“Is that what you’re going to say to the auditor?”

Today’s tale from the trench is brought to you by Brad Schwab, Senior Security Solutions Consultant.

 

In the high-stakes world of security operations, one question looms larger than most: Are you sure you’re scanning the entire network? It seems straightforward, but for any team dealing with a network of significant scale, answering this question can be a daunting task.

During a pivotal meeting with stakeholders of a large health organization, the focus was squarely on the performance and security of the network. As discussions turned to the scanning program, the head of security operations confidently outlined the procedures in place to ensure comprehensive scanning—scanning that covered the entire network. Wait, scanning that covered the entire network? This is when my skepticism crept in.

“How do you know you’re scanning the entire network?” I interjected, addressing the elephant in the room. The head of security operations deflected to the head of network operations, claiming his assurance. “[Head of network operations] said I could…” she asserted.

Turning to the head of network operations, I couldn’t resist a quip: “Is that what you’re going to say to the auditor? ‘He said I could’?” Though we shared a solid working relationship, I couldn’t let such a critical issue slide with mere assurance. And it was clear that the others in the room shared my same concerns.

With a blend of humor and seriousness, I delved into the complexities and uncertainties inherent in ensuring comprehensive network scanning. Questions rained down from the attendees, making it clear that a deeper exploration of their scanning protocols was necessary to instill confidence in the organization’s security measures. I began to outline critical considerations:

  • Does the scanner have a complete list of all IP space on the network that needs scanned?
  • Are there any overlapping subnets? If so, that overlapped portion of a subnet is not visible to the scanner, thus, creating a possible hiding place for a bad actor.
  • Is there a duplicate IP space in the network? This creates blind spots to any scanner.
  • And finally, the hard part of the answer, does the scanner have logical access to the entire network? Even if the scanner is trying to scan a network subnet, if the network architecture via Access Control Lists and Routing is blocking the access or not granting the access, the scan won’t be complete. On top of that, you will get no indication from the scanner that the scan didn’t work.

Beyond the logical access issue, no one had thought about the other issues. I then explained how RedSeal automatically looks for subnets that have no scan data, thus possibly not part of the IP list giving to the scanner. Also, overlapping subnets and colliding IP space is revealed as a RedSeal finding. Finally, I also explained how a RedSeal Access Query combined with our “show what is missing” feature can give you a list of everything that the scanner can’t reach because of network architecture.

I ended my explanation with “these features will give you comprehensive documentation of complete scanner coverage for your upcoming audit(s)…”

After less than a few days of work, we had provided a list to both network operations and security operations of additions and changes required by both teams to make their vulnerability program complete.

At RedSeal, we’re committed to helping you fortify your digital infrastructure, for good. We proactively help visualize your network, identify attack paths, prioritize risk, and help you stay in compliance to ensure your business and customers stay secure.

Reach out to RedSeal or schedule a demo today.

 

 

The Critical Role of Network Security in Zero Trust

The National Security Agency’s (NSA) Cybersecurity Information Sheet (CIS) entitled “Advancing Zero Trust Maturity Throughout the Network and Environment Pillar” outlines how organizations can enhance their network security within the Zero Trust model. This involves leveraging advanced cybersecurity strategies to mitigate risks of lateral movement by malicious actors within networks.

In a recent SCmagazine article, the creator of the Zero Trust concept, John Kindervag, pointed out the industry’s current overemphasis on identity management, cautioning against neglecting network security’s critical role. This viewpoint complements the NSA’s guidance on implementing Zero Trust within the network and environment pillar, underscoring the need for a balanced approach that values both identity and network infrastructure. Kindervag’s insights advocate for not only recognizing the network as a foundational component of Zero Trust, but also actively engaging in strategies like data flow mapping, macro- and micro-segmentation, as well as leveraging software-defined networking (SDN) for enhanced security measures​​. This balanced focus ensures a comprehensive and resilient Zero Trust model, and RedSeal can address those network-related challenges effectively.

