The following scenario is based on an actual attack deconstructed at a seminar I attended earlier this year. The names and locations have been removed to preserve the privacy of the organization in question.
No-Internal-Controls, LLC is a mid-sized pharmaceutical company in the Midwest of the US employing around 150 employees. It has grown over the past decade by merging with other pharmaceutical companies and purchasing smaller firms.
Recently No-Internal-Controls, LLC suffered a ransomware attack. The company was able to recover from the attack with the assistance of a third party IT Services Company.
After collecting evidence and analyzing the attack, the third party was able to recreate the attack.
No-Internal-Controls, LLC has a number of PCs configured for employee training
These training computers use generic logins such as “training1”, “training2”, etc. with passwords of “training1”, “training2”, etc.
The generic logins were not subject to lock out due to incorrect logins
One of the firms purchased by No-Internal-Controls, LLC allowed Remote Desktop connections from the Internet through the firewall to the internal network for remote employees
Due to high employee turnover and lack of documentation none all of the IT staff were aware of the legacy remote access
The main office has only a single firewall and no DMZ or bastion host exists to mediate incoming remote desktop connections
The internal network utilized a flat architecture
An attacker discovered the access by use of a port scan and used a dictionary attack to gain access to one of the training computers
The attacker ran a script on the compromised machine to elevate his access privileges and gain administrator access
The attacker installed tools on the compromised host to scan the network and identify network shares
The attacker copied ransomware into the network shares for the accounting department allowing it spread through the network and encrypt accounting files
Critical accounting files were backed up and were recovered, but some incidental department and personal files were lost
You have been hired by No-Internal-Controls, LLC in the newly created role of CISO and have been asked to place priority on mitigating further attacks of this type.
Suggest one or more policies that would help mitigate against attacks similar to this attack
Suggest one or more controls to support each policy
Identify each of the controls as physical, administrative, or technical and preventative, detective, or corrective.
Keep in mind that No-Internal-Controls, LLC is a mid-sized company with a small IT staff and limited budget
Do not attempt to write full policies, simply summarize each policy you suggest in one or two sentences.
Clearly, indicate how each policy you suggest will help mitigate similar attacks and how each control will support the associated policy
Students should use a title page, abstract, and references. ANSWERS ARE HERE
The following should be good enough for a small sized company to implement in terms of security policy to avoid attacks and save from many other similar problems from attackers on the internet.
– Policy to update the password on first-login
– Policy to change the password after every 3 months
– Password strength indicator with the following
– Mixed upper, lowe case and numerics
– Use of atleast 1 sepcial charatcter
– Minimum password length of between 10-15
– Policy to log failed login attempts and generate alarms for the administrators
– Policy to delay login attempts on every failed attempt and lockout after 10 attempts.
– Disable ICMP and other unused services on each host
– Enable VPNs for remote connectivity
– Restrict previlidges for remote users as per the minimum requirements
– Log and geneate alamrs for port scans
– Update Antivirus and other tools to detect malware using heuristics
– Policy to not open any email or or files that are unknown and unexpected to the user
The above changes will not only help the organization to proactively remain secure but also make the users careful that it is a secure environment. It will thwart any external hackers from being able to explore internal secure networks and confidnetial files and also guessing passwords (using dictionary attacks or brute-force) and log their action in case there are attacks being carried out from a particular IP address.