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File Integrity Monitoring Could Save Your Company

File Integrity Monitoring and How It Could Save Your Company

With the increase in data breaches, the data security world is a much scarier place today. According to the most recent stats from ITRC (Identity Theft Resource Center), 2017 was a record breaking year for data breaches, and 2018 is already on pace to be more of the same. So with threats coming left and right, what steps can you take to better protect your assets? Enter File Integrity Monitoring.

Seconds of Damage, Months of Recovery

In many cases, you may not know for a long time you have been compromised. According to CNBC, most companies aren’t aware of a breach until weeks after it has happened. This is likely due to the speed in which the incident occurs. The attacker is there and gone in seconds. Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations states that 93 percent of cases where data was stolen, systems were compromised in minutes or less, but in over 80 percent of cases, victims didn’t find the breach for weeks or more. This kind of damage to your business and reputation can take months, if not years, to repair.

Hackers Often Leave a Trail

So back to File Integrity Monitoring and why it is so critically important. File Integrity Monitoring (FIM) is the first line of defense of any organization wishing to protect its assets and data. To explain further, once a breach is under way in your network, the attacker will often do one or more of the following.

  • Modify critical systems, application binaries and configuration files
  • Access or modify data files
  • Modify or delete any log data to hide their tracks

The research done by Verizon analyzed more than 100,000 incidents and 2,260 breaches. They found that more than 90 percent of the breaches will fall into this same pattern. By having a FIM system in place, you’ll be able to monitor for these subtle changes and be instantly alerted if any of the above events have been detected.

File Integrity Monitoring Sniffs Out the Breadcrumbs

File Integrity Monitoring is such a valuable tool that we consider it a vital part of the Advanced Security Package. FIM will run every day at an inspection time determined by you and will watch for any changes within your network. A digest of the inspection report can then be emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis. Additionally, another helpful feature is a heatmap data visualization, which helps you quickly assess the state of your network. Events on this heatmap can be filtered by severity in order to help you focus on the most important events in your environment.

You Don’t Need a Fortress

A further quote from the Verizon study really drives this home. “There’s no such thing as an impenetrable system, but often even a half-decent defense will deter many cybercriminals — they’ll move on and look for an easier target. Sadly, many organizations fail to achieve even that modest ambition.”

Sometimes, it’s not about the size of your castle. It’s more about the size of your moat.

Put FIM in Place Today

File Integrity Monitoring is something that is available to all Wind River customers as part of the Advanced Security Package. If you’re interested in learning more or you’re an existing customer looking to get these tools in place, feel free to contact us today. We believe in creating Security First environments and delivering these capabilities in a way that saves you money.

data security configuration

How Misconfiguration Can Lead to Data Compromise

configuration: the way a computer or computer system is put together; a specific set and arrangement of internal and external components, including hardware, software and devices.

Source: Dictionary.com

Configuration is Key to Data Security

Did you know that just about every data security related compliance framework contains extensive requirements around configuration of hardware and software controls? Why? Because the way in which hardware or software is configured is about as important as having the device or software itself. For instance, having a firewall is a good thing, but it won’t do any good unless it’s configured to filter traffic between the internet and your computer network in a manner consistent with your security goals.

Some examples of the importance of secure configuration come from Trustwave’s 2018 Global Security Report where testing of thousands of web applications found that 100% were found to have at least one vulnerability. In addition, OWASP (Open Web Application Security Project) has security misconfiguration on their top 10 list of the most critical web application security risks for 2017. Lastly, the Verizon 2018 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) recommends routine scans to identify misconfigurations before hackers do. Misconfigured databases, such as those directly connected to the internet and searchable by anyone on the internet, were a notable finding in the report.

Even on brand new computers, the default configuration for the onboard operating system is often not very secure. This is because computer manufacturers often have goals of ease of use, easy setup, or ease of establishing internet-based communications rather than security. As an example of this, I was recently setting up a new computer for my parents. As I was leafing through all configuration settings, I was surprised when I found that one of the default security settings was for the firewall to be turned off. Needless to say, I quickly turned it on.

How to Monitor Your Security Configuration

If you are a business owner or manager busy with running a business, you may not understand or have time to review your computer security configuration settings on a regular basis. For this reason, one of the security services that is included with Wind River Financial’s new Advanced Security Package (ASP) is Security Configuration Monitoring.

