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strategies to mitigate cyber security incidents

Organisations can conservatively deploy DMARC if they are concerned about legitimate emails sent from their domain being incorrectly rejected. Automated dynamic analysis of email and web content run in a sandbox, blocked if suspicious behaviour is identified (e.g. Block access to malicious domains and IP addresses, ads, anonymity networks and free domains. User education won’t prevent a user from visiting a legitimate website that has been temporarily compromised to serve malicious content as part of a ‘drive by download’, ‘watering hole’ or ‘strategic web compromise’, including where malvertising runs malicious software without requiring user interaction. Such data might reside within organisations in various locations including government ministerial submissions and other documents detailing government intentions, strategic planning documents, business proposals, tenders, meeting minutes, financial and accounting reports, legal documents, and intellectual property holdings. a reduction in the frequency and severity of successful compromises, including compromises resulting from spear phishing exercises and penetration tests, that involved users performing an action that facilitated the compromise. Another common method of initial compromise, more commonly seen in targeted attacks but also seen with increasing frequency in automated attacks is the exploitation of public-facing applications. Why does it exist? Cyber security threat mitigation refers to policies and processes put in place by companies to help prevent security incidents and data breaches as well as limit the extent of damage when security attacks do happen.. Such controls include ‘micro-segmentation’ firewalling implemented by the virtualisation platform layer, software-based firewalling implemented in individual computers and virtual machines, and ‘IPsec Server and Domain Isolation’. Block unapproved cloud computing services including personal webmail. As the current COVID-19 situation develops, organizations must reconsider preventive measures and actions to take should a cyber incident occur. Adversaries typically access details such as the organisation hierarchy, usernames and passphrases including remote access credentials, as well as system data including configuration details of computers and the network. Windows Defender Application Control, introduced in Microsoft Windows 10 and Microsoft Windows Server 2016, is application control that uses virtualisation to help protect itself from being disabled either by malicious administrators or by malware that runs with administrative privileges which has already circumvented application control (somewhat negating the malware’s need to disable application control). Important servers such as Active Directory and other authentication servers should only be able to be administered from a limited number of intermediary servers referred to as ‘jump servers’, ‘jump hosts’ or ‘jump boxes’. Disabling local administrator accounts or assigning random unique passphrases helps to prevent adversaries from propagating throughout the organisation’s network. Some mitigation is provided by requiring all users to select a strong passphrase that is appropriately hashed using a cryptographically strong algorithm. Hunting is a very proactive and deliberate activity to discover cyber security incidents leveraging threat intelligence that provides an understanding of the adversary’s goals, strategy, tactics, techniques, procedures and to a lesser extent tools. Further guidance on spoofed email mitigation strategies is available at https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/view-all-content/publications/how-combat-fake-emails. Level 42, Rialto South Tower, 525 Collins St. Business Survival Assessment Service (BSAS), Managed Security Service Provision (MSSP), Security Incident Event Management (SIEM), Electronic Chief Information Security Officer (eCISO), 'Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Security Incidents', do not adequately respond to vulnerabilities, https://www.cyber.gov.au/publications/essential-eight-explained, https://www.cyber.gov.au/publications/essential-eight-maturity-model, https://www.cyber.gov.au/publications/strategies-to-mitigate-cyber-security-incidents, https://www.backblaze.com/blog/more-people-than-ever-backing-up-according-to-our-survey/, https://www.cyber.gov.au/news/updates-essential-eight-maturity-model, Threat Intelligence Report - 7th December to 13th December 2020, Threat Intelligence Report - 30th November to 6th December 2020, Threat Intelligence Report - 23rd November to 29th November 2020, Red Piranha continues global expansion with the export of Australia’s first XDR to the Middle East, Red Piranha continues global expansion with the export of Australia’s first XDR to the Middle East. Some users might choose incorrectly, for example enabling a malicious Flash advertisement located on a legitimate website. Organisations using operating system virtualisation, (especially third party) cloud computing infrastructure, or providing users with BYOD or remote access to the organisation’s network, might require controls that are less dependent on the physical architecture of the network. Change default passphrases. Further information about Microsoft patch MS14-025 is available at https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/2962486/ms14-025-vulnerability-in-group-policy-preferences-could-allow-elevati. Ensure password hashes and secrets are not stored in locations accessible by lower privileged accounts. Applications such as web browsers [36] [37] and PDF viewers [38] from some vendors include such an inbuilt sandbox. Sometimes adversaries compromise a legitimate email account or create an email account with a similar email address, which is then used to interact with the target. Log and report recipient, size and frequency of outbound emails. data transfers to unapproved cloud computing services including personal webmail, as well as the use of unapproved VPNs from the organisation’s network. whether the product generates logs and other telemetry metadata in a format that can easily be integrated into the organisation’s existing tools for performing log aggregation and analysis, whether the product supports searching for the presence of indicators of compromise specified by the organisation, whether the product and the vendor will exist in 18 months, how mature the product’s functionality is, and whether the vendor’s customer support team is responsive to adding key features that are currently missing, how scalable the product is, and whether it