If you suspect an active attack on your business, call our emergency hotline at: 612-399-9680
If you suspect an active attack on your business, call our emergency hotline at: 612-399-9680

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The Zero Trust Model

What is zero trust? Zero trust (ZT) is a security model wherein nothing is trusted; all users must be authenticated at each log-in to ensure their legitimacy. Full zero trust should be employed across every part of the infrastructure, endpoints, and stacks for services that a company runs. Consider a standard website with databases—each individual server or service by default does not trust anyone or anything. To be trusted, you need to be completely verified and identifiable. Another element of zero trust involves least privileged access, which is only giving access on a need-to-know basis to reduce a user’s digital

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SOC 2® Assessment: Type 1 vs. Type 2 and Why a Company Should Have One

SOC 2 Type 1 and Type 2 Commonalities A SOC 2 – Type 1 and SOC 2 – Type 2 Report have many things in common – system description, management’s assertion, and a description of controls as they relate to the Trust Service Criteria. Both reports analyze and report on the design and implementation of the system description and the suitability of control design. The differentiator between the two reports is operating effectiveness. What are Controls in a SOC 2 Assessment? “Controls operating effectively provide reasonable assurance of achieving the service organization’s service commitments and system requirements based on the

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Penetration Testing: What is it? How is it Priced?

Penetration (pen) testing is a method of testing network or application security. Executed by a third-party service, experienced testers attempt to access a network utilizing the same tools and attack vectors as threat actors to identify any gaps in a company’s cyber defenses. Their findings are then reported back to the company in detail.  Types of Penetration Testing Internal This type of pen testing focuses on assessing any internal network weaknesses.   One kind of internal pen testing is blackbox testing. This is when a company provides the pen tester an IP address. They attempt to use that address to gain

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Manufacturing’s Biggest Cybersecurity Issues

Manufacturing has several unique problems when it comes to cybersecurity and the threat landscape, namely a distinct lack of funding and personnel that contributes to an excess of vulnerable, outdated legacy systems.    The Manufacturing Industry’s Biggest Security Problems  Downtime  As an industry, manufacturing is acutely vulnerable to downtime. While some industries can somewhat work around network downtime, those in manufacturing cannot because they rely on these networks to operate their machines. No working machines cause a hard, immediate stop to operations. This halt in operations then creates a heightened sense of urgency to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, this degree of

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Red Team Vs. Blue Team: Differences and Benefits

Red team vs. blue team exercises are a valuable learning tool for security teams. In these scenarios, the red team simulates an attack that the blue team needs to defend against. By doing this, the blue team has the opportunity to test their skills in an active environment and better prepare for real attacks.  What is the Red Team?  The red team is a group of individuals experienced in penetration testing and vulnerability scanning that are tasked with simulating a cyber attack. By utilizing the same tools, techniques, and tactics that criminals use, these team members can launch a highly

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U.S. Passes Two New Cybersecurity Bills Into Law

On Tuesday June 21, 2022, President Biden signed two cybersecurity bills into law. This was a bipartisan effort, with approval from both Democratic and Republican senators and representatives, which shows the importance of improving the United States’ cybersecurity strategies.   These new laws are the Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2021 and the State and Local Government Cyber Security Act of 2021, per a White House press release.  Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2021 The Federal Rotation Cyber Workforce Program (bill S. 1097) establishes a rotational cyber workforce program within the Federal Cyber Workforce Strategy, under which

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What Motivates a Hacker?

Cyber attacks happen every day, and it’s no secret that they are increasing in frequency and sophistication. While threat actors generally don’t discriminate based on company size or type of organization, the criminal’s motivation for attack generally points to the victim. Understanding the why behind a cyber attack is critical in developing effective cybersecurity strategies to protect your organization.   4 Common Motivations Monetary Motivations  Monetary gain is perhaps the most common reason for hackers to attack an organization or an individual. In these cases, threat actors (often affiliated with cybercrime gangs) target companies they believe will pay a ransom to

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How Do IT Directors Communicate to CFO’s the Value of Cybersecurity?

IT Directors, CIOs, CISOs and Other Non-technical Decision Makers As with any corporate relationship, the one between CIOs and CFOs depends on the organization. When it comes to making cybersecurity decisions, some companies are more IT driven with CIOs and CISOs taking the lead; other companies have CFOS and other leadership making the decisions. Budgeting also has an impact on these decisions. IT teams often have a budget for cybersecurity needs; however, CFOs will usually have the final say. For example, if a CIO needs a vulnerability management provider, they first choose the best-in-class option and then check in with

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Cultivating a Cybersecurity Culture

The Importance of Making Cybersecurity a Part of Your Company Culture Most organizations are fully aware of the importance of effective cybersecurity strategies and the risks of what can happen without them. Companies have devoted both time and resources to training and educating their staff accordingly, but that isn’t enough. Without a valued culture of cyber awareness in an organization, the higher the risk of an attack.   Often in cybersecurity incidents, the weak link into the network is a person within that organization. That could be someone who clicked the link in a phishing email, used a compromised flash drive,

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Hardening Cyber Defenses

Ways to Harden Your Cyber Defenses Today

If someone called you right now from an unknown number, what would you do? Most people would ignore the call if they were not expecting it. This was not always the case. There was a time before caller ID in which people had to answer to find out who was calling. Now, thanks to innovations in phone technology, we can see who is calling without answering and simply ignore suspicious phone calls. If the same approach was taken towards email, a huge portion of cyber attacks could be eliminated. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) Internet Crime

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Job Phishing Scams and How to Avoid Them

Job Phishing Scams and How to Avoid Them

Searching for a new job is hard enough without also worrying about employment scams. Unfortunately, fraudulent job postings have always been around, and thanks to the advent of technology, are only becoming more convincing. The practice of job scamming itself has become more accessible and lucrative. In an employment scam, cyber criminals leverage their position as a potential employer to persuade victims to pass along their personal identifiable information (PII). With this information in hand, the scammers are then able to execute a variety of illegal activities like identity theft, setting up fake financial accounts, taking over existing financial accounts,

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MSP vs MSSP—What’s the Difference?