This is a service that monitors computer configuration against the relevant PCI Data Security Standard controls. It’s an automated service that detects configuration settings that are non-compliant and may weaken your business’s security posture. It does so on an ongoing basis which is important because sometimes employees intentionally, or unintentionally, change settings on computers on which they are working. It’s important that those responsible for a business become aware when settings are changed that may introduce a risk to the business which is exactly the purpose of this service.

Security Configuration Monitoring is but one of many data security related services that are available as a software agent download as part of Wind River Financial’s ASP. If we have not contacted you about enrolling in this program, you may be hearing from us shortly as it’s being rolled out in phases. If you have not been contacted but would like to get a jump start on it, give us a call or send us an email and we can get you started.

Data-Security-Detection-&-Prevention

Detection and Prevention – Two Pillars of Data Security

When it comes to data security, one thing is for sure. There is no magic bullet. Although it would definitely make life easier, it’s just not that easy. So, despite its inherent challenges, where should you begin? What is your first priority when it comes to data security? Here is what over 1,600 full-time IT professionals believe should be your number one responsibility according to Trustwave’s 2017 Security Pressures Report .

Top 5 Data Security Responsibilities

1. Identifying vulnerabilities (22%)
2. Preventing Malware (20%)
3. Strengthening Remote Access and passwords (13%)
4. Detecting malicious activity and compromises (12%)
5. Patching Vulnerabilities (12%)

Previously, we mentioned that only 7% of IT professionals believe they will not be the victim of a data breach. The is a sobering statistic. It should then come as no surprise that the two most popular survey answers highlight very specific responsibilities: detection and prevention.

Keeping Up with Detection and Prevention

With the number of breaches increasing and almost 80% of the respondents stressing the importance of detection and prevention, it would seem logical that the need for resources would be a source of discussion.

In the Security Pressures Report, 51 percent of the operational pressures come down to a lack of resources:

  • lack of security skills and expertise (15%)
  • lack of budget (14%)
  • lack of staff members (13%)
  • lack of time (9%)

For many businesses, they are finding it difficult to find resources and cost-effective ways to arm themselves for the challenge.

Security Tools and Managed Services

As businesses look to be more proactive, they are looking more and more at how they can bring together the tools they need and automate parts of the detection and prevention cycle. It is a theme that we at Wind River are hearing from of our customers and prospects. We believe that in order to stay ahead of the hackers, it is important to adopt a new mindset. Instead of each company trying to “staff up” and needing the same skilled resources, it makes more sense to look to companies that focus on data security, monitoring, and prevention.

Partnering to Win the Battle

As we look to help our customers in the detection and prevention battle, we looked to find a partner that has the focus and marks of being a leader in their industry. Trustwave was recognized by Gartner by being placed in the “Leader” quadrant of their Magic Quadrant evaluation.

In partnership with Trustwave, Wind River has now launched the Advanced Security Package. It contains key tools in each of the areas of identifying vulnerabilities, preventing malware, strengthening remote access control, and detecting malicious activity.
We invite you to learn more by going to our web site. For our customers, it is easy to get started, simply click here and check out the video and 3 steps to get started or contact your relationship manager.

Does-Data-Security-Keep-You-Up-At-Night-2

Does Data Security Keep You up at Night?

Data security has caused its fair share of sleepless nights for IT departments. A recent survey of 1,600 full-time IT professionals compiled by Trustwave in their 2017 Security Pressures Report shows us exactly what’s got them tossing and turning.

6 Biggest Worries About Data Security

  1. Theft or Loss of Customer Data (30%)
  2. Data or Systems Access Restricted by Ransomware (18%)
  3. Loss of Intellectual Property (16%)
  4. DDoS Attacks/Website Offline (14%)
  5. Reputation Damage or Loss (12%)
  6. Fines or Legal Action (3%)

There are a number of interesting perspectives to be drawn from this information. First, almost half of the data security worries are focused on two key areas: data loss or theft and in-system access issues. Both these worries tend to have a common root source – being attacked. Typically those attacks come via either hacking or someone planting or accessing malware, and as we mentioned before, data breaches were up 44.7% last year.

Are you a 7%-er?

At this point, an astute reader may have noticed the above percentages only add up to 93 percent. So what about the other seven percent, you ask? Interestingly enough, the Security Pressure Report indicates that seven percent of IT professionals do not think they would be the victim of a breach.

When you realize that only seven percent of the 1,600 IT professionals surveyed believe their data security makes them “safe” from a data breach, it begins to hit home just how high the risk has become. The goal can no longer be just compliance; it is has to be about being Security First.

What’s the Impact to My Organization?

