February 28, 2024

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CERT NZ releases critical controls 2019

The annual list of critical controls that could help organisations fend off cyberattacks has been released by New Zealand’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT NZ).

As reported, CERT NZ’s critical controls 2019 is designed to help businesses prioritise their security controls based on their local and international threat intelligence.

According to them, these controls would prevent, or better contain, the majority of attacks they’ve seen in the past year.

Two major changes were made for this year, as compared to last year’s iteration. Two new controls were added. These are implement network segmentation and manage cloud authentication.

The two aforementioned have replaced removing legacy systems and managing BYOD devices.

Removing these from the list does not mean that they are not important. Instead, it shows the changing nature of the threat environment.

The 10 critical controls for 2019 are:

  1. Enforce multi-factor authentication (MFA)

Credential dumps and credential harvesting attacks are common. These give attackers access to large numbers of usernames and passwords.

Protect business systems and data by enabling MFA on all privileged or remote access systems..

  1. Patch software

Many organisations have been attacked by malware that exploits known vulnerabilities. Keep software, like operating systems and applications, up-to-date.

Doing so is one of the most simple and effective steps taken to secure the environment.

  1. Disable unused services and protocols

Older services and protocols often have their own vulnerabilities. Leaving them on the network gives attackers more opportunity to breach the network.

Identify services and protocols that are no longer used or are known to be vulnerable and carry out remediation.

  1. Change default credentials

In the rush to get new technology into production, security is sometimes overlooked.

A key step to take for any new application or device is to change or remove all default credentials. This will prevent an attacker accessing the network with known usernames and passwords.

  1. Implement and test backups

Backups are critical for recovering from incidents like ransomware. Store the backups offline and test them often.

Organisations often need to restore data from their latest backup in response to threats like ransomware.

  1. Implement application whitelisting

Two of the most common ways to infect a user’s workstation with malware are via email clients and web browsers.

To prevent this, identify a list of applications that the users need. Ensure that they can only execute approved applications.

Whitelisting the approved applications will help protect the system from these attacks.

  1. Enforce the principle of least privilege

Grant users the minimum level of access and control in the network that they need to do their job.

Remove their accounts when they’re no longer needed. This will limit the damage that intrusions into the network can cause.

Moreover, enforcing a separation of privilege is recommended. When a user requires administrative privileges, use a separate account.

  1. Configure centralised logging and analysis

Store and secure logs in a central place so that log analysis and alerting will be easier. Logs are a key part of understanding what happened in an incident.

Configuring alerts for key actions can help detect abnormal behaviour as well as indicate what to investigate.

  1. Implement network segmentation

Incidents showed that attackers use common management tools and protocols to gain control of other machines on a network.

Moreover, there are tools scripted to get credentials. The credentials are then used to access other devices and applications in a network.

Prevention can be done by using network tools like firewalls and following the other critical controls.

  1. Manage cloud authentication

Incidents have occurred where cloud authentication misconfigurations let attackers bypass security controls. This was done by using legacy authentication protocols.

Centralising authentication gives better control and visibility over who has access to the systems and information.

Plus, it provides a unified experience and allows MFA to be configured for applications that may not support it.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

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CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

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Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

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HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

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IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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