It’s no secret that 2020 has been chaotic for the cybersecurity industry. In a very short period of time, COVID-19 completely upended the way most people live and work. To reduce virus transmission, companies, agencies, and organizations rushed to accommodate remote work environments. This forced a rapid digital transformation across a wide range of industries, creating new vulnerabilities and gaps in network security.
Cybercriminals have seized this opportunity and have significantly increased the volume of lodged attacks, exploiting the health crisis to launch an unprecedented number of attacks on industries across the board. From critical infrastructure, to healthcare, to education and everywhere in between, businesses and public sector agencies are falling victim to a seemingly endless parade of breach attempts.During this time of heightened risk corporate leadership must take action to ensure that their cybersecurity infrastructure is capable of safeguarding against some of the most advanced cyber threats the world has ever experienced. While the concept of establishing a virtual castle that can withstand the seemingly endless list of active threats may feel like an insurmountable feat, it doesn’t have to be.
It’s nearly impossible to predict and prepare for every possible attack scenario, and it’s ineffective to try. Most of the ransomware incidents reported in the first half of this year can be attributed to a handful of intrusion vectors. Unfortunately, they have been successful because organizations were not equipped with adequate defenses to prevent initial intrusion and subsequent lateral attacks.
So, where do I start?
Up-leveling your overall cybersecurity posture doesn’t have to mean overhauling an entire existing infrastructure. In fact, several of the most common intrusion tactics of 2020 could be stopped by adding a singular solution to your exsiting cyber defense ecosystem.
EdgeGuard from Blue Ridge Networks addresses the needs of our increasingly mobile workforce by protecting critical enterprise operations from potential malicious software on untrusted and unverified endpoint devices. We created this innovative solution to empower employees working outside of the office to easily and securely access company resources in the cloud, data center, or corporate offices – turning any device into a trusted terminal.
Three of the most popular intrusion methods since the beginning of the pandemic include unsecured RDP endpoints, email phishing and the exploitation of corporate VPN appliances. We’ll walk you through each scenario, and how EdgeGuard can help eliminate the chance of attack.
Remote Desktop Protocol
Remote Desktop Protocol, or RPD, has been widely cited as the most popular intrusion vector and source of most ransomware incidents in 2020. An RPD attack allows hackers to gain access to Windows computers from afar, and remotely install ransomware and other destructive malware.
With EdgeGuard, advanced isolation and containment features establish a secure and virtually invisible connection to the corporate network. This drastically reduces the possibility of an RPD attack or any network breach. The trusted connection ensures that no data from the user system can cross over to the “trusted” network, and no enterprise data can be exfiltrated to the user system. When the EdgeGuard token is removed, the computer is returned to its original state leaving no trace of the connection.
Capitalizing on the widespread fear, uncertainty and misinformation regarding the coronavirus, malicious cyber actors have taken to “spoofing” sender information to appear as if it was sent from a trustworthy source. With aliases that mimic the World Health Organization, Center for Disease Control or high profile doctors, hackers are sending emails in mass that contain links or attachments which automatically deploy ransomware or malware files.
Deploying EdgeGuard isolates Internet activity, prevents the transfer of malware to the corporate network and blocks data leakage. This allows employees to securely browse the internet via a protected, secure tunnel. EdgeGuard even protects against incoming threats if employees access the internet via workarounds to bypass sites potentially harmful sites which are often blocked by firewalls, such as social media.
Exploitation of VPN Appliances
In a typical office, devices connect to the corporate network automatically and employees don’t have to give much thought to how they access the corporate network. When working remotely, many organizations require that their employees connect to the company network via VPN appliances to increase security outside of the protected confines of the office. Unfortunately, hackers have identified vulnerabilities and opportunities to exploit VPN appliances and leverage them as an entry point into corporate networks.
EdgeGuard starts working before a secure VPN session is even initiated, by pre-provisioning users and automatically authenticating and isolating wired and wireless remote access channels. This measure ensures that only approved users can access protected corporate networks, and limits exposure to malware, data theft and piggyback penetration of the enterprise through an unauthorized and unprotected tunnel.
What’s the bottom line?
In today’s heightened threat climate there are millions of ways for cybercriminals to breach your network, and they’re working around the clock to develop tactics that can evade detection solutions. At the same time, there are countless opportunities for employees to inadvertently create vulnerabilities or download malware that could devastate your business.
Before getting overwhelmed by this incredible cybersecurity challenge, take a step back and remember that the solution may not be as complex as you think. Implementing towards a zero-trust cybersecurity strategy and defense-in-depth infrastructure will not only protect you and your employees during this ongoing health crisis, but with whatever challenges arise in the future. Even when your employees use systems that aren’t IT controlled, EdgeGuard can be employed to stop threats and prevent valuable documents from being exfiltrated.
Reach out to our team of experts to learn more about EdgeGuard, or to ask any questions about enhancing your cybersecurity infrastructure during one of the most high-volume threat years to date.