In another section of the Security Pressures Report, the survey group was asked what repercussions they fear the most if their organization was breached. Two answers dominated their answers and accounted for 80 percent of the total responses. Coming in first with 42 percent was reputation damage to the IT professional and their company, followed closely by financial damage to the company with 38 percent.

In both cases, the impact can be attributed to another core concern – customers. When a breach happens, customers lose confidence. They may also be personally impacted, resulting in the loss of their business. Perhaps not surprisingly, the ability to weather the storm created by a breach seems to be inversely related to the size of the company. The smaller the company, the less likely they are to survive.

Why Security First?

In order to combat these issues, organizations need to take a proactive posture. Part of the answer is to always be reviewing your readiness. Another is to leverage key tools and expertise to help minimize exposure. Security First means thinking about data security and its implications as a business priority.

At Wind River, we aim to arm all of our customers with additional ways to keep both themselves and their customer or patient data secure. A key first step to maintaining this Security First mindset is by leveraging the capabilities of our Advanced Security Package (ASP).

If you are interested in learning more about what ASP has to offer, contact us or check out the package’s 13 tools to help make you more secure.

 

What-Are-My-Odds-of-a-Data-Breach

Seriously, What Are My Odds of a Data Breach?

Unfortunately, your chances of experiencing a data breach are growing each year. In fact, the trends and shifts in awareness pertaining to data security are frightening to watch unfold. I read a recent study that polled adults in the US, UK and Australia that asked if the number of criminals trying to steal personal information is increasing. Not surprisingly, the survey indicated that 85% of respondents felt that it was.

We recently discussed why having a “Security First” mindset and approach is important, and as we look at what is happening with breaches, the importance is highlighted even more.

According to the ITRC (Identity Theft Resource Center), cyberattacks and breaches have grown both in frequency and in the amount of losses sustained. Here are some of the statistics as noted in their 2017 Executive Summary.

  • Breaches again hit a new record in 2017, with 1,579 breaches tracked, up 44.7 percent from 1,091 in 2016, as businesses and government entities move toward timely reporting
  • The number of records exposed rose to about 179 million, compared with 37 million in 2016
  • Businesses saw 870 breaches (55% of the total)
  • Medical/healthcare organizations were affected by 374 breaches (23.7 percent of total breaches)
  • Banking/Credit/Financial saw 134 breaches (8.5%)

For a more detailed breakdown, you can see the year-over-year data breach numbers by sector and category.

Another key statistic from the report indicates that 59.3% of breaches were from hacking. Hacking includes methods such as phishing, malware and skimming.

With the number of breaches increasing and hacking being the number one method, it is clear that one area of your defense strategy needs to focus on identifying and mitigating the damage as quickly as possible.

Part of our “Security First” approach is to help arm all of our customers with additional ways to keep their customer or patient data safe. Our goal this year is to educate our customers about data breach risks and how they can start down the path to be “Security First.” An important component of that process will be encouraging them to take advantage of the security and monitoring tools in our Advanced Security Package.

If you’d like more information about other issues we see becoming more prevalent in the market, feel free to contact us or read about the dangers of ecommerce malware.

Is Being PCI DSS Compliant the Same as Being Secure?

Is Being Compliant the Same as Being Secure?

I was reading a study published by Javelin the other day, and a few details really stood out to me.

“The rise of information available via data breaches is particularly troublesome for the industry and a boon for fraudsters.” (Al Pascual, Senior Vice President, Research Director and Head of Fraud with Javelin Strategy & Research)

One of the implications of this statement is that fraudsters are being even more aggressive and looking for data, all kinds of data. While being PCI DSS compliant at any given point in time may seem comforting, the reality is the fight is ongoing, and it will take a higher level of diligence to not have you or your customers impacted.

How Safe Are We

The study included a frightening statistic that really emphasized current security issues.

“16.7 million Americans were victims last year, up from 15.4 million last year, the previous high.”

These are only the confirmed victims, not those with compromised information that hasn’t been used yet.

It’s Not Just Card Data

Just as sobering was the fact that the fraudsters aren’t just looking for card data.

“Large-scale compromise of existing non-card accounts in 2017 was clearly facilitated by poor controls as fraudsters capitalize on weak authentication.”

Even in the card data arena, the focus is changing.

“Card not present fraud is now 81 percent more likely than Point of Sale (POS) fraud.”

As card present counterfeit fighting capabilities improve with chip cards, the fight starts to shift online.

Compliance is the Wrong Goal

These types of statistics make it clear that the goal of being “compliant” is too small. Being PCI DSS compliant does not equal being secure. To combat these issues, organizations will need to adopt a “security first” mindset and approach, as opposed to the “finish line” approach.

