Prevent Ransomware with Proper Policy Hygiene

Ransomware attacks typically begin with phishing, credential hacks, or taking advantage of open vulnerabilities. Once the bad actor is in, they rummage around looking for access to their honeypot, a hub of data, to hold hostage. Maintaining good policy hygiene and access control is paramount in preventing and stopping the bad guys before they get to your data.

Remember the Target hack back in 2013? Hackers stole credentials from an HVAC contractor, gained access to the network, pinged around, found the PCI network and injected malware into point of sale devices at every Target in America. Overly permissive access to the network made this possible. Having a clean set of firewall policies and a segmented network would have prevented the bad actor from ever gaining access past what the original victim, the HVAC contractor, required.

DevOps Experience 2022

Access within an organization should be relegated to just what is necessary to meet the needs of the business: nothing more, nothing less. This is good policy hygiene. Unnecessary complexity caused by things like duplicate/redundant and shadow rules, increases the probability of misconfigurations, human error, and risk. Bad actors rely on humans to make these mistakes, creating paths to use as attack vectors, and they are often not disappointed.

Unnecessary complexity is often a byproduct of day-to-day operations. A port is opened for RDP (remote desktop protocol) for troubleshooting, but is never closed. Access is granted for temporary communication between devices, but is left open as meetings and other priorities fill the day. A rule is created for a resource and not removed once it is decommissioned. The scenarios are endless but the results are the same: rules are created, then forgotten, resulting in policy clutter that causes inadvertent access and exposes security gaps for cyber criminals to leverage. When working with thousands of policies among hundreds of devices and platforms, it is nearly impossible to properly manage these policies manually.

FireMon provides a solution to this problem. By centralizing all of your security policy enforcement data into a single pane, a rule repository, FireMon allows you to manage policies across all of…