logging & Monitoring. Insufficient logging and monitoring, along with missing or ineffective integration with incident response methodology, allows attackers to continually attack systems persistently, pivot to additional systems, and extract, manipulate or destroy data.
Other Types of Attacks
Malware – Malicious software installed on a computer can leak personal information, can give control of the system to the attacker, and can delete data permanently.
Web-based Attacks – These vulnerabilities represent many of the security threats of computer networks. These browser-based threats typically stem from malware programs that can target and infect the user’s computer when they’re on the internet
Denial of Service (DoS) – Attacks that are designed to make a machine or network unavailable to its users.
Botnet – Several Internet-connected devices that run multiple bots. These Botnets can perform Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks and automatically steal data, allowing the attacker to access both the machine or application and its connection to the network.
Phishing – The attempt to gain access to sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and banking credentials directly from individuals by coercing them through deceptive means and social engineering.
Spamming – The use of social media or messaging systems or apps to send an unsolicited message to large numbers of recipients for any prohibited purpose
Ransomware – A type of malware that leverages the victim’s data by threatening to publish personal information or completely block access to a system unless a ransom is paid to the attacker.
Insider threat – A malicious threat to an organization attempted from those within the organization, such as former employees, employees, contractors, or other business associates, who have damaging or otherwise leverageable inside information about the organization’s data, security, or computer systems.
Physical Damage – The theft, loss, or otherwise compromising of the physical assets of an organization or company.
Best-Practice Defense of your System begins with a Plan
Defining threats and understanding the need for well-defined and easily implementable solutions for cybersecurity isn’t just a daunting task, but also requires conscious, specific, and informed decisions based on operational business objectives, compliance requirements, and specific need. Unlike many industries, there is no one size fits all answer to this question, and as such there should not be any one-sized fits all answer.
For Cybersecurity to be effective, a deep analysis of your security posture, network architecture, and staff needs to be explored so that proper identification of risks and threat assessment can be utilized when building or evolving your cybersecurity perimeter as a baseline.
After a full picture of your operation is indeed mapped out, professional and proven implementation of these specific tools and procedures based around best-practice governance and requirements must be properly utilized, managed, and maintained for optimum maximization of use of those tools.
How Implementing Effective and Advanced Cybersecurity Will Protect Your Data
Effective and robust cybersecurity aids in the protection of sensitive data, personally identifiable information (PII), personal health information (PHI), intellectual property (IP), data, and federal and corporate information systems from breach, theft, and damage. If your operation does not have a focused and well-implemented cybersecurity perimeter, your business is at a higher risk of incurring a damaging attack. The cost of this type of attack comes in multiple forms for your business, as the theft of your corporate IP, disruption of system access, compliance failure, and repair and remediation costs will economically and strategically impact your business and reputation.
Implementing a well-tuned and robust security protocol and methodology will greatly enhance your ability to mitigate and resolve these attacks before they have a chance to affect your operations.
Security by design
Security by design relates to security software that has been designed from its inception to be secure. Some of the techniques in this approach include the principle of least privilege, automated theorem proving, code reviews and unit testing, defense in depth, strong default security settings, audit trails, and full disclosure of all vulnerabilities through an audit or deep analysis.
Security architecture in IT is defined as “The design artifacts that describe how security controls and countermeasures are positions and implemented, and how they relate to the overall IT architecture. These controls serve to maintain a system’s quality control – integrity, availability, confidentiality, assurance services, and accountability”.
Threat prevention, detection, and response, and mitigation describe the processes involved in successful security prevention in cybersecurity. This protocol and detection process is based on policies and system components generally leveraged in the system to protect your assets. Some standard components and policies include:
Cryptography and Access Controls protect your system data and files from access
Firewalls – The most common security system implemented in a network. Firewalls protect access to internal services on the network by blocking unwanted attacks through packet filtering.
IDS (Intrusion Detection Systems) – Security products that detect in-progress network attacks and assist in forensics, auditing, and logging insecure events and intrusions into a network, logging the incident and details of the attack to resolve the breach.
Response and Mitigation – a defined course of action that will assist in defending against and resolving breaches and attacks. An important portion of response and mitigation is learning from the attack so that your system admin can anticipate further attacks and defend more effectively against them.
Machine Learning – Used to analyze the details and data-based around and attack so that detection of these and advanced persistent threats can be more effectively prevented.
The Basic Structure of Managing Vulnerability
Protecting the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of a system is the major goal for cybersecurity. To successfully secure these main attributes, proper analysis of the system to determine vulnerability across the system is necessary. Under the blanket of analysis-based vulnerability mitigation, a protocol of management and best-practice analytical mitigation is implemented to determine a course of resolution and best-of-breed defense posture.
Vulnerability management describes a cycle of identification, remediation, and the mitigation of security vulnerabilities, specifically in software. Weaknesses in a system’s perimeter can be discovered with vulnerability scanning software, which performs specific analytical functions while scanning a system for insecure hardware and software configurations and susceptibilities to attack. Affective use of these software management tools is aided by update and maintenance to keep current on specific threats as they enter the threat lexicon. Many organizations contract independent security companies to run thorough and exhaustive vulnerability and penetration testing analysis on a network to determine their susceptibility to more creative and less easily detected attack vehicles.
