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The 2019 Threat Report produced by Sophos provides an in-depth analysis of key cyber-attack trends. Here are some key highlights:

  • Prepare for ransomware attacks:The report analyses ransomware attacks (e.g. WannaCry, Dharma and SamSam) and argues that the worst manual ransomware attacks started when “the attacker discovered that an administrator had opened a hole in the firewall for a Windows computer’s remote desktop”. Using multi-factor authentication (MFA) and limiting the use of domain admin credentials to dedicated machine(s) are effective tools to prevent ransomware. We also suggest developing an incident response plan (IRP), testing it, and training staff who need to know about it. 
  • Attacks via IoT devices: There has been significant growth in the numbers of attacks targeting IoT devices. Simple measures such as changing the default passwords to prevent reinfection is key as attacks targeting IoT devices are not slowing down.
  • Practise the fundamentals: The report emphasises the importance of returning to the basics. This includes using of password manager and multi factor authentication where available. Do not store passwords in plain text. Be mindful of clicking on unknown links or opening unknown files or messages. Be careful of what you store in "the cloud".

Data Breach 2

IBM sponsored the 13th annual cost of a Data Breach study, the industry’s gold-standard benchmark research, which was independently conducted by Ponemon Institute. The infographic depicts some of the key findings.

infographics

If you are currently working to strengthen your security posture against any data breach scenarios, we would love to get involved! Reach out to our friendly cyber security team of advisors: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Application whitelisting is the practise of specifying an index of approved software applications to run on a computer system. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (Australian Government’s lead on national cyber security) categorises application whitelisting as one of the eight essential cyber risk mitigation strategies. 

Having an application whitelisting strategy is crucial for any organisation. The goal of whitelisting is to protect computers and networks from potentially harmful applications by not allowing attackers to place their own executables on the system or replace known good executables with compromised ones. Application whitelisting also prevents zero-day attacks by not allowing execution of any untrusted applications. 

Thus, having the right application whitelisting tool in place is key to prevent running of non-trusted applications. Some well-known commercial whitelisting solutions include Airlock Digital, McAfree and Digital Guardian. AppLocker, gatekeeper and Logstash are some of the free tools available for application whitelisting.

application whitelisting

Password security remains one of the most neglected topics in the cyber world. Despite increasing awareness in this space, there are still a number of people using ‘1234546’ or ‘password’ to secure their account! Here are a few basic tips for the general public to strengthen your passwords:

  • Avoid predictability: Use nonsense phrases instead of words. Avoid personal information such as name, DOB, anniversary or a pet name. This can significantly enhance the password strength by making it difficult to crack.
  • Decrease reliance on the browser: Even though companies such as Google have taken steps to improve password security of their browsers, still most of the browsers don’t promote good password hygiene. One of these practices include ‘auto-filling’ whereby one stores his/her username and password on the browser, for an instant click and log in. Decreasing dependence on the browser can help reduce the chances of a password breach.
  • Use a password manager: It is not ideal to use the same passwords on multiple platforms. A password manager gives you the flexibility to be creative with your password phrases and you don't have to remember all of them. Typically, all stored passwords are encrypted, and you just need one master password to access all the passwords.

password

Privasec team was in Melbourne this week at the Australian Utility Week Conference.

Privasec's COO, Karan Khosla gave a panel session on the risks around moving to the cloud and our Senior Security Consultant James Cristofaro delivered a presentation on behind-the-meter devices and how to mitigate threats with defence in depth.

A special thanks to the Australian Utility Week team for arranging another fantastic event.

UItility Week