14 Feb
5 Reasons that your Business is at Serious Risk

What you may have inside your Businesses

Here are just a few of the situations IT Security Solutions has encountered when performing an assessment.

All of the comments are focused on organizations with more than 2 computers in their network, a Firewall and Virus protection on each computer.  If this describes your organization, then your business could be at serious risk

  1. If your organization has ever had a Virus or Malware in your computer or personal device.  Today’s intruders deliver more than one piece of malware.  In fact each piece of malware also includes the ability to scan your network, and find how many other computers, printers and other devices there as well. 

    Also, the malware only resides on your computer as long as it’s needed to update the computer to include a backdoor for the attackers to return.  That means that the chance for a Virus scanner to see the malware on the computer is seriously limited.

    More than likely, the Malware succeeds in the attack of your computer, and you will not ever know that your computer was effected, until it’s too late.
  • If your office has an internet connection which is used for business activities during the day, what else is permitted?

    This about the activities on Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat, here is a list of 65+ Social Networking Sites –

    https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-sites/

Attackers exploit the distribution of Social Media channels to connect and control tens of thousands daily. To the intruders, this is like shooting fish in a barrel.

  • If your organization uses a generous work policy, that includes any of the following.  Remote Access, Remote Offices, Laptops which are permitted outside of the office, remote workers.

    Each of these are issues which require additional care and security needs.  All of them introduce their own threats into your environment.

The above was written before the Pandemic put all of us in a Work from Home effort.  

Before Pandemic    
Business Security During the Pandemic    

Before the Pandemic, there was a definite definition of security protecting the organization. This was how the security of the organization looked. However, the security of organizations evaporated during the Pandemic, see the figure just below.

Even the VPNs that connect back to the Office, bypass the firewall and are permitted directly.  Think about the security at your employees’ homes.  Is there any wonder why the attacks are concentrating now at home?

VPN Connections proceed past the firewall.

 

The part that is missing above is the lack of screening from employees and the use of VPNs.  The VPN is intended to Mask the communications from one endpoint to the other while connecting over the Internet. VPNs do not protect the connection or the business. The Firewalls permit the VPNs to connect internally and do not filter any information. You may expect that the VPN protects your business, but this is not the case.

The VPN permits direct communications to the office and repeats the same situation that was exposed during the Target breach.  The Target breach permitted the infected computer of the HVAC Vendor to get access to the entire network, and the credit card information.  That was a recipe for disaster.

  • Does your organization permit personal devices to connect to your network, or have business email on them?  (this could be considered two different issues)

    Give this a moment to sink in.  On your personal devices (iPhones, Tablets …), where are the Firewalls or Virus Scanners?  You should realize that these devices do not have one unless you have installed something yourself.  Even if the device has a firewall or scanner on it, what level of protection do you expect that this provides?

  • How long ago was your last Security/Risk Assessment?  These activities are recommended at least annually, and normally within 30 days of making a change to the network.

    The important thing to remember here is that the Security Assessment is performed by certified individuals that are interested in protecting your business.  Ultimately you can choose not to perform the assessment, in which case the intruders will be performing the assessment, and they are constantly doing that. 

    When the Intruders perform the assessment, you won’t be told the results of the assessment.  You may not be aware of what they have discovered until they want you to.  That’s right, they don’t need to let you know, and you may not know just how much of the company that they have accessed.  Your current tools are not able to detect the intrusion or stop it. 

    In fact, today’s security tools can only partially detect the next attack.  Firewalls and Virus Scanners are reported to be only 4% effective.

How many of the above items can you relate to?  Do you have the tools we describe above?  Do you want to prevent the attacks on your computers, or allow the Intruders to continue to have access to your environment?  (prevention is the cure).

Bonus

Your network has likely evolved beyond the initial PCs, and Printers.  Many networks have added WiFi, personal Devices, and many other Internet of Things (IoT) devices which have no protects either.

Our personal devices (cell phones, tablets) are never off of the Internet, and we insure that they have sufficient power at all times.  We are now so dependent on these devices, that we also allow Business Communications on them as well.

This presents the opportunity for attackers to engage in our want for information, as well as the convenience of connecting to everyone (including high value targets), to get the access and information that they are seeking.

The critical problem here is that you cannot stop, what you cannot see.  We have the tools and experience to highlight the unseen activities, and stop the attackers before they can succeed.

_______________________________________

IT Security Solutions, Inc. is a Pittsburgh based technology company with 25+ years of cyber security domain expertise catering to businesses of all sizes. The solutions offered range from technology security audits and penetration testing to continuous network scanning. The company recently launched ITS Safe™, a proprietary managed security solution that blocks hackers from attacking networks – the largest IT security threat facing businesses today.

Year after the year, the Pittsburgh business community recognizes IT Security Solutions, Inc. for their domain expertise and thought leadership in the cyber security space.

