The National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) and its partners responded to a series of data breaches in the public and private sector over the last year, helping organizations through incident response actions, conducting damage assessments, and implementing restoration and mitigation actions.
During NCCIC’s recent work, following best practices proved extremely effective in protecting networks, the information residing on them, and the equities of information owners. The recently updated National Institute of Standards and Technology Cybersecurity Framework highlights best practices.
Cybersecurity is a risk management issue. Our experience demonstrates that individuals and organizations may reduce risk when they implement cybersecurity best practices. The following are examples of best practices you should consider implementing today as part of your cybersecurity strategy:
- Implement Two-Factor Authentication: Two-factor authentication works to significantly reduce or eliminate unauthorized access to your networks and information.
- Block Malicious Code: Activate application directory whitelisting to prevent non-approved applications from being installed on your network.
- Limit Number of Privileged Users: System administrators have privileged access that gives them the “keys to your kingdom.” Limit system administrator privileges only to those who have a legitimate need as defined by your management directives.
- Segment Your Network: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket by having a “flat network”. Use segmentation techniques so that if one part of your network is breached that the integrity of the rest of the network is protected.
- Lock Your Backdoors: Third parties that share network trust relationships with you may prove to be an Achilles heel by serving as an attack vector into your network. Take action to ensure that all network trust relationships are well-protected using best practices. Have a means to audit the effectiveness of these defenses. Consider terminating or suspending these relationships until sufficient controls are in place to protect your backdoors.
For more information on cybersecurity best practices, users and administrators are encouraged to review US-CERT Security Tip 13-003: Handling Destructive Malware to evaluate their capabilities encompassing planning, preparation, detection, and response. Another resource is ICS-CERT Recommended Practice: Improving Industrial Control Systems Cybersecurity with Defense-In-Depth Strategies.