February 28, 2024

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U.S. Cybersecurity Agency Releases Guidance for Remote Users

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has released the final Trusted Internet Connections 3.0 Remote User Use Case, which gives federal agencies guidance on applying network and multi-boundary security for remote users.

A remote user is a user who is operating a hardware device or accessing software from an off-site location, such as working from home, telecommuting from a non-agency-controlled location or connecting from a hotel, the guidance states.

Remote devices are those that are not directly connected to agency network infrastructure as well as personal or BYOD-approved devices used by personnel from remote locations or from agency offices, but connecting by an alternative method (cellular) to an internal agency network.

The guidance covers secure remote user access to an agency campus to agency-sanctioned cloud services and to untrusted web resources. It describes four new security capabilities:

  • User awareness and training: Agencies should ensure that users understand the security requirements for devices and networks not managed by the agency, including using backups to prevent data loss if the agency does not automatically back up remote devices. Phishing training may need to be stepped up.
  • Domain name monitoring: Agencies should monitor for subdomains created under their agency domains and watch for domain squatting, which could be used as part of a phishing attack.
  • Application container: Putting applications that run on remote user devices in containers may limit access to agency services and data.
  • Remote desktop access: Whether provided as a direct service or in combination with a VPN, remote desktop access should feature secure protocols and use strong authentication, especially if the remote desktop access is made available as a direct service. Gateways or bastion hosts can help prevent direct remote access to desktop instances, and agencies should prevent local file saving and peripheral use.

CISA said it expects the guidance to evolve to reflect technological advancements, changes in threats, and the lessons learned to help ensure its usefulness to federal agencies. The new guidance incorporates comments received on the draft guidance issued in December 2020. The 70-plus comments CISA received asked for more clarification on sending telemetry data and the application of specific security capabilities.

Commenters also suggested adjusting the use case to focus more on zero trust. CISA said it will coordinate with the Office of Management and Budget and the Federal Chief Information Security Officer Council on potentially developing a zero-trust use case.

CISA works with partners to defend against today’s threats and collaborates to build a more secure and resilient infrastructure for the future. Programmes and services the agency provides are driven by our comprehensive understanding of the risk environment and the corresponding needs identified by the stakeholders.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, CISA has also published a fact sheet to help public- and private-sector organisations prevent and respond to ransomware attackers threatening to release sensitive information if a victim does not pay the ransom demanded.

Ransomware is malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering files and the systems that rely on them unusable. Traditionally, malicious actors demand ransom in exchange for decryption. Over time, malicious actors have adjusted their ransomware tactics to be more destructive and impactful.

Malicious actors increasingly exfiltrate data and then threaten to sell or leak it—including sensitive or personal information—if the ransom is not paid. These data breaches can cause financial loss to the victim organisation and erode customer trust.

Internet-facing vulnerabilities must be addressed, software updated, devices properly configured and remote-desktop services should be regularly audited. Spam filters and cybersecurity-awareness training will help reduce the risk of successful phishing attacks, and carefully managing privileged accounts and employing multifactor authentication will increase cyber hygiene.

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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.

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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.

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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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