Even in today’s threat climate, many organizations lack the skill sets, processes and tools they need to protect their IT infrastructure. Most have implemented basic solutions, but few have an overarching cybersecurity strategy. They aren’t sure where to begin.
As organizations begin to develop a cybersecurity campaign, they should look at three core areas: vulnerability scanning, architecture and detection methods, and rapid detection and response. They work together to identify vulnerabilities and defend against cyberattacks.
Unpatched systems have known vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit in a cyberattack. Given the large number of patches and bug fixes, however, many organizations are struggling to keep their systems up-to-date. Vulnerability scanning helps reduce the window of risk after a patch has been published by prioritizing high-risk vulnerabilities over noncritical issues.
The first step is assessment, which has four components:
- Attack surface mapping provides a high-level view of the attack vectors that could be used to penetrate the network.
- Asset discovery helps IT staff understand all the devices in the environment.
- Internal and external scanning checks for vulnerabilities in devices, software, websites, etc.
- A hardware and software inventory helps IT teams maintain the organization’s security posture.
Next comes prioritization. Threats are prioritized based upon the common vulnerability scoring system (CVSS), which applies threat flags based upon the risk associated with various attack vectors. Asset criticality and risk rating identifies which assets need to be patched immediately based upon the types of vulnerabilities a hacker might be able to penetrate.
In the remediation phase, recommendations are made for resolving vulnerabilities and plan developed for installing patches. Tasks are assigned to IT personnel and tracked through a ticketing system. Predefined and customized reporting helps both the business and IT assess remediation efforts.
Architecture and Detection Methods
An effective cybersecurity system has many moving parts. Sensors should be placed strategically throughout the environment to provide full visibility into the network and the devices accessing it. The sensors should perform deep packet inspection, session reassembly and data normalization, passing the most important information to a cloud-based analytics engine that uses artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and statistical algorithms. AI enables very fast detection and adapts to changes quickly while ML is able to identify bad behavior caused by common attack tools. Statistical analysis reduces false positives. Seemingly vulnerable servers known as “honey pots” are used to lure hackers away from real IT assets and to gather information about attacks.
Rapid Detection and Response
When a cyberattack does occur, detection involves determining where the intruder has been and what the intruder has done, while response involves removing the intruder from the network and cleaning up and restoring affected systems and compromised accounts. Different categories of expertise are involved in these efforts:
- Threat hunters try to discover something suspicious then collect evidence to verify that it is. When a real incident is discovered it’s given a priority. High-priority alerts are generated when there’s a strong indication of an ongoing breach, while noncritical cases are tracked and monitored.
- Incident respondents are assigned more complex cases and also assist on a range of technical and nontechnical issues.
- Forensic experts are tasked with the most difficult cases. They perform internal network triage to determine the source of an attack and deep reverse engineering of unique malware examples. This enables them to detect the most advanced nation-state attacks.
Few organizations have this kind of expertise in-house, or the staff resources needed to monitor and manage cybersecurity systems. Rahi Systems can help close these gaps, and develop a cybersecurity strategy that protects against today’s threats.
Rahi Systems is an F-Secure partner with expertise in cybersecurity. Let us show you how these solutions can help protect your organization against cyber threats.