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Secure Your Enterprise Network The NSA Way, Starting With Zero Trust

Published: June 05, 2022 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.

The National Security Agency (NSA) recently released their report “Network Infrastructure Security Guidance” helping organizations strengthen their networks against cybercrime threat groups and state-sponsored attacks. The report is offered for free, and the CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) hopes tech leaders and others in charge of network security take advantage of the advice from one of the top cybersecurity agencies in the U.S.

This report begins and ends with “Zero Trust.” That’s defined in the NSA report as “Zero Trust is a security model, a set of system design principles, and a coordinated cybersecurity and system management strategy based on an acknowledgement that threats exist both inside and outside traditional network boundaries.” This report was written following cyberattacks that hit Ukrainian organizations with disk wiper malware.

Don’t Trust Me And I Won’t Trust You

Federal agencies have until 2024 to implement the NSA’s Zero Trust model as part of the Biden administration’s own push to ensure the improved security of U.S. agencies. Below are a few suggestions the NSA recommends for bolstering your own network security.

Install perimeter and internal defense devices. “A network requires a substantial defensive strategy to protect individual components and the information they contain. Multiple layers of defense should be implemented at the network’s perimeter to protect against external threats, and to monitor and restrict inbound and outbound traffic.” Suggestions provided include grouping similar network systems, removing backdoor connections, and limiting and encrypting VPNs (Virtual Private Networks).

Security maintenance. Upgrade hardware and software to ensure efficiency and security by verifying software and configuration integrity by maintaining proper file system and boot management, up-to-date software and operating systems, and staying current with vendor-supported hardware.

Local administrator accounts and passwords. Create unique local accounts with complex passwords, unique usernames and account settings, change default passwords, and remove unnecessary accounts.

Concluding the NSA’s Network Infrastructure Security Guidance report comes directly from the source. “The guidance in this report was generated from a depth and breadth of experience in assisting NSA customers with evaluating their networks and providing recommendations to immediately harden network devices… Following this guidance will assist these network defenders with putting cybersecurity best practices into action, lowering the risk against compromise and ensuring a more secure and better protected network.”

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