How do Cyber Essentials work?
Most criminal hackers aren’t state-sponsored agencies or activists looking for high-profile targets. Nor do they spend countless hours staking out and researching their targets.
Instead, they tend to be opportunistic, looking for any available target. In that regard, you can think of them as burglars; yes, they’re aware of high-value marks, but it’s more effective to go after easier targets. Just as burglars identify marks by scouting neighborhoods and looking for poorly protected homes, cybercriminals look for easily exploitable weaknesses.
Cyber Essentials addresses this, helping organizations avoid weaknesses and address vulnerabilities before criminal hackers have the chance to exploit them. Organizations can certify to Cyber Essentials by completing a self-assessment questionnaire that contains requirements related to each of the scheme’s five controls.
If you need help meeting those requirements, IT Governance is here to help. We offer a variety of certification solutions based on the level of support you need.
What are the five controls?
These are designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from private networks, but a good setup of these devices is essential to be fully effective.
Boundary firewalls and Internet gateways determine who has permission to access your system from the Internet and allow you to control where your users can go.
Although antivirus software helps protect the system against viruses and malware, a firewall helps keep attackers or external threats from getting access to your system in the first place.
The security provided by the firewall can be adjusted like any other control function (in other words, the firewall ‘rules’).
2) Secure configuration
Web server and application server configurations play a crucial role in cyber security. Failure to manage the proper configuration of your servers can lead to a wide variety of security problems.
Computers and network devices should be configured to minimize the number of inherent vulnerabilities and provide only the services required to fulfill their intended function.
This will help prevent unauthorized actions from being carried out and will also ensure that each device discloses only the minimum information about itself to the Internet. A scan can reveal opportunities for exploitation through insecure configuration.
3) User access control
It is important to keep access to your data and services to a minimum. This should prevent a criminal hacker from being presented with open access to your information.
Obtaining administrator rights is a crucial objective for criminal hackers, allowing them to gain unauthorized access to applications and other sensitive data.
Convenience sometimes results in many users having administrator rights, which can create opportunities for exploitation.
User accounts, particularly those with special access privileges, should be assigned only to authorized individuals, managed effectively, and provide the minimum level of access to applications, computers, and networks.
4) Malware protection
It is vital that you protect your business from malicious software, which will seek to access files on your system.
The software can wreak havoc by gaining access and stealing confidential information, damaging files, and even locking them and preventing access unless you pay a ransom.
Protecting against a broad range of malware (including computer viruses, worms, spyware, botnet software, and ransomware) will protect your computer, your privacy, and your important documents from attack.
5) Patch management
All devices and software are prone to technical vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals can rapidly exploit vulnerabilities once they’ve been discovered and shared publicly.
Criminal hackers exploit known vulnerabilities in operating systems and third-party applications if they are not properly patched or updated.
Updating software and operating systems will help to fix these known weaknesses.
It is crucial to do this as quickly as possible to close any opportunities that could be used to gain access.