RedSeal can play a crucial role in implementing these strategies:

  • Data Flow Mapping: RedSeal’s capabilities in mapping the network and understanding how data moves across it align with the document’s emphasis on understanding data flow to identify and secure unprotected data flows. RedSeal can help organizations visualize their network paths and flows, which is foundational for recommended effective segmentation and isolation strategies.
  • Macro Segmentation: RedSeal’s Zones and Policies feature directly supports the concept of macro-segmentation, which is about segmenting the network into different security zones to control access and movement between them. By defining and enforcing network policies, RedSeal can help prevent unauthorized access between different parts of the network, such as between departments or between the IT environment and operational technology systems.
  • Micro Segmentation: While the document discusses micro-segmentation’s role in further reducing the attack surface within network segments, RedSeal’s detailed network models and policy management can assist in the detailed enforcement of policies that control access to resources within these segments. RedSeal’s analytical capabilities can help identify where micro-segmentation can be most effectively applied and help manage the policies that enforce this segmentation.
  • Software-Defined Networking (SDN): Although RedSeal itself is not an SDN solution, its network modeling and risk assessment capabilities are complementary to SDN’s dynamic and adaptable network management. RedSeal can enhance SDN implementations by providing a detailed understanding of the network structure and potential vulnerabilities, thereby aiding in the creation of more effective SDN policies.

RedSeal can significantly aid an organization’s efforts to advance its Zero Trust maturity, particularly within the network and environment pillar outlined in the NSA document. By providing detailed network visibility, facilitating effective macro- and micro-segmentation and complementing SDN strategies, RedSeal helps limit potential attack surfaces, enhances network security posture, and supports continuous verification of all elements within the network environment.

You can find out more by getting a demo of RedSeal and attend one of our monthly free Cyber Threat Hunt workshops.

Tales from the Trenches: Network Backdoors — Lions, and Tigers, and Bears…

Today’s tale from the trench is brought to you by Brad Schwab, Senior Security Solutions Consultant.

One of the greatest concerns for professionals in Network and Security Operations is the potential existence of a backdoor in their network—let alone the presence of numerous backdoors! Identifying backdoors can be a daunting challenge, as they might exist beyond the confines of the configured routing table or take a longer path than the optimized routing path typically followed by traffic. Consequently, conventional traffic mapping tools seldom uncover the presence of a backdoor.

RedSeal is unique in its ability to identify and display all paths through a network, regardless of routing protocols and network address translation (NAT)—therefore exposing all potential backdoors.

While working with a power generation company that managed many extremely remote renewable energy sites, I performed RedSeal data collections on network device configurations across the organization, including company headquarters. From there, I began to perform RedSeal data collections on the power generation farms networks. With this data, I was able to model their network and gain visibility into all the access across their network fabric.

Once all data was collected, we initiated an examination of access vectors into the local generating networks. While engaged in this process, one individual began discussing how the heightened global threat levels had prompted the implementation of a company policy mandating a firewall at each site. This measure aims to safeguard Operational Technology (OT) devices and SCADA Systems. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a software application used for controlling industrial processes by gathering real-time data from remote locations to control equipment and conditions.

As we began verifying that access controls were in place, we concluded there were indeed firewalls present with Access Control Lists (ACLs) blocking and filter inbound traffic. However, because RedSeal shows ALL access vectors, we also noticed that each generation site had two available paths to the internal network—one controlled and limited by the firewall and another that was wide open through the on-site router — a backdoor!

Through RedSeal’s security methodology of “Discover, Investigate, Act” we were able to uncover the backdoors and found that though we started with a small sample of sites, we now knew what to look for and each one had backdoors into the power generation network.

During our investigation we discovered that the secondary wide open access had been set in the case of a site lockout on the firewall. I have seen networks set up like this in the past, although not quite at this scale. It is not terribly uncommon in remote locations to set up a backdoor enabling remote access – however, we learned that with this set up even a firmware upgrade would cause problems. I explained how RedSeal could help verify changes before deployment and then verify implementation with ongoing monitoring for the entire generating network to ensure all sites were always in compliance and no backdoors were in place.  I like to think of it as an always on, always up-to-date audit.  Thus, avoiding any “negative compliance drift” between yearly scheduled audits.

In summary, RedSeal was able to show all the paths through the network—not just the ones that traffic is currently traveling on.  For each path of interest, in this case the backdoors, RedSeal shows every device along the path (hops), and all the ports and protocols that are available for traffic to transit.  Finally, such access can be monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure it does not stray from company policy.

At RedSeal, we’re committed to helping you fortify your digital infrastructure, for good. We proactively help visualize your network, identify attack paths, prioritize risk, and help you stay in compliance to ensure your business and customers stay secure.

Reach out to RedSeal or schedule a demo today.