Contact IT Security Solutions to discuss how you will benefit by reviewing your security today.

www.IT-Security-Solutions.comwww.ITS-Safe.com

412-889-6870 – info@IT-Security-Solutions.com

07 Feb
Its time for a Paradigm Shift for cybersecurity

ITS Safe™ Security Appliance

Seeing the Unseen

A shift in the security paradigm needs to address the Unseen attacks in the environment. Detecting the Unseen activities in the environment explains why there are so many attacks being reported on a daily basis.  The unseen attacks depend on the ability of the attackers to hide in plain sight.  We will outline several of them here to uncover the unseen activities within almost every network[1].

Security tools and their visibility

Figure 1 – Scope of security Testing

The image above describes the current state of Security Tools, Techniques and Practices. While the traditional tools and techniques are all point in time application of practices, we can also classify them as reactionary practices as well. Let’s examine the methods outlined above.

Security Assessments (review of security for a host, a network, software or other asset) are only valid up to the time the report is generated.  As soon as the observer generates the report, the Assessment of the environment ends, and it becomes stale[2].  This is a point in time observation.

Today’s Security Tools look for tomorrow’s attacks. Tools that security researchers and network testing teams all use to assess the activities inside the network are based on testing for Known threats[1], and how the environment will respond to the next attack.  These tools test the environment for detecting known threats[2] on potentially new attacks.

The ITS SafeTMsecurity appliance is designed to Detect, Defend against, and Destroy IntrudersTM. While other tools and testing activities look for the future state of security in the organization, the ITS Safe appliance examines all activities to uncover and detect unwanted connections that were completed before you began the observation of environment[3].

Everyday around the world, new activities are discovered in new and existing equipment, software, and third parties to organizations.  Firewalls are breached[4], Vendors we use are hacked[5], software we create is breached[6] and app we use on our phones are backdoors for attackers as well[7].

A comprehensive review of the cyber security digs deeper than reviewing the exposed 10-20% of the network, and actually reviews the active network as a comprehensive ecosystem.

Figure 2 – The visible network is a static view of the environment

IT Security Solutions recommends at least an annual Security assessment to determine the security posture and formal detection of internal activities.

IT Security Solutions, Inc. is a Pittsburgh based technology company with 25+ years of cyber security domain expertise catering to businesses of all sizes. The solutions offered range from technology security audits and penetration testing to continuous network scanning. The company recently launched ITS Safe™, a proprietary managed security solution that blocks hackers from attacking networks – the largest IT security threat facing businesses today.

As you can see there is much more than meets the eye when it concerns the security within your network. Call IT Security Solutions today, and let us help you protect your organization today!

www.IT-Security-Solutions.comwww.ITS-Safe.com

412-889-6870

info@IT-Security-Solutions.com

https://its-safe.it-security-solutions.com/contact-me


[1] Known threats are used in Virus scanners, network scanning, software analysis, and logfile monitoring tools.

[2] Security Tools cannot test for unknown threats because these events are currently not known.

[3] Think of this as reviewing the activities that are already active, that are not detected as tomorrow’s threats, because they are considered as part of the current environment.

[4] https://www.zdnet.com/article/sonicwall-says-it-was-hacked-using-zero-days-in-its-own-products/

[5] https://www.wired.com/story/solarwinds-hack-china-usda/

[6] https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/us/politics/russia-cyber-hack.html

[7] https://www.helpnetsecurity.com/2020/03/06/hackers-target-consumers/


[2] The Security Assessment becomes stale because the users in the network add additional threats from their use of the environment.


[1] Every network we have examined include several of these activities, if not all of them.

15 Dec
Can you TRUST your vendors?

The FireEye and Solarwinds breach.

I was drinking my coffee this morning and I read that FireEye was Breached.  What?  I read that a second time.  This time I also found out that their testing tools were also stolen.  This is bad, I thought, because FireEye is used in many industries, but to suffer a Breach and lose your testing tools will certainly compromise their reputation.

How did this happen?

According to FireEye’s website, this came as part of a Global Campaign[1]. More importantly, they are indicating that users of the SolarWinds Orion network monitoring product was the source of the Breach.

The issue here is that they gained access to the internal resources and utilized these resources internally to hide and disguise their activity. They indicated that these activities occurred earlier this year, sometime in the Spring of 2020.

When was the last time your company had a formal security assessment?  How about an assessment for the software you use internally as well?  While you cannot be everywhere all at the same time, mandating security assessments for the vendor tools you use is a good way to delegate.   Don’t forget to have an assessment performed on the network, your design, and security policies and procedures.

Everyone thinks that they have it covered, until they don’t. It’s what they are missing that causes the Breach.

Everyone thinks that they have it covered, until they don’t. It’s what they are missing that causes the Breach.  While we understand that no one wants to be told that they missed something.  

Which is better

  • Finding a problem and fixing it before a Breach,
  • Announcing it to the world that you’ve had a Breach?

