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Archive for network and data security

Six Easy Tips to Reduce Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities.

Corporate cybersecurity policies and procedures must come first.

CybersecurityThe news bombards us with the latest cyber-attack stories. Being aware of potential attacks is important, but what can a business owner do? Are you worried that cybersecurity vendors are going to try to exploit these attacks to sell you their products? Are you afraid that IT will ask for more money? Do you just keep doing what you are currently doing and hope a cyberattack never happens to you?

Investing in cybersecurity is important; however, you can’t afford to make a snap security decision based on fear that will do little to no good. Nor can you hope it will never happen to you. Cybersecurity is not all about new technologies. Often a change in policies and business practices can have a greater impact on your bottom line. Before you bring out the checkbook, here are six tips that costs very little, but have high security impact. Read More→

Power LogOn’s Reaction to Pass the Hash

Pass the Hash Protections.

Pass The Hash

Copyright: Walt Disney Productions

Last week I attended the BSide LA hackers’ conference to discuss that passwords are secure. At first, some of the attendees scoffed at my claim. I then went on to explain that it’s the management of passwords and the way some IT administrators configure their networks that causes the insecurities. To that point, they agreed. However, the more persistent attendees brought up the “Pass the Hash” (PtH) attack as the reason why passwords will never be secure.

Not being as well verse on PtH as with other attacks, I needed to do a little research before I had an informed response.

A Pass-the-Hash (PtH) attack uses a technique in which an attacker captures the password hash value on one computer and then plays back the hash without ever knowing any passwords. Ultimately, the attacker gets access to network disks, memory, network domain controllers, and other servers to install drivers, applications, and execute applications.

For a hacker to start the attack, he/she first needs access to a computer on a network with administrator rights. This often can easily be accomplished if IT inadvertently assigned “Administration” rights to a User/employee (Note: most Users do not need Administrator rights). Because Users typically do a poor job of generating and managing their logon password, the hacker easily breaks in the User’s account. The administrative privileges allows the hacker to drill deeper into the network. Even if a complex password is used, if the employee writes it down on a sticky note it only takes a cell phone camera to capture the password and sell it on the internet.

The password hash is the key to the kingdom with superadmin rights. The hacker can do anything, and can bypass all the security barriers IT has installed. All operating systems, authentication protocol, even Kerberos, and smartcard logons are vulnerable. What’s worst, there’s no defense, but there are protections.

Hash authentication is not a bug, hole, or flaw that can be solved with a patch. Microsoft, Apple, and others claim they cannot stop the attack. Therefore, the best defense is stop worrying and fighting PtH. Instead, keep the hackers from getting in in the first place. Here are some simple ways to start protecting your network.

  1. Don’t allow every user or employee to have administrative rights
  2. Administrator passwords should have a short lifecycle
  3. Implement strong, complex password policies
  4. Of course, maintain strong and up-to-date antivirus, antimalware, firewalls, whitelists, etc.
  5. Don’t use Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) or some other sort of interactive remote software to administrate computers
  6. Don’t allow or assign a superadmins. Instead, “delegate” just the rights an administrator needs and no more
  7. When and employee is finished for the day, they not only need to log out but power down the computer


How Power LogOn Addresses Pass the Hash

Pass the Hash is not a password authentication issue, but again an administration and system security issue. While Power LogOn cannot stop or prevent a PtH there are features within Power LogOn to make an unauthorized access more difficult.

  1. IT assigns complex passwords
  2. IT changes passwords more frequently in the background
  3. Users don’t generate, type or know their passwords
  4. Power LogOn can auto-shut down or log users off the network when their smartcard is removed
  5. PL does not store an “authenticator” in memory and therefore requires users to present their card every time they logon to an application or website while using PL SSO functionality
  6. If a thief stole a Windows users password or password hash it would not enable them to logon to Power Logon managed SSO applications or website

Again, currently there are no ways to stop a Pass the Hash attack. Access Smart does not claim that we can safeguard a company for such an attack. However, Power LogOn does add some barriers while keeping the logon process convenient for the user so they don’t circumvent cyber security. The best an IT administrator can do is put up enough barriers for a hacker that the time and effort to break into a computer and network is too great; especially when there are easier prey just around the corner.

Access Smart® Implements HTTPS Everywhere.

HTTPS Everywhere safeguards our visitors from malware.

https everywhereAccess Smart, LLC, a leading supplier of Cyber Access Control solutions, moves their website from the standard, unsecure Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) web communications scheme as specified in the HTTPS Everywhere program. As internet browsers like for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Opera put more emphasis on security with their “HTTPS Everywhere” program, Access Smart wanted to embrace this forward thinking cybersecurity program.

“Access Smart is a cyber access control security company”, said Dovell Bonnett founder and CEO of Access Smart. “We believe that cybersecurity has to start before the firewall and continue throughout the entire Internet channel. It only makes sense that we would want to do everything possible to protect all our website visitors and customers.” Read More→

Cyber Access and Physical Access Demo at ISC West

You don’t have to be an IT sepecialist to offer your customers cyber access security. 

Cyber Access Control Single Sign-OnIf you are interested in combining physical access with cyber access contol then please drop by the Allegion booth (#20031) at the ISC West show in Las Vegas for a live demo.  Access Smart will be demonstrating a contactless Single Sign-On solution that works with Mifare, Prox of RFID technologies.  Employees will no longer have to remember, type, generate or know any company logon passwords.  Your IT administrator can now be in control and remove the weakest link in their security procedures, the employee managed password.

Here’s what you’ll see:

  1. Use the same aptiQ or prox card for contactless Single Sign-On (SSO) and physical access.
  2. Multi-factor authentication that meets the US Government’s security specifications.
  3. Licenses are transferable.  Builds on your existing IT architecture.  No annoying subscription fees.

Cyber security begins by authenticating who is accessing the network. Now you can offer your customers a one-card solution that secures a company’s physical and virtual doors. Drop by the Allegion booth #20031 to see how easy it is to combine physical and cyber access on the same card.



Christmas Cyber Attack – Who’s to Blame?

A cyber attack Scrooged Christmas. Treat security as a process – not as a product!

cyber attack

 In reading articles about the resent Christmas cyber attacks, the authors’ key take away is that global companies are extremely vulnerable to cyber-attacks and data losses.  Guess what, so too are the small and medium size businesses.  Every business, healthcare service, government agency and educational institution is vulnerable since they all use many of the same technology components. So who’s to blame

 These last few weeks I have been asking the questions: “Who do you think should be held accountable for all the cyber breaches: the Merchants or the Technology companies?”  The responses have been most enlightening. Some blame the business owners, others the IT managers, some the technology companies, and some say all the above. Read More→