A standard perimeter security defense focuses on policing in-bound traffic and defending from external attack. But, you need to secure internal infrastructure, too.
That’s because in a modern IT environment, with so many devices connected to the internet, attacks now come from inside your perimeter just as easily.
In fact, depending upon the vulnerability, your perimeter defense itself might become the attacker. And, although prompt patching prevents some attacks, it’s also important to monitor your systems and traffic for signs of compromise.
Both botnets and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are prime examples of these problems.
Let’s take a look at what these attacks are, exactly, and how to secure internal infrastructure in your business.
Federal Government Issues Warning on Palo Alto Devices
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently issued a directive for applicable federal agencies to update their Palo Alto Networks PA-Series, VM-Series, and CN-Series devices by Sept. 9. This warning is due to a major vulnerability contained within these devices.
While the vulnerability can only be exploited under uncommon conditions, at least one attack already occurred, exploiting the bug in these popular firewalls.
Palo Alto first became aware of the bug when it was used in a Reflected Denial of Service (RDoS) attack on a customer’s firewall. Experts also warn that hackers can hide their IP address and use the device to conduct Distributed Denial of Service attacks on other IP addresses, or even the device itself.
Although CISA’s directive only applies to federal institutions, to secure internal infrastructure within your business, make sure you update, too.
Is a BotNet Already Inside Your Perimeter?
Most DDoS attacks use hundreds, even thousands, of compromised devices to conduct attacks multiple locations at once. This is often referred to as a botnet, a network of devices infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge.
For example, hackers used the Mirai malware to create a botnet comprised of baby monitors and home routers, to take down significant portions of the internet in 2016.
And, because many botnets attack using small amounts of traffic, many organizations miss their own devices becoming involved in attacks.
For example, researchers published proof of exploits for a vulnerability announced and patched in September 2021, in October 2021, and February 2022. Attackers sought to exploit the vulnerability as early as December 2021 to compromise devices to create the Moobot botnet.
Nearly nine months and a January 2022 CISA alert later, researchers still detect over 80,000 vulnerable cameras used by 2,300 organizations across 100 countries. Over 10,000 of these devices reside inside the USA.
IoT and other IT infrastructure tend to be overlooked for patching and updating. Organizations often remain unknowing participants in cybercrime, unless they monitor network traffic and out-bound traffic for unexpected IP addresses or signs of a compromised device.
If you don’t secure internal infrastructure within your business, you too, could become a part of these issues.
When is a DDoS Attack NOT Just a DDoS Attack?
While detecting a botnet slave (an infected device) within your network is one problem, being the focus of a DDoS attack is a much more obvious one. Yet, sophisticated attackers utilize DDoS attacks for more than just direct attacks.
For example, in 2021, several ransomware attackers used DDoS attacks in combination with ransomware attacks. Some used the DDoS attack to cover up the data exfiltration and deployment of ransomware, while others used the DDoS attack to distract and delay recovery teams.
Of course, some attackers simply issue fake DDoS warnings to try and trick small businesses into installing malware. Since small businesses often lack teams of experts to fight off attacks, attackers seek to exploit their vulnerabilities and panic.
Blocking Internal and External Botnets
Although most DDoS headlines involve large websites becoming disabled, the consequences for smaller companies can be even worse.
For DDoS attacks on self-hosted websites, taking down the web server might disable the entire domain, as well as crash email, phone systems, VPN access, and internet access for your entire company.
Even if you host your website with third-party providers, you still shouldn’t relax. DDoS attacks can also be launched at VPN servers, email servers, or internet gateways to disable corporate resources.
This is why you should regularly monitor, test, and test your IT infrastructure for vulnerabilities and signs of compromise. There are many tools that can inspect and monitor firewalls, endpoints, and networks for unexpected traffic, unusual behavior, and unauthorized IP address connections.
Secure Internal Infrastructure with Outside Help
Whether you’re running a Fortune 500 corporation or a small online shop, securing internal infrastructure matters. From botnets, to DDoS attacks, and everything in between, your cybersecurity has a direct impact on your business.
That said, it isn’t realistic for all organizations to be so thorough all the time. At least, not without a little outside help. Every organization faces resource constraints, and many IT and security teams are stretched thin enough without looking for new problems.
Yet, help is always available if you refuse to become a victim.
Simply contact us at 412-349-6680, or fill out the form below, and our experts can provide a no-obligation review of short and long-term solutions for inspection and monitoring to detect and protect against botnets, DDoS attacks, and any other problems.