Protecting Against Cryptomining Malware in 2019: A Layered Approach to Device Management and Security

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Identifying the symptoms is only the first step toward diagnosing and curing the problem. Similar to a parent with a sick child, your management tool can figuratively take the temperature of your systems and call the security doctor. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While no single solution stops all threats, managing devices effectively adds a vital layer of defense that can help reduce security risks to corporations and individuals.

Security: A Layered Approach

When it comes to cybersecurity, many organizations are investing solely in more security tools to manage risk. Unfortunately, this cannot create a perfectly secure organization. Security is far less effective without strong management protocols; you have to make sure the tools in place are being used effectively in order to protect against cyberthreats. By reinforcing foundational behaviors and keeping effective processes in place, you’re making sure that your team closes the window before they lock up. This can be done with the help of innovative and automated functions within a robust endpoint management solution.

Patch Management

At least 60% of organizational data breaches are due to unpatched vulnerabilities in both applications and operating systems. If you believe your users are all up-to-date on their system critical patches, think again—users frequently defer update processes to avoid potentially lengthy installation downtimes. Those gaps, fueled by end-user ignorance of the vulnerabilities, can create easy opportunities for criminals to gain access to devices and sensitive data. When you factor in the increasingly diverse device landscape filled with fragmented OS updates, the sheer size of the management task can be staggering.

IT admins need a simple and effective means to manage patch deployments from a centralized dashboard where they can track compliance and ensure these risks are being prevented. Automating deployments and compliance is a crucial aspect of layered approach to IT security management.

Even on patched systems, management tools can detect, for example, Windows services or processes that are running for the first time, which could be an indication of a zero-day attack.

Maintain Security Tools and Settings

In addition to plugging security gaps left by unpatched software, ensuring compliance of security tools is essential. Deploying critical security software is worthless if it is not maintained. Users seeking a way around VPN or firewall configurations can unintentionally damage or alter critical files and updates, putting security at risk. Well-intentioned but misguided users may utilize “shadow IT” to try and solve problems, sidestepping compliance processes and introducing more unknowns to your IT system.

Automatically repairing and replacing anti-malware, VPN clients, and other tools can reduce these issues. This automated self-healing can detect, repair, and reinstall missing and corrupted applications and associated updates that have been altered by either the end user or an outside system intruder. The protection and peace of mind afforded by this functionality is vital for protecting against cryptojacking and other attacks.

Manage Your Network

For cryptomining malware, IT servers are a prime target due to their increased processing power. Unmanaged or rogue devices can pose the greatest threat to your system and become a backdoor access point to your IT.

Making network discovery a cornerstone of your security protocol can show you what’s out there, identify non-compliant systems, and help remediate issues with devices, applications, and settings. Think of this layer of defense as checking who’s at the door before you open up your home and invite them in. A single console multi-platform management tool can provide you with the visibility needed to detect the threat and fix the issue before it causes a breach.

Future Security Developments

No single solution will mitigate all risks to your IT security. Layered management is designed to reduce risk at each security level by creating multiple levels an intruder would have to breach to access data and implement malware. In addition to the behaviors already discussed, investigating loud fans, slow devices, and other signs of overloaded hardware can turn up intrusive software. Training and educating your staff in recognizing and preventing these risks is essential—a robust endpoint management software will help manage the devices, but you cannot mitigate all risks without the buy-in of your end users as well. Your people are a fundamental layer of a holistic approach to layered management. Maintaining each layer of your device security and adapting those layers based on changing threats is a critical step in protecting your organization against digital intruders. 

For more articles like this, check out the Cyber Security Sourcebook here.

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