Reducing vulnerabilities – Remediating vulnerabilities is at the center of the cybersecurity mission, integrating modern and multi-tiered verification efforts to help secure a network through secure user identification. Methods such as user authentication, end-user training against social engineering, and persistently installing and maintaining your security posture through upgrading security patches, and when possible, hiring a team of cybersecurity professionals or independent contractors to continually monitor your system.
Two Factor Authentication – A method of protecting your system by authenticating users through multiple avenues based on predetermined protocols. Typically, the end-user will have to enter their secure login credentials, as well as use another piece of secure hardware such as an authorization code sent to a mobile device to verify the user. This increases security, as an adversary would be required to have both pieces of authentication to gain access.
End-User Security Training – As social engineering to attain direct access to a system is the most common type of cyberattack, these types of attack can only be prevented through making the end-user aware of the tactics and manipulation that bad-actors will use to deceive end users into unknowingly supply their log-in credentials to an attack. Inoculation training attempts to inform end-users on the manipulation and persuasion attempts used to expose sensitive information to attacks and instills knowledge of typical social situations and persuasive techniques to be wary of.
Protecting a Network with Hardware
In modern network computing, hardware typically is not the first target for attackers, as most malicious threats are delivered remotely, and typically cannot be installed on remote network hardware locations. To this end, hardware-based authentication methods such as using security FOBS, Trusted Platform Modules, drive locks, hardware port disabling, and mobile-based authentication is implemented due to the difficulty required to take control, and the sophistication of the algorithms that are encoded in the devices.
Securing Operating Systems
Securing an operating system refers to any technology or methodology that will secure a specific operating system from attack. The protection of the operating system has been one of the major tenets of cybersecurity since its inception. Even though standards have changed and evolved since the 1980’s release of the “Orange Book” standards by the Department of Defense, an awareness of the vulnerabilities of your operating system continues to be paramount.
In the modern security environment, operating systems are required to be vetted by formal verification requirement testing before they ever reach your network. This certification process secures the operating system using both internal hardware-based solutions and software built into the architecture that prevents vulnerabilities.
Secure Coding – Secure Coding is a specific software engineering design that protects against the unintentional introduction of vulnerabilities into your system. This coding methodology attempts to formally verify the correctness of the algorithms that govern a system’s functions
Access Control Lists – Security Models that enforce privilege separation are known as capability-based security, and Access control lists (ACLs). These access control tools determine what a user can and cannot access in a system, and grant permissions based on the credentials of a user. When properly implemented and augmented with proper capability and utilities, these controls will limit access to the operating systems through hardcoded and refined programming at the language level.
Digital Hygiene – A fundamental in information security that establishes routine actions and measures that will inherently minimize the end-user introduction of security threats. Good digital hygiene reduces the opportunity for attackers to find access to a specific node on a network, forcing them to redefine their attack perimeter. If all end users continually, and constantly integrate best-practice security standards into their daily routine, the chance of vulnerability is greatly reduced, as proper security protocol is observed and applied daily.
Identity and Access Management (IAM) – The IT security practice of enabling the right system users to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons. IAM addresses the need to safeguard appropriate access levels to resources across multi-tier technology environments, and to meet regulatory and compliance requirements. IAM implementation is critical to successful enterprise risk management. It must align to the mission, business need, not just technical expertise. Organizations that develop robust IAM capabilities can improve their cyber hygiene and reduce data breaches eliminating weak passwords, mitigating insider threats, managing anomalous activity, and supporting multi-factor authentication methods.
Incident Response Planning and Methodology
Incident Response is an organized and analytical approach to managing and addressing remediation protocols after a breach or attack has occurred. This methodology uses the analysis of successful or damaging attacks to prevent breaches through developing protocols for a robust defense. Incident response planning establishes best-practices and resolves or defends against an intrusion before damage can be done to the system. These protocols include an outline of the proper response techniques that can be followed in an organized fashion that will define the roles and responsibilities of those attempts to mitigate the attack. There are four key processes for a typical Cybersecurity Incident Response Plan.
Preparation – creation, and refinement of procedures that relate to mitigation and prevention methodology proven to be successful against attacks.
Detection and Analysis – Identification and analysis of possible threat-based activities to confirm an incident and analyze its impact on your system.
Containment, Eradication, and System Recovery – Containing and isolated threatened systems in order limit damage, identifying the point of origin of the incident, and remediating the disturbance through removing malware and login breaches from the network, and finally restoring full functionality after the threat is removed.
Post-Incident Analysis – An analytical review of the breach or incident, how it was caused, and how the organization responded to the attack. This data and understanding are used to improve the response plan and install further defensive measures based on active threats.
Cycurion Cybersecurity Core Principles
Cycurion implements a best-in-breed analytical cyber-defense-based approach to promote resilience. We use anticipation-based security protocols as we understand that threats are not only likely, by typically pending for nearly every type of business or organization that lives in a digital environment.
Cycurion promotes and integrates an end-to-end cybersecurity framework-based solutions that stringently comply with ISO security standards and frameworks, Regulatory standards and compliance measures, and other proven and required security protocols that will secure your digital assets. We view security from a holistic standpoint, intentional in its approach and integration, keeping confidentiality, integrity, availability, accountability as the guiding principles of this security posture.