Understanding the UnitedHealthcare Data Breach: The Importance of Good Segmentation

After receiving a call from KCBS to comment on the UnitedHealthcare data breach, I was reminded of the critical importance of cybersecurity measures and proactive solutions like RedSeal in safeguarding sensitive information.

The Impact on Patients and Healthcare Organizations

The repercussions of the UnitedHealthcare data breach extend beyond the confines of the company itself. Patients whose personal and medical information may have been compromised face the unsettling reality of potential identity theft, fraud, privacy breaches, and in this case, health implications with a nationwide outage of some of the largest prescription processors. Moreover, healthcare organizations are left vulnerable to reputational damage, legal liabilities, and regulatory penalties.

The swift response by Change Healthcare to halt the spread of the incident is commendable. By implementing effective containment measures and building segmentation into network design, they demonstrated the importance of proactive cybersecurity strategies especially in mitigating the impact of such breaches.

Segmentation: Building Stronger Defenses

In the face of evolving cyber threats, healthcare organizations must prioritize robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive data and maintain the trust of their patients. A critical step, which Change Healthcare executed effectively, is incorporating segmentation into network design. This strategic approach enabled them to isolate and contain potential threats, shutting down access swiftly.

By dividing networks into distinct segments and implementing access controls based on user roles and permissions, organizations can contain breaches and limit the lateral movement of attackers within their infrastructure.

The Importance of Transparency and Disclosure

Another noteworthy aspect of the UnitedHealthcare data breach is the transparency and prompt disclosure of pertinent details surrounding the incident. Unlike in years past, where data breaches were often shrouded in secrecy and only disclosed months or even years later, the current landscape emphasizes the importance of timely and transparent communication.

Moving Forward: Strengthening Cyber Defenses

As the healthcare industry continues to confront evolving cyber threats, proactive measures and collaborative efforts are essential to fortify defenses and safeguard sensitive information.

By embracing cybersecurity solutions and prioritizing segmentation and transparency, healthcare organizations can mitigate risks, protect patient data, and uphold the integrity of their operations. As the adage goes, “good fences make good neighbors,” and investing in robust cybersecurity defenses is paramount to safeguarding the future of healthcare.

RedSeal can play a pivotal role in enhancing security.

RedSeal acts as a vital tool in mapping out defensive boundaries within the network. It provides organizations with a comprehensive overview of their network architecture, allowing them to understand how different segments interact and where potential vulnerabilities lie. With RedSeal, organizations can accurately assess their defensive posture and make informed decisions to block moving threats before they spread.

In times of uncertainty, one thing remains clear: proactive cybersecurity measures and innovative solutions like RedSeal are indispensable allies in the ongoing battle against cyber threats. Let us heed the lessons learned from this incident and collectively work towards a safer and more secure future for all.

Contact us for a demo www.redseal.net

Tales from the Trenches: When Low-Risk is Actually High-Concern

Since 2004, RedSeal has been instrumental in empowering our clients to comprehensively visualize and fortify their intricate networks. While our customers initially grasped the importance of understanding their network architecture, connections, and identifying potential risks, there’s often an enlightening “aha” moment when the true significance becomes unmistakable. These narratives, cherished within the confines of RedSeal, vividly exemplify the practical value of our platform beyond mere theory. In the words of our dedicated field team, who collaborates directly with our clients, this blog series aims to unveil the instances where the theoretical transforms into tangible reality. 

Today’s post is brought to you by Chris Morgan, Client Engagement Director 

 

In the realm of cybersecurity, where threats and vulnerabilities lurk aplenty, RedSeal stands as a beacon of innovation. Pioneers in network security analytics, RedSeal delivers actionable insights, enabling customers to close defensive gaps across their entire network. 

While reviewing a large medical provider’s network, we discovered several high- and medium-severity vulnerabilities within the network. However, it was the low-risk vulnerability we found to be of highest concern.  

Delving deeper into our investigation, we unearthed a situation of seismic proportions. Amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 era, the client’s IT team had inadvertently granted unrestricted access to a seemingly mundane printer. However, unbeknownst to them, and visible now only because of RedSeal, this printer served as direct access to more than 14,000 hosts within the client’s expansive network, opening access that could enable bad actors to directly invade much of the network. RedSeal’s comprehensive approach, merging risk and access, empowers genuine prioritization for clients. 

With a fresh eye toward restricting access, we worked with the medical provider to remediate the exposure immediately, tightening access controls for printers and implementing access logs, securing them for the future.  

