How to avoid being a target of script kiddies!

There is a huge difference between a cyber attack generated by a script kiddy running an automated system and one where you are being targeted by a dedicated hacker.

For one, if you are targeted by a dedicated hacker then you already know that you have something worth protecting and you have, hopefully, done something about it.

The biggest problems with cyber attacks on the internet are that 95% of them are coming from an automated system controlled or managed by trainees (script kiddies).

Automated systems have three reasons they are used:

  • They are easy to get.
  • They are easy to use.
  • They are easy to make money out of.

They are easy to get!

There are a number of ways for anyone to get hold of an automated system. They can download an operating system that has an automated system running on it. Kali, Parrot OS or Black-arch are all very good examples but there are others.

Designed as penetration testing tools, these systems have all of the requirements that they need to target organisations, multinationals, or anyone connected to the digital world.

Before you ask, yes it is all legal and above board as long as you are not targeting someone else.

To make these systems more effective they allow them to either download additional components from GitHub or design and program your own applications.

They are easy to use!

The old saying that whenever anything is free you are the product rings true with these systems as well. The creators of these systems keep track of people using them and incorporate any updates into their own releases.

To set up one of these systems all you need is a computer. Once you have administrator access to a computer you can download a virtual environment (VMware if you have some money or Virtual Box for free) and you can then install these operating systems as a virtual operating system.

You can even run the operating system on a microcomputer (Raspberry Pi) for under $100.

Once set up you now have access to the tools and capabilities that, if used correctly, can rival someone who has been in the industry for years. Almost like a novice woodworker creating a dovetail joint on their first try without knowledge of what to do.

No training, just using other people’s knowledge.

In addition, and a bigger issue, what they do not know can be learned or discovered by simply searching google.

The capability and effectiveness of these systems allow them to set up the automated attack and target a huge number of vulnerable systems based on blocks of internet-based addresses.

Simply they can find out if there is a targetable vulnerability just by using facets of the automated systems.

They are easy to make money out of!

These free operating systems have the capability of making money.

To make serious money, though, you need to work with partners. Working with partners can be both beneficial as well as detrimental to their own security.

When it comes to making money it is either through selling information on the dark web, selling cryptovirus decryption keys to vulnerable people or selling access to compromised systems to leverage other attacks.

How to avoid being a target of script kiddies.

To avoid being a victim you need to implement some protective strategies.

You need to apply the CareMIT business security methodology to the organisation but to start at the basics this is what you need to do:

  • Patch and update everything – operating systems, application and to really be secure remove anything that you do not use from the system. This is applied to computers, websites, servers, and smart devices.
  • Disable macros – do not allow macros to run on the computers
  • Use complex, unique and more than 12 characters for every site, service or system in the digital world
  • Use 2 factor or multi-factor authentication. If you manage websites or other cloud-based services make sure the third level of security is in place – captcha
  • Only allow good applications to run on the system. This is called application whitelisting and only approved applications are allowed to run. There are some anti-virus systems that allow you to do this.
  • The last one is critical to your sanity – DO A BACKUP. All the bad guys have to do is win once. A backup ensures that if and when they win they have not really won.

At the basic level, the users of these automated systems are just as vulnerable as the people that they are targeting. A severe case of “user beware”, because if you do not configure the system correctly you are just as vulnerable as your targets.

At the most fundamental level, we all know that most people between 13 and 30 have a limited ethical attitude and good and bad is debatable.

That’s why we have the proliferation of these systems.

Secure your business!

Get proactive!

Do the scorecard!

Read your report!

Linkto scorecard https://caremit.scoreapp.com

#ceo #ExecutivesAndManagement #ProfessionalWomen #CareMIT #cybersecurity #infosec

How do we manage the risk of digital in todays business world?

10 years ago, cyber was not thought of as a risk to the business.   It was just a way to do business that was faster and less expensive.

5 years ago we started to think, in very rudimentary terms, that cyber was a small risk but we knew nothing about it so we will pass it to the ICT department for them to manage.

We did this because the perception of digital risk was purely associated with the ICT of the organisation.

Since 2014 and the Target hack, C level execs, boardroom members, owners, and managers, realized that digital risk was bigger than they expected and the departments that they had relied on to secure their organisations were not, in fact, doing the job to the expected level.

Definitely not their fault, there were a couple of reasons for this, the first being that they relied on people who were more focused on keeping the lights on, making the technology work, than securing the environments.

The other was whenever they, the ICT department / managed service provider tried to secure the business environment, and they would have done regularly, they were fighting culture, fiscal and attitude issues that just made it too hard to make the business environment safe.

In this environment most ICT departments / managed service providers resorted to a number of basic strategies.   Let’s get a decent firewall, let’s get a decent AV and let’s make sure that updates are applied.   This is close to 10% of the requirements to secure an organisation.

Digital and cyber risks are now the number one or two risk factors on management minds in today’s business world.

They still do not know how to manage it.

The hardest part is visualization.   How do those risks manifest themselves within the organisation?

No matter the size, the number of people you employ or the amount of money/revenue you make, digital risk can bring your organisation down in some cases literally overnight.   In fact, at the speed of Cyber!

Business management still thinks that ICT departments and managed service companies are the answer.

They are not!

Business security is a whole of business issue with a mantra that cybersecurity is everyone’s problem.   You need a team that crosses all of the lines of communication, from management to coal face.

You need people who understand the bad guys and can attack your system with the same capabilities and vigorous intention, but without the damage.

They need to approach the problem with the same intensity as the bad guys so that vulnerabilities can be exposed and removed, exploit can be counteracted and restricting a breach by monitoring the attack surface.

This will, in the end, make your environment more secure and stable.

