DHS finds internal website vulnerabilities

October 5, 2015 Arctic Wolf Networks

Threats are becoming more sophisticated on a daily basis, and organizations must do their best to protect their systems. However, many are slow to react or are simply unaware that a breach has actually occurred. Recently, it was found that a few internal federal websites contained significant vulnerabilities that could compromise agency data. This possibility could lead to the loss of sensitive data or impact national security, and it's important for these defects to be patched immediately to prevent any damaging issues.

Federal sites must be protected
When handling information that affects national security, agencies must do their best to utilize resources that will keep this data safe from potential threats. However, the Department of Homeland Security recently found lapses in internal websites utilized by the Secret Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Newsweek reported.

Although the audit noted that progress has been made in strengthening cyber coordination, it found more investment was needed in cybersecurity. The affected sites are utilized for case tracking, information sharing and reporting investigation statistics, potentially exposing data with far reaching implications. Some recommendations include establishing a training program for analysts and investigators to ensure that everyone understands how to remain protected in the cyber landscape.

"Without developing the department-wide training program, component personnel may not possess the skills necessary to perform their assigned incident response duties or investigative responsibilities in the event of a cyber attack," the DHS report said.

Taking steps for security
In light of undergoing audits or experiencing a breach, it's integral for organizations to be even more diligent to protect their systems. Even if an agency hasn't yet been affected by these threats, it's only a matter of when an attack will strike. SC Magazine UK stressed that education and a zero trust environment are essential to enforcing security. Providing training will help employees understand what to look for in potential attacks and how to respond accordingly in order to keep a breach from occurring or spiraling out of control.

Many of the breaches that happen are a result of human error, and these events must also be taken into consideration with a zero trust environment. This means that protections like  security information and event management (SIEM) must be implemented to ensure that any unsafe actions are caught. Monitoring user behavior in this way will help IT teams head off attacks and keep their systems from being compromised.

"Every action needs to be treated with the same degree of suspicion regardless of where the action is coming from," SC Magazine UK stated. "Ensure that any compromised employee-owned device does not remain undetected and able to crawl its way into the crucial parts of the networks and data. If an issue is noticed, it needs to be scrutinized and investigated until resolved."

At this point, no organization should consider themselves impervious to cyberthreats. Not only are there new issues appearing every day, but entities are also being increasingly attacked. By investing in SIEM, institutions from businesses to federal agencies will be better able to protect their systems and create a more solid security footprint.

Cybersecurity news and analysis brought to you by Arctic Wolf, leading provider of managed SIEM.

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