At RedSeal, we’re committed to helping you fortify your digital infrastructure, for good. We proactively help visualize your network, identify attack paths, prioritize risk, and help you stay in compliance to ensure your business and customers stay secure. 

Reach out to RedSeal or schedule a demo today.

 

Tales from the Trenches: My network hasn’t changed!

Since 2004, RedSeal has been instrumental in empowering our clients to comprehensively visualize and fortify their intricate networks. While our customers initially grasped the importance of understanding their network architecture, connections, and identifying potential risks, there’s often an enlightening “aha” moment when the true significance becomes unmistakable. These narratives, cherished within the confines of RedSeal, vividly exemplify the practical value of our platform beyond mere theory. In the words of our dedicated field team, who collaborates directly with our clients, this blog series aims to unveil the instances where the theoretical transforms into tangible reality.

Today’s post is brought to you by John Bays, Senior Security Solutions Consultant, Federal

MY NETWORK HASN’T CHANGED

Imagine navigating the landscape of a government entity, where a dedicated administrator went about their daily routine, firmly believing that a single login to the server was all it took to keep things ticking. Little did they know, a significant issue had quietly brewed beneath the surface – the network had remained unchanged for a considerable six-month stretch.

Approaching the situation with curiosity, I gently posed some questions.

  • How might they have overlooked the network’s lack of growth?
  • What led them to believe that everything was running smoothly without addressing potential issues?

This unfolding scenario morphed into a journey of understanding, aiming to uncover misconceptions and illuminate the broader responsibilities at hand.

Misunderstanding a role’s responsibility happens. At RedSeal, we know this and help ensure misunderstandings are laid to rest. Taking a supportive approach, I guided them through various aspects of the platform, emphasizing the value of active involvement. As the pieces fell into place, a realization dawned on this client – our exploration revealed numerous devices being added and removed from the network. This revelation painted a richer picture, demonstrating that their role was more intricate than they had initially perceived.

This experience turned out to be a valuable lesson for all involved, highlighting the importance of staying engaged and adapting to the ever-changing dynamics of the network environment. It wasn’t about fault-finding; rather, it underscored the need for continuous learning and awareness in the evolving tech landscape. After all, even the most dedicated administrators can benefit from a broader perspective on their responsibilities.

At RedSeal, we’re committed to helping you fortify your digital infrastructure, for good. We proactively help visualize your network, identify attack paths, prioritize risk, and help you stay in compliance to ensure your business and customers stay secure.

Reach out to RedSeal or schedule a demo today.

Keeping an Eye on IPv6 in Your Hybrid Network

IPv6 has its advantages

With the proliferation of connected devices, organizations everywhere are making the transition to Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). Beyond having astronomically more usable addresses than its IPv4 predecessor (2128 vs. 232), IPv6 has several other advantages, including:

  • Easier administration: IPv6 simplifies address configuration through Stateless Address Autoconfiguration (SLAAC) and DHCPv6 (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol for IPv6). This reduces the likelihood of misconfigurations and makes it easier for organizations to manage their networks securely.
  • Improved routing efficiency: IPv6 eliminates the need for Network Address Translation (NAT), a practice used in IPv4 to conserve address space. NAT can introduce complexities and potential security vulnerabilities. With IPv6, devices can have globally routable addresses without the need for NAT.
  • Enhanced security: IPv6 incorporates security features that were not present in IPv4. For example, IPsec (Internet Protocol Security) is mandatory in IPv6, providing a framework for securing communication at the IP layer. IPsec can be used to encrypt and authenticate data, ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of network communications.

Overall, IPv6 tackles the many limitations and challenges of IPv4 while providing a scalable, efficient, and secure foundation for the future growth of the internet and the proliferation of internet-connected devices.

But the transition can be tricky

While the goal is to eliminate the use of IPv4 entirely, many corporations and governments are expected to maintain dual-stack networks—using both IPv4 and IPv6—for the foreseeable future. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has mandated that 80% of IP-enabled assets on federal networks must be operating in IPv6-only environments by the end of its 2025 fiscal year. Meanwhile, IPv6 has been growing unchecked in corporate networks for years, right alongside IPv4.

For too long, organizations have been able to put off the IPv6 transition as a challenge for tomorrow, but the pressure is now on. Cloud adoption is driving up IPv6 use, and unexpected IPv6 pathways are rife with risk. In the worst cases, firewall bypasses can spring up due to unintentional differences between old IPv4 and new IPv6 fabric. Ultimately, IPv6 adoption means bigger networks and more connections—and risks—to manage. Who’s keeping an eye on IPv6 in your network?

IPv6 intelligence for your evolving network

Wherever your organization may be on its journey to an IPv6-only network, you need the ability to answer fundamental questions about IPv6 in your network, and RedSeal can help:

  • What percentage of my total network assets are in IPv6-only environments?
  • Is this subnet truly IPv6-only?
  • What does this IPv6-only subnet look like?
  • Which specific devices need to be upgraded to IPv6?
  • How are IPv6 subnets connected to other parts of my network?
  • Has the introduction of IPv6 created security gaps in my network?

RedSeal delivers the visibility and network context you need to understand where and how IPv6 is being used in your network and what impact it has on your security and compliance initiatives.

Contact us for more details

For more information about how RedSeal can help you minimize risk and maximize resilience in your IPv6 and dual-stack networks, download our IPv6 datasheet and then schedule a demo with one of our cyber-savvy product experts today.

 

Additional IPv6 resources:

Strengthening the Fortress: Best Practices for Incident Response

As the digital age continues to see rapid change, cyber threat looms over businesses, organizations, and individuals even more than before. And, as technology advances, so do the capabilities of cybercriminals. With today’s digital environment, more than ever before, crafting a robust cybersecurity incident response plan isn’t a recommendation—it’s a critical necessity.

What does this mean? It’s a matter of when—not if—a network is compromised. Companies can no longer assume that security frameworks offer invincibility from evolving cyberattack trends. Instead, businesses need a strong incident response program designed to help them quickly react—and in the worst-case scenario come out stronger on the other side.

Designing a sophisticated incident response framework

A cybersecurity incident response plan establishes a structured framework for teams to adhere to when facing a cyber incident or attack. As defined by Gartner, a cyber incident response plan is “formulated by an enterprise to respond to potentially catastrophic, computer-related incidents, such as viruses or hacker attacks.” Gartner research extends to projections for 2026, suggesting that organizations invest at least 20% of security funds in resilience and flexible programs to halve their recovery time.

In crafting a cybersecurity incident response plan tailored to the specific needs of your organization, key considerations and common components include:

1. Defining objectives and scope. Objectives could include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Impact minimization
  • Business continuity
  • Protecting sensitive information
  • Regulatory compliance
  • Identifying and understanding threats
  • Outline for timely recovery
  • Response efforts
  • Future improvements for cybersecurity posture
  • Post-incident analysis

2. Establishing an Incident Response Team (IRT). Assemble a dedicated team responsible for executing the response plan. The team should be comprised of members of the organization from IT, security, legal, communications, and any other relevant business teams. Roles and responsibilities should be clearly identified to ensure a coordinated and timely response.

3. Developing an incident classification system with procedures. A system for classifying incidents based on severity and impact can help guide the response process and help the IRT prioritize actions. We recommend creating a detailed response playbook with step-by-step guidance for various incidences can help a team contain and recover from the incident effectively and efficiently. Playbook should include communication procedures to ensure employees and appropriate external stakeholders are notified.

4. Implementing incident detection and reporting. Employing an effective detection and reporting system is critical for early identification and response to a cybersecurity incident. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Endpoint protection
  • Firewall and network monitoring
  • Email security systems
  • Security and awareness training for employees

5. Conducting regular training and simulation. Training for the incident response team should be set up regularly through simulations and exercises. Each month, RedSeal hosts a Cyber Threat Hunting Workshop. Through our workshop, you will use the RedSeal platform and threat hunt within a pre-built virtual network model. You’ll assess the network’s overall cybersecurity posture while refining your skills in risk and vulnerability assessment, cyber hunting, and incident response. At the completion of the session, you will have learned how to:

  • Identify potential attack vectors that bad actors could use to exploit existing vulnerabilities
  • Optimize resources by leveraging risk-based vulnerability prioritization
  • Easily identify devices on the network that pose the most risk to your enterprise—those with network access and exploitable vulnerabilities
  • Quickly visualize where bad actors can pivot following system compromise and traverse a network
  • Coordinate with other teams to minimize the impact of an event while enhancing your organization’s digital resilience
  • Use network context to develop mitigation strategies and implement your run-book plays

Preventing unauthorized access into, out of, or within a network requires understanding how that network is built– a difficult, tedious, and time-consuming task.

