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Sunday, 04 October 2020 17:56

User Education is the key to stopping the bad guys Featured

User Education is the key to stopping the bad guys Image by Stux, see more at Pixabay

内蒙快三预测一定牛A recent advisory from the combined "Five Eyes" security agencies shows the attitudes by security authorities in relation to various forms of malware are changing.

The titled "Technical Approaches to Uncovering and Remediating Malicious Activity" is a combined work from the various security Agencies of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, UK and USDA and is broadly in two sections.



The first part addresses a variety of methods to detect the artifacts of intrusion without alerting the intruder to the fact that they've been discovered.

内蒙快三预测一定牛The Alert has a relatively typical list of places to look and iTWire has no issue with the broad scope of this list.

  • Running Processes
  • Running Services
  • Parent-Child Process Trees
  • Integrity Hash of Background Executables
  • Installed Applications
  • Local and Domain Users
  • Unusual Authentications
  • Non-Standard Formatted Usernames
  • Listening Ports and Associated Services
  • Domain Name System (DNS) Resolution Settings and Static Routes
  • Established and Recent Network Connections
  • Run Key and other AutoRun Persistence
  • Scheduled Tasks
  • Artifacts of Execution (Prefetch and Shimcache)
  • Event logs
  • Anti-virus detections

The document goes on to describe in good depth some of the more useful investigative steps. In addition, it points out some of the common investigative mistakes, for instance:

  • Modifying volatile data that could give a sense of what has been done
  • Tipping the threat actor that the victim organization is aware of the compromise and forcing the actor to either hide their tracks or take more damaging actions (like detonating ransomware).

There is much here for the budding security professional to digest and we won't spend too much time re-writing what the document says.



内蒙快三预测一定牛Of significant interest though is the second half of the document, "General Recommendations and Best Practices Prior to an Incident."

内蒙快三预测一定牛The order of the topics may-well surprise a few people as certainly we've never seen this particular priority ordering.

内蒙快三预测一定牛"Properly implemented defensive techniques and programs make it more difficult for a threat actor to gain access to a network and remain persistent yet undetected. When an effective defensive program is in place, attackers should encounter complex defensive barriers. Attacker activity should also trigger detection and prevention mechanisms that enable organizations to identify, contain, and respond to the intrusion quickly."

内蒙快三预测一定牛The recommendations are:

  • User Education
  • Allowlisting (it's no longer 'correct' to refer to whitelists and blacklists!)
  • Account Control
  • Backups
  • Workstation Management
  • Host-based Intrusion Detection / Endpoint Detection and Response
  • Server Management
  • Server Configuration and Logging
  • Change Control
  • Network Security

Again, there is significant depth to these main points - we strongly recommend iTWire readers obtain a copy of the document and look closely at it.



内蒙快三预测一定牛Robert de Haan, CEO and Founder of , also expressed some surprise. "The fact that the cyber agencies of Australia, the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand have put User Education at the top of the list of measures to prevent cyber attacks is welcome recognition that human beings can be both the strongest link, as well as the weakest link, in an organisation's cyber defences.

"This recognition is important for organisations to start taking user education more seriously. All too often, organisations undertake user education in order to address a compliance requirement. But security awareness training should be more than an annual one-size-fits-all computer-based training course and a simulated social engineering attack. To truly address the human dimension of cyber risk prevention, measurements of each individuals' attitude, behaviour, culture and knowledge must be taken into account.

内蒙快三预测一定牛"Done properly, user education can make a huge difference to an organisation's security posture. Our framework has helped our customers change behaviours within their organisations and reduce the damage caused by cyber criminals, malware infections and phishing attacks by up to 90%."

In addition, Richard Rundle, CEO of Australian allowlisting developer, drew our attention to that part of the document that spoke of 'allowlisting.'

内蒙快三预测一定牛"Allowlisting (often referred to as application whitelisting) has long been considered to be the most effective strategy for mitigating malware delivery and execution. The Australian Signals Directorate and now the Australian Cyber Security Centre have always been a leading authority in setting the agenda for cyber security in this country. It is great to see that progressive attitude permeating through our Five Eyes partners who are now also recognising the effectiveness of allowlisting as a critical control to defend against a range of cyber security attacks," said Richard Rundle, Airlock Digital CEO.

"We have seen firsthand, through implementations and customer feedback, how effective a robust allowlisting implementation can be in stopping attacks that traditionally other security controls have failed to mitigate. The reputation of allowlisting continues to be enhanced by the sheer number of organisations and government departments looking to adopt allowlisting as a foundational security control," said Rundle.

"The approaches outlined by the advisory in respect to allowlisting really is the minimum viable implementation. It is the view of Airlock Digital that the true security benefit comes when organisations implement a deny by default approach to the execution of all executable files, libraries, installers and scripts as opposed to just restricting unauthorised software packages."



This Alert brings together a good summary of current thinking in this area and iTWire strongly recommends people read it.

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David Heath

David Heath has had a long and varied career in the IT industry having worked as a Pre-sales Network Engineer (remember Novell NetWare?), General Manager of IT&T for the TV Shopping Network, as a Technical manager in the Biometrics industry, and as a Technical Trainer and Instructional Designer in the industrial control sector. In all aspects, security has been a driving focus. Throughout his career, David has sought to inform and educate people and has done that through his writings and in more formal educational environments.

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