You need someone with the right methodology, an understanding that technology is only part of the solution, and the ability to approach the huge problem in a manageable way.

It is only manageable when you address the areas apart from technology.

Why you need a new breed of Business security

Introduction

In the last 20 years, there has been a slow change in how the business approaches the management of the ICT component.

As business and technology changes there have been significant changes in the management process of these systems.   The more complex and costly the systems the more dedicated the support has to be.   We have gone from onsite support from staff (I know computers) to off-site support from a service provider.

SME’s no longer have the resources available to manage their ICT and a new breed of company has been slowly taking more and more control over these parts of your business.

Managed Service Provider (MSP)

Originally these organisations were known as ICT or IT companies.   They were usually run out of hardware and software stores and were more focused on those areas.

It was eventually realized that just managing the hardware and software of small and medium business and not for profit organisations was not enough.   When technology broke, the most organisation still could not afford a technician to come to the site and an IT company need to make their resources go further.

The managed service provider did a number of additional things:

  • They had systems that remotely monitored and managed (RMM) the technology within the organisation.   This allowed them to give feedback to the clients in the way of comprehensive reports on their network
  • They had helpdesk capability to fix issues as they arose from the RMM systems or issues that arose from the users.
  • They started to become proactive, not reactive.
  • In a number of ways they even became vendor managers.  They looked after their clients from the internet down to the user.

Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

The business has changed and the requirements for ICT support have changed, the MSP needed to do more.

To be competitive and to be more productive they started adding on services.   These services included if not delivered by the MSP:

  • off site backup,
  • managed firewall,
  • web application firewalls,
  • web site management,
  • managed Anti Virus and many more.

In most cases, they were a bolt-on action to the MSP requirements and were supplied to maximize profit and reduce cost.   In a large number of situations, the customer was not getting value for money because the MSP was tied to a specific vendor.

In the last 5 – 10 years, the bigger the perceived problem with security was the more clients were going to purchase systems from their trusted advised – their MSP.   Once again increasing profits by reducing costs.

Any MSSP that does this is actually exposing their clients to huge problems.   Most of the service level agreements (SLA) reduce this down to “all care no responsibility”

Managed Business security service provider (MBSSP)

SME’s and NFP organisations needed to approach business security in today’s business world from a new direction.

Business security has to be approached from the top down.    Management and board members HAVE to get involved.   Your MSP or MSSP who is not recommending risk management and cybersecurity frameworks is in fact doing a huge disservice to your organisation.

Risk management and a risk management process looks at all of the risks to the organisations and allows you to think and work through the process and deliver strategies to protect the organisation.   It includes the ICT and technology area but there is so much more that has to be incorporated into a risk management plan.

The second part is a cybersecurity framework.   A framework does a number of things:

  • It focuses management on the required tasks to secure the organisation.
  • It removes knee jerk reactions to perceived threats.
  • The more you implement the framework the more secure your organisation.
  • It has to be done with the involvement of all areas of the organisation from management down and from coal face up.
  • It can be managed with reduced costs, expertise and time constraints

Most frameworks have a baseline requirement.   When you start to implement the framework you have to know how secure you are before you can start to improve.   The baseline also allows you to look at priorities within the organisation.

Conclusion

If your organisation is still using an MSP or an MSSP to manage your security without looking at the risk components or without implementing a cybersecurity framework (we recommend the National Institute of Standards and  Technology (NIST) cybersecurity framework) then you need to rethink your business security requirements.

Talk to an organisation that is focused on MBSSP capability.

Secure your business!

Get proactive!

Do the scorecard!

Read your report!

Link to scorecard https://caremit.scoreapp.com

#ceo #ExecutivesAndManagement #ProfessionalWomen #CareMIT #cybersecurity #infosec

Why your charity is a great target for cybercriminals

You are doing a great job.   You manage, support a small charity, not for profit organisation and love what you do.

Your primary focus is to get as much done for your charity.   It could be donations, volunteers or grants but all for your primary charity focus.

Your whole role is to make sure that as much money goes through to the people in need.

Now I want you to step back and answer a couple of questions.

  • What would happen to all those good intentions if you got hacked?
  • How many of your supporters would you lose if you got hacked?
  • What would happen to your reputation if you got hacked?

But, it would not happen to you, would it?

Let me tell you a not so secret secret!

You are a target!

Maybe not a target of a full-blown black hat attack but you are a target none the less.  The analogy that I use is “what is the chance that a black belt martial arts person is going to beat you up?” Probably very remote!

When it comes to a cyber event, the black hat attacker is not the problem.

The problem is the hugely available and easy to use automated systems that are available for any person with an inclination to use them.

These automated systems create malware, deliver it, track it, monitor it, manage the stages of an attack and manage and control the money being made.   All a “ hacker” has to do is be willing and ethically capable and pull that trigger.

The risk to your charity organisation is significant.

Our attitude to the digital world as it is just a tool and anyone can use it is having a huge negative impact on business because it is not.

I can guarantee that your charity has a board, it has used a legal company for the structure and has an accountant to look at the books, but the most essential component of the organisation is what you put into the digital world.

From desktop computers to smart devices and cloud-based systems and services, the digital world is all around us.

We treat it like the normal world, that is bad.   Theft in the real world is seen and actioned, in the digital world, it is not.   I could have access to all of your data and you may not even know it is happening.

You need to talk to a MBSSP to bring your organisation to a level where your business security will protect the organistion, the data, the users but most importantly your clients, volunteers and supporters.

Without them you cannot function as a charity, and all your good intentions will disappear.

The best way to find out how vulnerable to a cyber event your organisation is.   Use the CareMIT Digital Diagnostic Tool or come to one of our regular quarterly “Security Board Meetings