Is there a silver bullet out there? Unfortunately, no.

As with most things that can be complex, it is about being diligent. Part of the answer is to always review your readiness. It also means leveraging key tools and expertise to help minimize exposure.

Are You “Security First”?

A “security first” approach can be hard, as many organizations have IT staff that are already stretched thin and aren’t able to make security their primary focus. Understandably, their role has been to focus the majority of their efforts on keeping your organization’s systems and technology running.

Advanced Security Package: A Strong Step

At Wind River Financial, we see a need to help our clients by bringing a “security first” approach. It is for this reason that we engaged with Trustwave and put together the Advanced Security Package (ASP) as strong steps toward this goal. It is too important not to take these steps.

The benefits of partnering with us and going down this path are many. It allows us to provide tools and capabilities that not only reduce your risk but save you time and money.

It’s Not Always Good to Wait

If you have not yet heard about the Advanced Security Package, you will soon. Our goal for 2018 is to reach out to every customer in order to help them in this endeavor.

This isn’t something that can wait. If you have not been contacted yet, feel free to read the details of ASP and then contact your Relationship Manager.

We look forward to helping you become “Security First.”

CYBER SECURITY AND THE ART OF WAR

Successful cyber-attacks can ruin businesses, livelihoods, and even the lives of Small and Medium Business (SMB) owners and their customers. The enemy continues to grow stronger, launching over 4,000 attacks at SMBs daily. And, the stakes could not be higher. This is not a game……this is a war.

• The majority of cyber-attacks are directed at SMBs, due mostly to the attacker’s perception of weaker defenses at SMBs as compared to larger enterprises with greater resources and defenses in place.
• Post-attack remediation costs of an attack can extend into the hundreds of thousands of dollars for an SMB
• 70% of SMBs attacked go out of business in less than 2 years after a significant breach

So, how do we win?

Oddly enough in these tech forward times, the answers may exist in a book written over 2,500 years ago.

Sun Tzu, the Chinese general, military strategist and philosopher who lived in the 5th century B.C. is best known for authoring, “The Art of War”. This seminal work has influenced military strategy from when it was written to present day. The Japanese military adopted many of the book’s principles as it built itself into a modern military power. During the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh had it translated and given to his officers for study, contributing to the Vietnamese Army’s success against the French and American forces. More recently, during the Gulf War American Generals Schwarzkopf and Powell employed Sun Tzu’s philosophies during that conflict. And to this day, “The Art of War” continues to be a part of the Marine Corps Professional Reading Program.

The following are a few key “Art of War” principles, rendered to address the cyber-security challenges faced by today’s business owner.


“Every battle is won before it’s ever fought.”

Sun Tzu speaks to the importance of being fully committed and prepared, well in advance of any engagement with the enemy. Did you know that approximately 80% of businesses are not fully PCI compliant? To extend the analogy, this means that 4 out of 5 businesses are already losing the battle.


“The expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him.”

An effective cyber-security strategy must be proactive, agile and restless. The advantage exists in forcing the cyber-criminal to react to the defenses being put in place. Ask yourself if you are acting, or reacting.


“A clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease.”

This idea is similar to the modern day reference to people who exhibit mastery within their field. Elite athletes or artists for instance who, “make it look easy”. But as we all know, that mastery is the result of untold hours of consistent and focused practice of their craft. To “win” against cyber-attacks, you must persistently invest the time and energy necessary to excel at defending your enterprise.


“Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.”

This translates to the importance of establishing and maintaining a very powerful security schema, while remaining opaque to outside forces. This of course includes software solutions, but also includes well-defined security policies and even training protocols for employees, minimizing inroads for attackers. And in the event that an attack is detected, we must move swiftly and strongly to obliterate it.


“The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

This is the ideal state that we strive for. One in which the enemy chooses to not attack, as a result of the perceived strength of our defenses.

We at Wind River Financial in partnership with Trustwave are excited to offer our client partners the robust offering with in the Advanced Security Package (ASP) as we all continue to fight this battle. We encourage you to contact your Relationship Manager for your Login so that you can activate these enhanced tools immediately. These types of serial upgrades are critical to defend your business. Equally important is the commitment of the SMB owner to making cyber security a top priority. Having the very best tools in your arsenal, in tandem with a committed and vigilant philosophy is the best strategy for winning this war.

To learn more about the tools you can go here. To speak with a Relationship Manager call our Client Care 800-704-7253 ext. 6828