Network Segmentation And Training: Leadership Is Important For Preventing Breaches

An electronics manufacturer that contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense paid $500,000 to cybercriminals after its network was infected with ransomware.

In mid-January, the California-based contractor was the victim of a cyberattack that brought its operations to a standstill. The organization builds components for military devices and equipment, including radar, missile seekers, and electronic warfare technology.

The organization stated that the ransomware infection was caused by an internal domain administrator with the highest security clearance clicking on a malicious link.

The file encryption malware spread through all of the organization's offices and even into its on-site backups. Juan Lugo "Bitglass Security Spotlight: Cyber Attack Results in Defense Contractor Paying $500,000 Ransom" securityboulevard.com (Mar. 16, 2020).

 

Commentary

While many organizations focus on lower-level employees as a source for breaches, some research shows that higher-level leadership is just as susceptible to malware. The above matter strengthens that claim.

To prevent malware attacks, every person with network access must be thoroughly and regularly trained on how to avoid malware. Make sure that everyone, including your leadership, knows the risk of selecting unknown links and downloading attachments.

Second, network segmentation is essential. Network segmentation is when a computer network is split into subnetworks, each being considered a network segment. This can improve security by limiting the effect of a security failure, in some part (segment) of the computer network, on the rest of the network.

Limiting what traffic can reach your most sensitive data, including your backups, will greatly help to protect you from catastrophe if someone in the organization does download ransomware. No traffic should be able to reach your backups.

Implement the latest technology for network segmentation and segregation. A simple firewall is likely no longer effective as threats become more sophisticated. If possible, use segmentation technology at all levels, not only the network level.

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