Coronavirus or computer virus -both are spreading fast

Coronavirus or computer virus – both are spreading fast, which one to prevent?

Both on high priority! So vulnerable we humans are! Today, we stand humbled in front of a tiny microorganism and so are our computers, always at the risk of a virus attack. Exposure to a virus can compromise the immune system of the human body so are machines that we are so dependent on. Thanks to the Coronavirus outbreak, Work from home & kids at home are now a compelling situation for most of us. As the internet consumption increases; access points to networks change, and kids involved in indiscriminate surfing of the net have all paved an easy-access way to hackers waiting to infect the computer compromising valuable data just like the Coronavirus is waiting to attack an immune-compromised human body.

It is believed that every time an employee connects to the corporate network from home, hackers discover possible access points to exploit. When this happens 1,000 times on a single network almost overnight, as it has amid orders for regional lockdowns, it’s increasingly difficult to ensure every connection is secure.

As hackers are rejoicing at this opportunity, Cybersecurity experts have not let them be so much of an opportunist. Since a lot of awareness on Coronavirus prevention has been generated and is doing good rounds on social media, Voice&Data set out to gather cybersecurity awareness tips from leading firms who are in the business of protecting our digital systems from viruses.

A few valuable suggestions as below:

Nilesh Jain, Vice President, Southeast Asia and India, Trend Micro

Cybersecurity measures to securely Work from Home:

  1. Give a reminder to all staff during this period to be more wary of phishing
  2. Give your remote workers the security and productivity tools they need to protect themselves and their non-corporate IT resources.
  3. Include an enterprise managed cloud storage account for work documents so employees don’t find free versions that may not be safe.
  4. A Secure Web Gateway as a service is a useful option considering that the remote workers using a VPN will still likely to not go through corporate security devices when browsing to non-corporate sites.

Matt Shelton, Director, Technology Risk and Threat Intelligence, FireEye

There are several things that organizations can do to better protect their corporate environment from threats as they adapt to a remote and distributed workforce. The following recommendations focus on the protection of both employee identities and as well as applications.

  1. Accessing corporate resources remotely creates an opportunity for attackers to blend in with the workforce. Implementing multifactor authentication (MFA) on all external corporate resources significantly reduces this risk.
  2. Organizations should not stop at MFA! Implement a single sign on (SSO) platform to tie corporate and cloud resources together with a common authentication source. Employees will appreciate a common set of credentials while providing administrators with the ability to centralize credential management and monitor for abuse.
  3. Many organizations lose visibility into malicious activity targeting remote workers. Organizations should deploy a multi-layer endpoint agent on all employee endpoints. The endpoint agent should be able to detect, protect, and respond to malicious activity.
  4. Companies should be sure to deploy encryption on employee endpoints so that sensitive data is protected in transit and at rest.
  5. Cloud services are an important resource for remote workers and can contain sensitive corporate data. Ensure that you are receiving logs from your cloud providers and regularly reviewing them for unauthorized access and data exfiltration
  6. Create suitable corporate alternatives for personal cloud services. Employees love productivity apps for note-taking, file storage, and document management but organizations lose visibility into their data when employees use them. By implementing corporate alternatives, organizations can ensure that that corporate data is protected and monitored by corporate security controls
  7. Provide security awareness training for remote workers. Focus on physical security topics such as using a privacy screen, limiting work on confidential material in public spaces, and securing physical computing assets.
  8. As networks grow and change, security controls weaken over time. Avoid environmental drift by continually evaluating your security controls through red and purple team exercises.

Rajesh Maurya, Regional Vice President, India & SAARC, Fortinet

The one thing that all CISOs have in common at this moment is they are all risk owners. No matter the situation, even during these times of extreme business transition and the need to maintain operational continuity, they are responsible for assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data 24x7x365. Regardless of how situational requirements might change, the goal is for the core functions of the organization to remain consistently available, reliable, and secure. Resilience is one of the critical elements of risk management – it’s all about delivering the same expected outcomes even when the environment producing and delivering those outcomes is experiencing rapid transformation and stress.

Organizations should be aware that cybercriminals are prepared to exploit the weaknesses and security gaps that often arise during such events. Unprepared users and unsecured systems can quickly become conduits for malware and malicious activity. Since time is of the essence, security must be an integral element of any teleworker strategy.

Here are six things to consider when faced with the need to securely move traditional on-site workers to remote locations.

1.VPN and Endpoint Security: Make sure all users have a laptop loaded with all of the essential applications they need to do their job. In addition, that laptop needs to include a pre-configured client to provide VPN connectivity to corporate headquarters.

  1. Multifactor Authentication: Multifactor authentication helps prevent cybercriminals from using stolen passwords to access networked resources. To enable more secure access, every user needs to also be provided with a secure authentication token. These tokens can be a physical device (such as a key fob), or software-based (like a phone app), and are used when making a VPN connection or logging into the network to provide an additional layer of identity validation.
  2. Persistent Connectivity: Pre-configured wireless access points enable secure connectivity from a user’s remote location to the corporate network through a reliable, secure tunnel. For a more secure connection, a wireless access point can be combined with a desktop-based next-generation firewall to enable persistent connections, advanced admission control, and a full spectrum of advanced security services, including Data Loss Prevention.
  3. Secure Telephony: These users also require a telephony solution that supports voice over IP (VoIP) to ensure secure communications. Both physical and soft client models are available that enable users to make or receive calls, access voicemail, check call history, and search the organization’s directory.
  4. User and Device Authentication: A central authentication service connected to the network’s active directory, LDAP, and Radius enables remote workers to securely connect to network services at scale. This solution should also support single sign-on services, certificate management, and guest management.
  5. Advanced Perimeter Security: An NGFW solution needs to securely terminate VPN connections, provide advanced threat protection – including the analysis of malware and other suspicious content within a sandboxed environment before it reaches its destination and high-performance inspection of clear-text and encrypted traffic to eliminate malware and malicious traffic. Scalability for this function is especially critical, as the inspection of encrypted data is extremely processor-intensive. Without advanced security processors designed to inspect high volumes of encrypted traffic, NGFW solutions can quickly become a bottleneck that can impact teleworker productivity.

A Secure Foundation Ensures Scalable Business Continuity: Business continuity and disaster recovery programs require a teleworker strategy that can support a remote workforce with little or no notice, without compromising network security. Such a solution needs to enable secure access to critical resources while scaling to meet the demands of your entire workforce on day one.

These business continuity solutions also need to be easily deployable and configurable, ideally with zero-touch provisioning, to enable a quick transition to a remote workforce while maintaining full security visibility and control regardless of their deployment environment. This ensures that the organization can quickly respond to critical events with minimal impact on productivity and profitability.

Pankit Desai, co-Founder and CEO, Sequretek

This pandemic situation has forced companies to take several measures to continue productive engagement with their employees. For most enterprises, this has to be done with a very short time to prepare and understand security risks. In the absence of qualified staff, there are few things that can be looked at for reducing the risk –

  1. Ensure that the devices that are used to work from home have adequate and updated security software
  2. Communication will be on an open internet, so, one would need to have VPN software with an authentication mechanism for secure communication
  3. For the data center, it would be good to get the infrastructure monitored for any anomalous behavior
  4. Network security devices and rules will need to be reconfigured to support external communication but also things like geofencing could be implemented to restrict traffic.

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