6. Post-incident analysis. Outline and conduct a comprehensive post-incident analysis to understand the root causes of the breach and to identify areas in need of improvement. Lessons should be documented, and the incident response plan should be updated accordingly.

Designing a robust incident response plan is just the tip of the iceberg.

The most important aspect of incident response could be what comes next—evaluation and improvement. Cybersecurity resilience requires constant monitoring and evolution. Regular updates and adaptions to the plan are imperative to effectively address the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats. The journey to securing your network for good is an ongoing process, demanding an unwavering commitment to visibility, refinement, and optimization. At RedSeal, we’re committed to helping you fortify your digital infrastructure, for good. We proactively help visualize your network, identify attack paths, prioritize risk, and help you stay in compliance to ensure your business and customers stay secure.

 

Interested in learning more?

Download our in-depth look into incident response planning today!

Reach out to RedSeal or schedule a demo today.

Cyber Trends to Watch for in 2024: Navigating the Evolving Landscape

As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, the cyber landscape is undergoing unprecedented transformations. As we step into 2024, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the curve and be aware of emerging cyber trends.

Keep an eye on these notable trends unfolding in the cybersecurity landscape:

1. AI-Powered Cyber Attacks

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer just a tool for cybersecurity; it’s also becoming a weapon in the hands of cybercriminals. In 2024, we can expect a surge in AI-powered cyber attacks. Attackers are leveraging machine learning algorithms to automate and enhance their attack strategies, making it more challenging for traditional security measures to detect and prevent these threats. Automating attack path analysis and malware analysis with AI are a couple of ways to combat attackers using AI.

According to Springfield FBI, Cybercrime costs businesses more than $10 billion in the U.S. last year, a figure that could reach $10.5 trillion, globally by 2025, according to Cybersecurity Ventures. They also estimate ransomware alone will cost its victims around $265 billion annually by 2031—an astonishing 815 times more than the $325 million that organizations spent on ransomware in 2015.

The average cost of a data breach reached an all-time high of $4.45 million in 2023, according to IBM—a 15.3% increase over the cost in 2020. Knowing what assets you need to protect and important steps you can take to identify and mitigate them is crucial.

2. Quantum Computing Threats

While quantum computing promises revolutionary advancements, it also poses a significant threat to current encryption standards. In 2024, as quantum computing technologies mature, the risk of cryptographic vulnerabilities increases. The primary goal of a cryptographic system is to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of data. Cryptographic techniques are widely used in various applications, including secure communication over the internet, data storage, authentication, and digital signatures. Cryptographic systems play a crucial role in ensuring the security of digital communication and information in various domains, including online banking, e-commerce, secure messaging, and data protection.

The White House and the Homeland Security Department have made clear that in the wrong hands, a powerful quantum computer could disrupt everything from secure communications to the underpinnings of our financial system.

Organizations must start preparing for quantum-resistant encryption methods to safeguard their sensitive information.

3. Ransomware 2.0: Double Extortion

Persistent and evolving, ransomware attacks continue to pose a significant threat. In 2024, we anticipate the rise of “Ransomware 2.0,” which involves double extortion tactics. In addition to encrypting data, attackers are increasingly stealing sensitive information before locking it down. This dual-threat approach puts added pressure on victims to pay the ransom, as the exposure of sensitive data adds a new dimension to the consequences of non-compliance. Prioritizing vulnerabilities and automating compliance checks can improve the efficiency of your security team.

4. IoT Security Challenges

The Internet of Things (IoT) is expanding rapidly, connecting more devices than ever before. Research expert for the consumer electronics industry, Lionel Sujay Vailshery of Statista, estimates that more than 15 billion devices are on the Internet of Things, outnumbering non-IoT devices with 2 of 3 on IoT. However, this increased connectivity comes with heightened security risks. In 2024, we anticipate a surge in IoT-related cyber attacks as attackers exploit vulnerabilities in poorly secured devices. Strengthening IoT security protocols, such as through device authentication and authorization, securing communication channels, keeping firmware and software up to date, and security testing and vulnerability management, will be crucial to prevent widespread breaches. Knowing what is attached and who can get to it will help protect you in the future.

5. Supply Chain Attacks

Supply chain attacks are not new, but they are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, with cybercriminals targeting the networks of suppliers and service providers to compromise the security of the ultimate target.