… the cost of a Breach is very costly usually $200k to $3.8M or more.  These are also known as Business ending events.

The cost of a Security Assessment is generally a fixed priced and is easily absorbed by the business.  However, the cost of a Breach is very costly ($200k to $3.8M or more), and it is shared by the business and all of its clients.


Security is our Business

There are many ways to effect change in the organizations.  The most beneficial are the ones that are driven from the top down.  While organizations were built to support the business internally, the advancement of the attackers to gain access to the internal resources has changed the way we need to work on Cybersecurity.

Here are a few quick hits that will move the needle for you more in your favor.

  • Make time for a Security Assessment as recommended
  • Develop your company’s Policies and Procedures
  • Employ a comprehensive monitoring appliance to maintain your company’s security.

As we have seen in the FireEye Breach and other Breaches, the attacks are from the inside – out.  Meaning that they were able to get past the Firewalls, and not get detected by Virus scanners or other current technologies. These tools are all based on their ability to identify new attempts with the current Known threats.  That leaves all of the previously successful Breaches, and attacks using unknown threats exposed.

The ITS SafeTM security appliance includes out of the box capabilities to start working right away.  ITS Safe is built to Detect, Defend against and Destroy Intruders.  We are shifting organizations from a traditional security approach to continual assurance.

By implementing ITS Safe, the detection of activities inside allows us to eliminate the threats that other tools miss entirely.  Get ITS Safe Today to keep your business safe.

Minimizing the threats of attacks on employees and businesses are the basis for the development of the ITS SafeTM Managed Security Appliance.  Because attacks can happen anytime, the ITS Safe appliance continually monitors activities inside the network for both Inbound and Outbound traffic.

Sign up today to get a complimentary consultation

https://its-safe.it-security-solutions.com/managed-security-service-for-your-organization

https://IT-Security-Solutions.com –   Contact me now

We are your trusted cyber security partner.

[1] A Global Campaign makes sense because they are all connected to the Internet, and that’s still a Global network, if my memory serves me right.

10 Apr
KDKA News Radio Interview – April 9th, 2019

This is the interview on KDKA Radio News 1020AM, Pittsburgh, PA. This interview was on our ITS SafeTM Security appliance. Only the ITS Safe security appliance is a managed service.

KDKA Interview with Larry Richards, John Shumway and Albert Whale

The KDKA Radio website posted the following for your review:

https://kdkaradio.radio.com/articles/prevent-computer-network-your-business-being-hacked

If the computer network of your company or business is not protected, the ITS Safe security appliance would be a great tool to have.

The ITS SafeTM security appliance detects and blocks unwanted activities inside your network that firewalls and virus scanners can’t stop. (www.it-security-solutions.com)

“Virus scanners and firewalls attempt to block things. In reality, a virus scanner is looking to see if it can identify that you’ve already had a breach. It’s a reactive tool, not a preventive tool,” said Albert Whale, Founder of IT Security Solutions, inc. during an interview with KDKA Radio on Tuesday.

“Our tool looks at the packets coming in, on the network and determines if they are good or bad. If they are bad, we drop them and we block the hackers from getting to your computers.”

Private information can be leaked and identities can be stolen if an individual breaks in to the network of a business; it can be very serious.

“Sysco came out with some other marketing for our webinar, and they said 43% of companies fail within six months after a data breach,” Whale explains.

ITS Safe is different from other platforms because they identify attacks that are in progress.

“We have controls in place that detect this malicious activity, and then we can block it before it hits your computer.”

06 Feb
Help, I’ve been Hacked, with Albert Whale and Jim Loeffler – Episode 9

This is could also be called, the 5 stages of grief for consumers and business owners.

If you are using a Credit or a Debit card, chances are that you have or know someone that has experienced someone else using their Credit/Debt card. This is an extremely horrible feeling, and border on the feelings of being violated.

So all of the above, and my personal experiences are for what we, the consumers, feel when this occurs. Spin this around for business owners now. There is no one that makes them whole, in fact their clients are all looking for assurances that they are not going to be hacked, and that they are whole.

The problem is that most businesses are NOT getting a Security assessment, to determine what their baseline level of security really is. Without a baseline assessment, how secure are you, really?

The mission of the Risk Avengers podcast is to discuss current cyber security issues, procedures for protecting your business, as well as Compliance requirements for business owners.

Our 10 minute format is designed to make it easy for listeners to get up to date on the current People, Processes and Problems for your Business.

The show is Hosted by Albert Whale, Founder & CEO of IT Security Solutions, and Jim Loeffler, President of InTune Business Advisors.

Join us to discover the road for improved security and protecting your business, be it small or global.

The information discussed on this podcast is presented for informational purposes only. It is not intended as nor does it constitute specific information security or accounting advice and should not be acted upon as such.

Sidebar: