Cybercriminals can take advantage of various vulnerabilities in your company which is why it is crucial to patch them immediately to protect your IT infrastructure. This month our discussions have been focused on cyber security audits. So far, we’ve covered what cyber security audits are, our top three tips for conducting a successful audit and why cyber security audits are required.
However, the main focus of this post will be some of the vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure that cyber security audits can detect. Once these vulnerabilities have been detected you can then deploy fixes that should ensure that your company’s IT infrastructure is secure. We’ll be covering just six of the possible vulnerabilities that cyber security audits can uncover, however, this list is by no means exhaustive.
#1 Lack of Endpoint Defences
Many company’s, small and large, fail to set up endpoint defence mechanisms such as antivirus tools. This means their organisation is more susceptible to cyberattacks, allowing targets to easily access their servers.
Another problem is inadequate endpoint defences. Several factors can turn them into vulnerabilities, including the use of signature-based antivirus platforms. They’re no longer efficient since many tech-savvy criminals can quickly bypass them. Many programs do not monitor unexpected or unusual behaviour and they may also be unable to investigate or respond to endpoints, especially on larger scales.
The best way to address these issues is to invest in cutting-edge endpoint defence tools that involve next-generation antivirus, response, and behavioural analysis capabilities. They provide a comprehensive evaluation of malicious actions and flexible prevention options.
If you’re operating a traditional antivirus platform, consider upgrading it to a version with in-depth behavioural inspections. You could also use detailed compromise indications, forensic details and real-time response functionality.
#2 Poor Account Privilege Control
Limiting the access privileges of your software users is the tenet of controlling vulnerabilities. The less information they can access, the less harm they can do if they have a compromised account.
The problem comes if your company doesn’t control your user account access, enabling practically any user to have administrator-level privileges. There is also a serious risk if your configuration allows unprivileged members to set up admin-level accounts. Therefore, you should grant access only to those team members who can’t carry out their duties without the access, but, this should be monitored closely. An additional measure is to ensure new accounts don’t have administrator-level access. This helps prevent less-privileged users from creating additional privileged accounts.
#3 Compromised or Weak Credentials
Your password and username may be the most widely used access credentials. And unfortunately, this makes them a high priority target for cybercriminals who can easily compromise them and expose your user credentials.
One of the main ways that cybercriminals will gain these credentials is via phishing attacks – when an unsuspecting employee enters their login information on a fake website. With these credentials, cybercriminals can then gain access to your accounts.
Even though analysing and monitoring can help identify malicious activity, these credentials can bypass security and impede detection. The consequences vary, depending on the access they provide.
You also need to keep in mind that humans aren’t the only ones who own credentials.
Security tools, network devices, and servers generally have passwords to enable communication and integration between devices. Intruders can utilise them to activate movements throughout your enterprise both horizontally and vertically – their access is almost unlimited.
To avoid this scenario, you should implement stringent password controls. For example, set up 2FA/MFA for all staff members and have a password policy that requires longer and complex passwords to be used. It is also important to force frequent password changes. Combining these principles is an effective method to prevent compromised credentials.
Misconfiguration refers to errors in your system configuration. For instance, enabled setup pages and default usernames or passwords can result in breaches.
If you don’t disable setup or application server configuration, hackers can recognise hidden vulnerabilities, giving them extra information. It’s because misconfigured apps and devices are an easy gateway for cybercriminals to exploit.
To prevent this, establish systems and procedures to tighten the configuration process and employ automation wherever possible. Monitoring device and application settings and comparing them to the best practices also reveal potential threats across the network.
Ransomware is cyber extortion that prevents users from accessing their data until the attacker receives a ransom. They instruct the victim to pay a certain fee to obtain their decryption key. The costs can reach thousands of dollars, but many criminals also opt for Bitcoin payments.
Making sure your system is ready to address a ransomware issue is integral to protecting your data. To do that, keep your system up to date with the latest security standards as it reduces the number of vulnerabilities. Another recommended defence mechanism is to stick to trusted providers only.
The above covers just some of the vulnerabilities that can be detected in a cyber security audit – this list is by no means exhaustive. Successfully running a company with poor cyber security measures is virtually impossible. The risk of losing precious data and reputation is much too high. To ensure your organisation isn’t a sitting duck for cyberattackers, you absolutely must implement reliable defence strategies.
If you think now would be a good time for your business to conduct a cyber security audit and eradicate any vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure, please get in touch with Aberdeen Cyber Security.