In a supply chain attack, an attacker might target a cybersecurity vendor and add malware to their software, which is then sent out in a system update to that vendor’s clients. When the clients download the update, believing it to be from a trusted source, the malware grants attackers access to those clients’ systems and information. This is essentially how the SolarWinds attack unfolded in 2020, targeting 18,000 customers.

As organizations continue to rely on a complex web of third-party vendors, securing the entire supply chain becomes paramount in 2024.

6. Regulatory Developments

Governments and regulatory bodies are increasingly recognizing the importance of cybersecurity. We’ve already seen change in New York’s requirements for reporting breaches by company size and in 2024, we anticipate the introduction of more stringent regulations and compliance requirements. Organizations will need to stay abreast of these changes to ensure they meet the evolving standards and avoid legal and financial repercussions.

The cyber landscape is poised for continued evolution. By adopting proactive cybersecurity measures and embracing innovative solutions, we can collectively navigate the challenges and threats that lie ahead.

At RedSeal, we’re committed to fortifying your digital infrastructure. We proactively help visualize your network, identify attack paths, prioritize risk, and help you stay in compliance to ensure your business and customers stay secure.

Reach out to RedSeal or schedule a demo today.

Guardians of Trust: Safeguarding Customer Data

As the year ends and holiday shopping hits an all-time high, the security of customer information is critical. With each item added to the cart, customers place their trust in stores, entrusting them with personal and financial details. Any breach of this trust can result in severe consequences for both the customers and the business. To ensure airtight security and to build lasting trust, retailers must implement robust measures to safeguard customer information.  

A few reminders as we head into holiday shopping:

Implement Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Encryption

SSL encryption is the bedrock of secure online communication. Ensure that your website uses HTTPS, which encrypts the data transmitted between the user’s browser and your server. This prevents hackers from intercepting sensitive information during transmission. 

Regularly Update Software and Systems and Back Up Customer Data 

Outdated software is a vulnerable target for cyber threats. Regularly update your website’s content management system, plugins, and any other software to patch potential security vulnerabilities.  

In the event of a security breach or data loss, having up-to-date backups is crucial. Regularly back up customer data and ensure that the backup system itself is secure. 

Use Strong Authentication Measures 

Enforce strong password policies for both staff and customers. Require the use of complex passwords and consider implementing two-factor authentication (2FA) to add an extra layer of security. According to the National Cyber Security Centre, 23.2 million breach victim accounts used 123456 as their password – making it the most commonly used password worldwide.  

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Compliance 

If your online store processes credit card transactions, adhere to PCI DSS standards. This includes secure card storage, regular system scans, and compliance with the Payment Card Industry’s stringent security requirements. 

Employee Training on Security Best Practices

Human error is a common factor in security breaches. Researchers from Stanford University found that approximately 88 percent of all data breaches are caused by an employee mistake. Train your staff on security best practices, such as recognizing phishing attempts and the importance of data protection.  

According to a follow up survey from Stanford, the percentage of employees who admit to falling for phishing scams at work decreases with age, and younger employees are 5x more likely to click on phishing emails than older employees. The survey found however, older respondents were more susceptible to smishing attacks (SMS phishing), compared to the younger employees.

Have you ever received a text from your company CEO asking you to purchase gift cards? Don’t fall for it. Your executive leaders will never send such a request, especially via text.  

Creating a security-conscious culture among employees across each generation is crucial. 

Regular Security Audits and Penetration Testing 

Conduct regular security audits and penetration tests to identify and address potential vulnerabilities in your systems. This proactive approach helps you stay ahead of potential threats and ensure continuous improvement in your security measures. 

Monitor for Suspicious Activities 

Implement real-time monitoring tools to detect and respond to suspicious activities. Unusual patterns or multiple failed login attempts could be indicators of a security threat. 

Incident Response Plan 

Develop a comprehensive incident response plan outlining the steps to be taken in the event of a security breach. This includes communication strategies, notifying affected parties, and working towards a swift resolution. 

As custodians of customer information, responsibility extends beyond checking the box on compliance requirements. Businesses must commit to fostering an environment where customers feel confident their information is secure. By implementing these robust security measures, online stores can fortify their defenses and protect the sensitive information entrusted to them by customers.  

At RedSeal, we’re committed to fortifying your digital infrastructure. We proactively help visualize your network, identify attack paths, prioritize risk, and help you stay in compliance to ensure your business and customers stay secure.

Reach out to RedSeal or schedule a demo today.