avoids overwhelming the organisation’s systems and network capacity. Perform vulnerability scans to determine the presence of any outdated systems that identify their version number. ‘Business email compromise’ involves adversaries using social engineering or targeted cyber intrusion techniques to abuse the trust in the target organisation’s business processes with the typical goal of committing fraud. Antivirus software using heuristics and reputation ratings to check a file’s prevalence and digital signature prior to execution. Security Control: 1500; Revision: 0; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS. The ACSC has witnessed application control conflict with anti-malware software from a different vendor that launched itself with a random filename in an attempt to hide from malware. Every day, new vulnerabilities and exploits are … Be aware that there are methods of bypassing the PowerShell execution policy, depending on environment configuration. Constrain VPN and other remote access, wireless connections, IoT devices, as well as user-owned laptops, smartphones and tablets which are part of a BYOD implementation. Patch operating systems. Note the exception for regsvr32.exe and rundll32.exe – these are required for legitimate functionality but can be abused to circumvent application control, which can be mitigated by configuring rules in Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET). Non-persistent virtualised sandboxed environment, denying access to important (sensitive or high-availability) data, for risky activities (e.g. EMET is most useful to help protect previous operating system versions, legacy applications and third party software: Server application hardening especially internet-accessible web applications (sanitise input and use TLS not SSL) and databases, as well as other server applications that access important (sensitive or high-availability) data (e.g. Further information about Microsoft LAPS is available at https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/download/details.aspx?id=46899. Network segmentation helps to prevent adversaries from propagating throughout the organisation’s network. Prioritize cybersecurity risks. Configure ‘hard fail’ SPF TXT DNS records for the organisation’s domains and subdomains, and configure a wildcard SPF TXT DNS record to match non-existent subdomains. eCISO takes advantage of the high degree of automation, eliminating the need to integrate multiple vendor systems, which are often not compatible with each other and is backed by Red Piranha's team of experts, to provide Governance, Compliance and Reporting functions to a customer, blended with some on-site services such as reporting at Board meetings. Analyse and action real-time log alerts generated by file activity monitoring tools to identify suspicious rapid and numerous file copying or changes. Use an implementation that is regularly updated by the vendor to mitigate evolving evasion techniques that challenge the effectiveness of this mitigation strategy. CxO … Security Control: 1542; Revision: 0; Updated: Jan-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS. performing malicious actions only if specific conditions are met, for example after a period of time or specified date has elapsed, after the user has interacted with the computer such as clicked a mouse button, or if the malware considers the computer to be a real user’s computer and not a virtual machine or honeypot. If the web content filter has the capability to inspect Microsoft Office files, quarantine such files if they contain macros, especially if they are downloaded from the internet rather than from the organisation’s intranet. Implementation guidance for associated mitigation strategies is provided later in this document, and a table summary of the associated mitigation strategies is provided in the complementary Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Security Incidents publication. Adversaries might compromise the email account of the target’s CEO or senior executive, or send ‘spoofed’ emails that appear to come from a CEO or senior executive. Share with users the anecdotal details of previous cyber security incidents affecting the organisation and similar organisations, highlighting the impact that such incidents have to the organisation and to the user. When performing log analysis of user authentication and use of account credentials, focus on: Maintain a network map and an inventory of devices connected to the network to help baseline normal behaviour on the network and highlight anomalous network activity. Security solutions, such as Microsoft Threat Protection, provide multiple layers of threat protection across data, applications, devices, and identities and can help protect your company from … Configure Windows end-point systems through group policy to disable Adobe Flash, Java, and harden Microsoft Office, web browsers and PDF viewers. contractual timely onsite vendor support to repair and replace damaged computers and network devices such as switches, routers and IP-based telephones. Application control is implemented on all workstations to restrict the execution of executables, software libraries, scripts and installers to an approved set. Organisations that don’t require the use of Windows Script Host are strongly advised to disable it [21], while other organisations should use application control to allow only approved scripts to run. Employees should be encouraged to advise the personnel security team of unusual behaviour exhibited by other employees as well as their own significant life changes such as financial, relationship and health problems. Microsoft's latest recommended block rules are implemented to prevent application control bypasses. Customised scripts could be used to generate an alert following a daily backup if an unusually high number of files have been deleted, created or modified, especially if such created or modified files have a high degree of entropy (randomness) indicative of encryption [48]. Dynamic analysis uses behaviour-based detection capabilities instead of relying on the use of signatures, enabling the organisation to detect malware that has yet to be identified by the cyber security community. ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) and ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT)). Web browsers are configured to block or disable support for Flash content. Disable Office add-ins. In addition to configuring system-wide EMET rules, configure EMET rules for applications that interact with potentially untrusted content, for example web browsers, Microsoft Office and PDF viewers. This includes deleting or corrupting user data, applications, operating system files, boot firmware accessed via BIOS/UEFI and other firmware, or configuration settings of computers and other network devices which prevent them from booting their operating system or otherwise operating normally. This document and additional information about implementing the mitigation strategies is available at https://www.cyber.gov.au/acsc/view-all-content/publications. Organisations need to regularly test and update their incident response plan, processes and technical capabilities, focusing on decreasing the duration of time taken to detect cyber security incidents and respond to them. Security Control: 1508; Revision: 1; Updated: Sep-19; Applicability: O, P, S, TS. Configure the heuristic behaviour analysis capability to achieve an acceptable balance between identifying malware, while avoiding negatively impacting users and the organisation’s incident response team due to false positives. executed by advanced persistent threats such as foreign intelligence services) and other external adversaries who steal data, ransomware denying access to data for monetary gain, and external adversaries who destroy data and prevent computers/networks from functioning, malicious insiders who steal data such as customer details or intellectual property, malicious insiders who destroy data and prevent computers/networks from functioning. This helps to mitigate adversaries on the organisation’s network from responding to name queries performed by the organisation’s other computers and collecting their authentication credentials. Encourage users to avoid storing data on local storage media such as their computer’s hard disk or USB storage media which is unlikely to be backed up, and instead use corporate file servers and corporately approved cloud storage services which are backed up. Don’t use operating system versions that are no longer vendor-supported with patches for security vulnerabilities. In cases where it is not feasible to disable the local administrator account on servers such as the Active Directory authentication server, ensure that the local administrator account has a strong passphrase. is able to decrypt and perform analysis of email and web content that was encrypted by SSL/TLS when in transit over the internet, analyses emails before delivering them to users, to avoid users being exposed to malicious content, rapidly and effectively mitigates web content that has already been delivered to users and has subsequently been identified as malicious – mitigation might include blocking the user’s computer from having access to the internet infrastructure that the malicious content communicates with, or otherwise quarantining the user’s computer. The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has developed prioritised mitigation strategies to help cyber security professionals in all organisations mitigate cyber security incidents caused by various cyber threats. Every day new vulnerabilities and exploits are uncovered and software vendors are continuously issuing patches to … Educate employees to never share or otherwise expose their passphrase to other employees, including via ‘shoulder surfing’. Perform content scanning after email traffic is decrypted. Permissions on files and network drives (file shares) can be used to limit access to data. Security Control: 1544; Revision: 1; Updated: Apr-20; Applicability: O, P, S, TS. Ransomware can delete accessible backups, sometimes spreads to other computers, and encrypts all accessible data including data stored on local hard drives, network drives (file shares) and removable storage media such as USB drives. Backups are stored offline, or online but in a non-rewritable and non-erasable manner. Configure EMET rules to mitigate the legitimate Microsoft Windows operating system files regsvr32.exe and rundll32.exe being abused to circumvent application control. Additional implementations include DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM). Use a 64-bit version of Microsoft Windows instead of a 32-bit version, since the 64-bit version contains additional security technologies. Patching Applications and Operating Systems - Two of the Top 4 strategies revolve around patching applications and operating systems. Security Control: 1497; Revision: 0; Updated: Sep-18; Applicability: O, P, S, TS. Perform timely log analysis focusing on connections and the amount of data transferred by Most Likely Targets to highlight abnormal internal network traffic such as suspicious reconnaissance enumeration of both network drives (file shares) and user data including honeytoken accounts. Some malicious insiders are motivated by money, coercion, ideology, ego or excitement, and might steal a copy of customer details or intellectual property. Network segmentation. Nevertheless, non-exhaustive guidance is provided for these threats on the following pages to highlight how the existing mitigation strategies are relevant and can be leveraged as a baseline for mitigating these threats. An appropriately configured implementation of application control helps to prevent the undesired execution of software regardless of whether the software was downloaded from a website, clicked on as an email attachment or introduced via CD/DVD/USB removable storage media. The ACSC urges organisations to exercise caution when using publisher certificate rules to allow operating system files and other applications to execute. Ransomware denies access to data, typically by encrypting it, until a monetary ransom is paid within a specified time period. Follow a robust storage media transfer policy and process when using removable storage media to transfer data between computers, especially if they are located on different networks or in different security domains. Avoid using implementations that are easily circumvented by adversaries using evasion techniques such as: Email content filtering. There are situations, however where software developers do not adequately respond to vulnerabilities or software is no longer supported (for example Windows 7), and a publicly disclosed vulnerability never receives a patch. The ASD’s February 2017 update, Strategies to Mitigate Cyber Security Incidents, outlines eight essentials that should be taken as the “cybersecurity baseline for all organisations”. Examples include: Servers that store user authentication data and perform user authentication are frequently targeted by adversaries, therefore additional effort needs to be invested to secure such servers. Scan files when they are required, follow best practices for securing them by requiring them to authenticated! 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