Is Your Organization Prepared for World Password Day?

Cybercriminals continue to exploit password weaknesses

The ninth annual World Password Day is May 5th. Intel initially created this event to raise awareness about the importance of strong passwords. Even after reminders and the organization’s updated security policies, per a Google/Harris survey, 52% of users reuse the same password for multiple (but not all) accounts; 35% of users reuse the same password for all of their accounts, and only 13% use a different password for all accounts. In addition, over 82% of employees admit to recycling passwords.

In 2020, the top type of information stolen worldwide was credentials. – over 60% of data breaches involved cracking or using stolen or recycled credentials. Although your organization may have strict password policies, that doesn’t mean your end-users aren’t reusing passwords for their Facebook, personal email, or Amazon accounts. 

Emphasizing and enforcing good password policies

Require confidentiality

ensure your employees understand the need for password confidentiality. Remind them regularly that sharing or having “post-it” notes with passwords is not allowed.

Use block-listing

automatically prohibit specific passwords or password strings like the famous “123password”. 

Set a minimum length

typically, a minimum of eight characters and symbols is required, but your organization may want to use a longer length.

Set a password history

don’t allow the reuse of previous passwords (going back at least four to six prior passwords) to discourage people from cycling through changes to revert to a familiar password. Monitor password changes and investigate employees who make changes within a short period. They may be changing to “outsmart” the password history requirement.

Don’t use password hints

although helpful in reminding your employees of their password, the ‘hint’ is often something familiar that a hacker can easily find out from social media.

Implement Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

according to Microsoft, MFA can stop  99.9% of threats to passwords. It can be implemented in various ways, from phone calls, text messages, or codes. MFA is a simple yet effective roadblock to accessing an account and strengthening overall data security. 

Reinforce password standards

training and reminding your staff about password guidelines should be part of your overall cybersecurity plan. Include password training as part of your security awareness training. Sending a “password reminder” is as easy as sending out this article to your team and recognizing national password day.

Password policies are just one step

Reinforcing good password policies is a simple way to increase your organization’s cybersecurity posture. However, it is crucial to evaluate your organization’s overall IT security to keep it safe. Contact Dewpoint today to set up an evaluation and take the additional steps to increase your IT security and reduce threats.

Five Steps to Lowering Your Cyber Insurance Premium

Increasing Attacks and Higher Premiums

Protecting your company’s assets in case of a cyber security breach is critical. Most organizations choose to buy cyber insurance to cover the cost of paying ransomware and recovering from an attack. With the continued threat of cyber-attacks, insurance premiums continue to rise, and coverage is decreasing. Per Gartner, “Less than one in five organizations spent the past 12 months without experiencing any phishing attack”.

Emerging Threats

Attackers are becoming more sophisticated, and new trends have emerged, such as:

  • Optimize ransomware delivery by using “known good” cloud applications, such as enterprise productivity software as a service (SaaS) suites, and using encryption to hide their activities.
  • Combine ransomware with other techniques, such as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, to force public-facing services offline until organizations pay a ransom.
  • Target individual employees, particularly those working remotely using potentially vulnerable remote access services like Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP)
  • Use multichannel phishing approaches that combine social engineering, voice, text message, email, and web attacks in a single campaign.

With the evolution of cyber threats, insurance is becoming a vital part of protecting your company’s assets.

Controlling Your Insurance Costs

Insurers review specific standards to determine your cybersecurity risk. The better your company scores, the lower your insurance premium. Below are five typical areas the insurer examines and steps your company can take to improve your score.

Enhanced Employee Training

Although most organizations require regular phishing training- training alone is not adequate. In this area, “one size does not fit all.” Instead, it is best to use a mix of small-scale, targeted phishing tests based on employees’ roles, ages, and work-from-home practices. In addition, you must train users to use good judgment, particularly in the difficult task of detecting imposters who request work-related activity. 

Upgraded Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Employees continue to reuse passwords, thus allowing account takeovers. A Harris Poll found that 78% of Gen Z users have the same password across multiple accounts. Hackers use “credential stuffing” (testing existing credentials gathered from public breaches) to access your systems. If MFA is not deployed in your organization, deploy immediately. Don’t allow MFA to be skipped based on a single signal if you have MFA. To further reduce risk and improve your cybersecurity insurance rating, implement a two-factor MFA (2FA) to provide an extra level of security.

Following Backup Processes and Procedures

Ransomware often corrupts the production environment and backups. Appropriate controls are needed to ensure backups remain viable after a ransomware or malware attack. Employing strict processes and procedures can help you quickly restore data from a cyberattack or natural disaster. Backups should be performed regularly, stored offsite, and tested to ensure validity. Although a company typically focuses on the network, they should consider if there are critical items stored on an executive’s phone that should be part of a backup procedure. Showing you are following written processes and procedures and updating when the environment changes will put insurers at ease.

Moving to End Point Detection and Response (EDR)

Although your company may have End Point Protection (EPP) as threats continue to become more sophisticated, is it important to also deploy EDR. EPP targets threats as they hit the perimeter of your network, while EDR aims to target advanced threats that have gotten inside your environment and prevent them from spreading. Since it is nearly impossible for an EPP to catch all threats and prevent them from penetrating your system, an effective endpoint security plan should include both EDR and EPP. 

Reducing Cloud Risk

Although the cloud has been around for more than twenty years, cloud security remains challenging. The most significant risk is from a company’s misconfiguration of cloud services, in large part, due to their extreme complexity. AWS, for example, has over 170 services and more than 7,000 identity principles. Managing all this is a daunting task. Adequate cloud security requires the use of automated tools. Your security team should prioritize investigating and acquiring appropriate tools. A few elements in reducing your cloud risk include:

  • Ensure that you maintain accountability for all the areas you control in all areas of the cloud, but particularly identity, data, and configuration.
  • Invest in tools to validate the security of your entire cloud estate. Don’t neglect SaaS applications that are increasingly supporting critical business processes.
  • Build contingency plans in case a critical cloud service becomes unavailable.
  • Federate cloud identity for all services with your primary identity provider and use robust identity validation techniques (such as MFA) for all users.
  • Be wary of trying to offset cloud consolidation risks by using multi-cloud strategies rather than creating resilience in a single cloud. Such efforts introduce complex and hard-to-determine dependency chains that are more likely to decrease availability than increase it.

What do I do now?

If you need help reducing your insurance costs or increasing your insurance protection, we can assist by evaluating your current security controls and recommending and implementing improvements. Learn more ways Dewpoint can help you ensure your company is Cyber Insurance Ready