Defend your network security with threat intelligence

August 27, 20185 minute read

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When it comes to defending your business against critical threats, knowledge is half the battle. That’s why threat intelligence is an important part of your cybersecurity arsenal.

These days, nothing is safe. Botnet invasions, credential stuffing incursions, and even hidden weaknesses in your print environment could compromise network security if you don’t get up to speed on the latest attacks coming down the pike.

Here are some solutions you can put in place to protect your IT environment against current and emerging threats—slamming the endpoint doors shut on malicious actors who’d otherwise slip in and wreak havoc.

Prepare for the bot invasion

IoT devices were slated to outnumber the world’s population for the first time in 2017, and 20.4 billion of these devices will come online by 2020. As these connected devices boot up, Mirai and other botnets are capitalizing on their lax security and commandeering them in waves of destructive botnet attacks. As Digital Trends reports, that scary FBI warning telling everyone to reboot their router as soon as possible was no joke—it went out in response to a VPNFilter botnet attack in progress.

The bots are coming, and they’re not going to stop. But with a few smart strategies, you can keep them safely at bay. To start, you need to be able to recognize them. Invest in a solution offering sophisticated, proactive bot-detection capabilities that can help you identify dodgy activity, figure out what type of bot is behind it, and coordinate a tailored, effective response. Actionable threat intelligence can help you learn how likely your business is to be targeted by a particular threat actor or attack campaign, enabling you to deploy effective network security strategies to deter them.

You should also use a solution that taps intelligence feeds, like IP intelligence, to automatically neutralize bot-hosting endpoints sitting on the Layer 3 level of your network. Solutions offering always-on defense can ward off assaults, like DDoS attacks, web scraping, and brute force attacks, before they have a chance to take hold. Multifactor authentication and advanced defense methods, like JS and CAPTCHA challenges, make it harder for bots to get a digital foot in the door.

Protect your credentials at all costs

As the Equifax breach proved, it’s increasingly hard to keep login credentials private these days. You can, of course, mitigate some of the threat by having your employees regularly update each of their accounts with a strong, unique password and lock it down even further with multifactor authentication, but while you’re working on that, bots are out there using your colleagues’ login information in credential stuffing attacks—repeatedly attempting to stuff login forms with stolen credentials. Once they chance upon an account using the same password they pilfered, they can walk right in and set up shop without you even knowing, helping themselves to valuable data and emptying out financial accounts in the blink of an eye.

How can you protect your business against a relentless adversary who never sleeps? Forewarned is forearmed, as they say, so teach your coworkers about phishing attacks that aim to steal credentials and how to improve their password security in security awareness trainings. That way, they’ll have the knowledge they need to keep themselves and the company safe.

You may also want a web application firewall in place, since it can automatically detect and fend off bots knocking at your door aiming to swipe your customers’ login credentials. Keep a lookout for failed authentication attempts and determine where they’re coming from to spot and shut down malicious endpoints that may give away the store, too.

Take another look at your printers

One scarily underestimated network security vulnerability might lie where you least expect it—in your print environment. According to Spiceworks, only 57 percent of organizations have security practices in place for printers, which is mind-blowing when you consider today’s printers are multifunction devices that require just as much endpoint security protection as any other device. For example, a lot of businesses still use the default password to secure their printers—something you wouldn’t dream of doing with a firewall.

Once a hacker gains access via an unsecured printer, they can often move freely within the network until they find the juicy corporate data they seek. Your businesses may not yet fully understand what types of vulnerabilities the print environment may harbor, but there are a few proactive steps you can take now to get out in front of this growing network security risk.

Priority number one is figuring out what’s going on under the hood. By conducting a secure print analysis, you can identify vulnerabilities in your print environment and plot out the steps needed to mitigate them—not unlike how sysadmins check their servers for vulnerabilities and methodically address them.

You can take your printer security efforts a step further by teaming up with a managed print services partner who can help you protect sensitive data in transit, defend your print environment better, and create a more secure print and document infrastructure. You can also take advantage of modern print security features, like run-time intrusion detection, which constantly scans for threats and sends proactive alerts to IT before an attack takes place.

The threat environment is expanding at an unprecedented pace, leaving many in IT wondering where they should focus their cybersecurity efforts. By keeping up to date on emerging threats that may impact your business while also taking advantage of threat intelligence features that can proactively fight off digital incursions on their own, you can make great strides in holistically protecting your IT environment against the threats it faces.

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