Why Are So Many Organisations Turning to Managed Security Service Providers?

The technology industry is one that never stands still, but the cyber and security space specifically are even more fast paced than most other sectors of the industry. This in many cases can be attributed to the fact that the activities of cyber criminals are squarely focused on breaching enterprise security defences, because this is how they generate their income. Put simply your business is their primary target.

The pressures on IT operations, compliance and security posture are immense. Organisations constantly have to navigate the complexities of industry jargon and trends to keep abreast of the latest offerings and figure out the best fit for their business. This can be a full-time job in itself. But if IT is not your core business, then why should you burden yourself with managing it yourself?

The very nature of a Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) is to alleviate the pressure by allowing you as a company to spend your time focusing on your core business, customers and innovation, in the knowledge that the necessary tasks that are required to keep your company safe and operational are in hand with the experts.

The Experts

An MSSP is a specialist, who’s core business is IT. As a result, you’re leveraging the expertise of a bigger team, who are up to date in all areas, that is, not just on general industry knowledge or the threat landscape, but also on the specific solutions and applications deployed within your business. It’s our responsibility to make sure the tools we use and the services we provide are always best of breed.

We spend the time and investment to train our teams, to get certified and fully compliant. We spend the time working closely with our vendor partners to understand the best ways of installing and using their products. We spend the time evaluating new and innovative solutions to the market.

We put in all the hard work, so you don’t have to.

Proactive Operational Efficiency

Managing the daily IT related tasks of most organisations can take most of the working day. Focusing on continuous improvements to revenue generating business critical tasks as well as customer service improvements, is what in many businesses determines their bottom line. It should not be surprising to learn therefore that most IT related operational improvements and security tasks can often be relegated to the back of the line. As long as things are working, then in many cases businesses are content and happy to focus their attentions elsewhere. Until of course something goes wrong.

By outsourcing the important IT operational management tasks to a trusted MSSP, you are ensuring that your IT environment remains operational at all times, because it is the responsibility of your provider to take care of security advisory notices, security patching, configuration management, access management, performance management, availability management, audit management and many other mundane but absolutely essential tasks to maintain a highly available and secure infrastructure. It’s our responsibility to be proactive on your behalf rather than reactive.

Speed of Implementation

It is no secret that there is a growing trend for many companies to outsource certain services, be that networking, telecommunications, cloud or security services. Besides the obvious cost savings and controls it affords, it certainly also helps free up internal resources and time. But there is one other major reason why MSSP services are being consumed at quite a staggering rate and that is speed.

Speed of implementation, widely known as how fast one can act on an idea, strategically or tactically, is often times what can set you apart from your competition. With the massive growth of cloud adoption and the improvements in its capabilities, we see a huge increase in the abilities of an MSSP to provision and deliver services to customers that would have previously taken weeks or months in only days and even hours in some cases. The reason for this is often that the provider has already provisioned its service capabilities ahead of time, so the service is simply ready to onboard new customers as and when they are ready. This of course takes a lot of planning and forethought on the part of the MSSP in order to be able to offer these ready to go services, so it can be said that the customers speed of implementing a new or replacement service is directly related to that provider taking earlier action.

Introducing NetUtils Managed & Professional Security Services

Our range of Managed Security Services supports your business, gives you industry leading visibility of your network and most importantly secure your infrastructure. Consider NetUtils as an extension of your IT team; providing levels of expertise only normally seen in large IT departments with equally large budgets.

Visit our site to discover the comprehensive range of Managed & Professional Security Services available to support your business: netutils.com/#Managed-Services

A Deep Dive on How to Catch Phish

The modern email threat. The simple plain text email appearing to come from the CEO asking the junior finance or accounts payable team member to immediately settle the overdue invoice from an irate supplier, that has just called them personally to complain.

Call it Business Email Compromise (BEC) or CEO Fraud, it’s still a targeted phishing attack, and the number of incidents has been rising steadily. Trend analysis here at CensorNet shows that these emails will soon account for 1% of all emails processed – or 1 in every 100 messages our customers receive.

Defending against this particular threat continues to be a major focus for the team, and an area of significant innovation and investment.

Whilst FBI Operation WireWire resulted in the arrest of 74 individuals in multiple countries last week – that still leaves plenty more Phish in the sea.

The problem with CEO fraud email messages is that they are notoriously difficult to detect.

In a recent attack, the only attribute of a message that was changed was the ‘Header From’ field. The display name in Outlook (other email clients are available) showed the CEO’s name.

(Note: Even the From address in < > next to the display name showed something similar to this email address – donotreply@executiveteeammailbox.com – which should have been enough to alert the user, but security education is not the topic of this blog post).

Nothing about the sender or sending server was suspicious. The IP address was not in any blacklist, the MX record was valid, the sending server matched domain and responded to an smtp probe. There was no SPF record.

We’re still undecided as to whether this makes the attacker super-smart or simple-stupid. The simplicity of the attack meant the message was likely to make it through most email defences, but would rely heavily on the recipient user being half asleep.

What this example does provide, is crystal clear evidence of the need for an ultra-modern and multi-layered approach to email security.

Traditional pattern matching / recurrent pattern matching technology is as much use as a chocolate teapot.

Content analysis – looking for message content that includes ‘urgent wire transfer’ or similar language can be effective but comes at a price. And that price is a risk of false positives – incorrectly identifying legitimate emails as ‘Suspect’.

Although, you could argue that quarantining the occasional message chasing payment of an invoice will help cash flow and is still better than inadvertently transferring $25,000 to an account in China or Hong Kong.

Algorithmic analysis is a powerful weapon in the arsenal for identifying scam emails, but even with over 1,000 algorithms examining over 130 elements of the message (in less than 200ms, about half the time it takes to blink), there was little (read nothing) to fire on in this case.

What was interesting about this particular attack was the domain that was used. It wasn’t a recently registered or new domain – it was almost a month old. It wasn’t a nearby domain (or cousin or typosquatting domain), so Levenshtein distance (one of our favourite algorithms due to its power and simplicity) wasn’t helpful. But. The registrant had a history of criminal activity – registering domains and using them in attacks – and that meant a high threat intelligence risk score.

What the attack also highlights is the need to identify the real names of key individuals in external emails – particularly in ‘Header From’. Building a list of names of the executive team and board members, and anyone else that’s an active spokesperson for the organization, and quarantining messages that contain those names, might not be sophisticated but is still a very valid defence.

As a last resort, some email security solutions rely on the user entering in to a conversation with the attacker – asking for more details about the outstanding invoice, or exactly what detailed (confidential or personal) information the sender needed – building up a risk score with each message exchange until a threshold is reached.

CensorNet invest in combining technologies and techniques that identify and block the initial inbound email. Tracking smtp conversations is still interesting. If a user receives an email from a sender for the first time that also contains potentially suspicious content, then a banner across the top of the email advising caution might just be enough to cause them to stop and think!

Ultimately a combination of content analysis, threat intelligence and executive name checking would have stopped this super-smart, simple-stupid attack. Is it time to think differently about email security.

Ultra-modern, multi-layered defence wins again.

Source: https://www.censornet.com/resources/blog/