Cybersecurity requires a multi-layered approach

The internet has become a major channel for cyber attack activity, with hackers channeling social engineering attack threats and even using legitimate websites, meaning more people are at greater risk than ever. Financial fraud, phishing, malware, man-in-the-middle, man-in-the-browser, and man-in-the-mobile attacks continually result in huge losses for consumers and businesses alike. This has caused the cybersecurity technology market to thrive and generate significant revenue increases. However, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the end goal is to protect as many end users as possible.

Criminals target end users to make money, and as a cybersecurity provider, we need to protect consumers and businesses from these targeted attacks. To successfully mitigate attacks, a layered approach to security is best. A layered approach can be tailored to different levels of security. Not every asset needs to be completely secure; Instead, only the most business-critical assets, such as B. proprietary and confidential information, are protected by the most restrictive settings. If one system fails, other systems work. By deploying multiple mitigation systems, the organization can ensure that even if one (or more) systems fail, the system itself is still protected.

There are many niche solutions – and threats. Organizations today often need to maintain multiple cyber security applications such as anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware programs.

A typical layered approach includes five domains: physical, network, computer, application, and device.

Physical Security – It seems obvious that physical security would be an important layer in a defense-in-depth strategy, but don’t take it for granted. Guards, gates, locks, port locks, and key cards all help keep people out of systems that shouldn’t be touched or altered. In addition, the lines between physical security systems and information systems are blurring as physical access can be linked to access to information.

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Network Security – As an integral part of a facility’s information fabric, network security should include firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and general network devices such as switches and routers configured with security features enabled. Zones establish trust domains for secure access and smaller local area networks (LANs) to shape and manage network traffic. A demilitarized zone between the floor or room of the industrial facility and the IT and corporate offices enables secure sharing of data and services.

Computer hardening – Known (and published) software vulnerabilities are the most common way intruders gain access to automation systems. Examples of computer hardening include the use of:

  • antivirus software

  • Application Whitelisting

  • Host Intrusion Detection Systems (HIDS) and other endpoint security solutions

  • Removal of unused applications, logs and services

  • Closing unnecessary ports

  • Computers on the shop floor (such as HMI or industrial computers) are vulnerable to malware cyber risks, including viruses and trojans. Software patching practices can work in concert with these hardening techniques to further counter computer risks. Follow these guidelines to reduce risk:

  • Disable automatic software update services on PCs

  • Inventory target computers by application, software version, and revision

  • Subscribe to and monitor vendor patch qualification services for patch compliance

  • Get product patches and software upgrades directly from the vendor

  • Pre-test all patches on non-operational, non-mission-critical systems

  • Plan for applying patches and upgrades and plan for contingencies

  1. Application Security – This refers to infusing industrial control system applications with security best practices, such as

  2. Device Hardening – Changing the default configuration of an embedded device can make it more secure. The default security settings of PLCs, PACs, routers, switches, firewalls, and other embedded devices vary by class and type, which in turn changes the amount of work required to harden a particular device. But remember, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

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An IT MSP can help an organization transition to a defense-in-depth strategy in three ways. IT MSPs are able to chart a course for the business to better transition to this type of strategy without business disruption. IT MSPs can also identify the best technology, using their advanced knowledge of current cyber security measures and the threats the organization is most likely to face. Finally, IT MSPs can harness the power of cloud solutions to deploy a defense-in-depth strategy that consumes no more resources than the organization has available. Without cloud-based infrastructure, most defense-in-depth strategies would be prohibitive in terms of infrastructure and resource costs.