MSP vs MSSP—What’s the Difference?

Managed service providers (MSP) and managed security service providers (MSSP) are both incredibly useful tools for businesses, but there is one major difference that sets an MSSP apart from an MSP: security. Unlike an MSP, which focuses more on IT support, an MSSP provides 24/7 cybersecurity support. It’s important to understand the differences between these two types of third-party services when evaluating your business needs. MSP As the internet world developed in the early ‘00s, so did internet speeds and the ability to provide IT services remotely. This allowed businesses who did not have the bandwidth or expertise to internally

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Cybersecurity News 2021: Year in Review

Cybersecurity News 2021: Year in Review

This year is on its way out, but before we say goodbye, let’s take stock of the major 2021 cybersecurity events. As we’ll see, the major attacks used ransomware, attackers demanded millions of dollars in exchange for decryption tools, and attacked companies usually paid up. And while 2 out of 3 of Americans are “very concerned” about hackers, by October there were already more data breaches for 2021 than there were in all of 2020. 2021 is poised to set a single-year record for these transgressions. Attacks While we could point to many different cyber attacks from 2021, here are

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Apache Log4j Vulnerability

Apache Log4j Vulnerability

What is the Apache Log4j Vulnerability? The Log4j vulnerability allows threat actors to execute code remotely on a targeted computer. What is Log4j? Log4j is a Java library for logging error messages in applications. What is Log4j used for? Log4j is used in both consumer and enterprise services to log security and performance information. It is used in websites, applications, and operational technology products. What versions of Apache’s Log4j are affected by the vulnerability? Apache’s Log4j software library, versions 2.0-beta9 to 2.14.1, known as “Log4Shell” and “Logjam.” Need Immediate Help? How to protect against the Log4j vulnerability: Prioritize patching. Enumerate

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GoCD Vulnerability Allows Potential for Supply Chain Attacks

GoCD Vulnerability Allows Potential for Supply Chain Attacks

GoCD has released a security update to their critical authentication vulnerability discovered by SonarSource, a Swiss security firm. The popular (and free) open-source, Java-run Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery System (CI/CD) is a broadly used piece of infrastructure, and its misuse has the potential for massive disruptions. Unauthorized attackers could use this vulnerability to extract encrypted data, create backdoors in internal or external software, or impersonate a GoCD Agent. Attackers could also obtain control over both software delivery pipelines and GoCD servers and execute arbitrary code on them. Ultimately, this weakness has the potential for massive supply chain attacks. The

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Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021 Recap

Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2021 Recap

The month of October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Threat actors never rest, and it is always important to do your part to keep you and your company’s information as safe as possible. In October, we accumulated a wide assortment of cybersecurity tips and tricks covering topics like phishing, working in a hybrid workplace, and general cybersecurity, as well as why you should consider a cybersecurity career. The following graphic contains an overview of this information.

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Prioritizing cybersecurity in a hybrid workplace

Prioritizing Cybersecurity in a Hybrid Workplace

In this day and age, employees are more connected than ever. The hybrid workplace is here to stay, and for employees, this means relying on connected devices from their home office setups. According to recent data, smart home systems are set to rise to a market value of $157 billion by 2023, and the number of installed connected devices in the home is expected to rise by a staggering 70% by 2025. In this new normal where smart devices and consequently online safety are a must, here are some tips for securing those devices. Remember smart devices need smart security

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3 Reasons to Consider a Career in Cybersecurity

3 Reasons to Consider a Career in Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity is one of the hottest industries today, with new threats and challenges emerging constantly. This means there is a huge push by both business and education sectors to attract individuals toward a degree and career in cybersecurity. Are you interested in joining this exciting workforce? Here are a few reasons why pursuing a career in cybersecurity might be right for you. Growing Job Market The cybersecurity job market is growing at an incredibly fast rate, due to the rising number of cyber challenges and threats. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for information security

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3 Tips to help deal with phishing threats

Three Tips to Help Deal with Phishing Threats

Although new threats that are cropping up in the cybersecurity space – phishing — one of the oldest pain points in cybersecurity — is continuing to wreak havoc. Phishing is one of the most dangerous “action varieties” to an organization’s cybersecurity health. Phishing has been a mainstay in the cybersecurity threat landscape for decades, even though its not talked about much in the media. Because it continues to work, phishing is still a common tactic used by threat actors. In 2021, more than 80 percent of US organizations experienced at least one successful phishing attack, a year-over-year increase of more

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Five Simple Tips to Mitigate Cyber Risk

Five Simple Tips to Mitigate Cyber Risk

Being cyber smart is the best way to protect yourself and others from cyber attacks. In honor of Cyber Security Awareness Month, Blue Team Alpha has compiled 5 simple tips to mitigate your cyber risk. Following these tips is easy, and free. Using all of these tips together can make a real difference for taking control of your online presence. But it’s important to keep in mind that no single tip is full proof on it’s own. Read on to learn 5 simple tips to mitigate your cyber risk that you can implement today. 1) Use strong passphrases/password manager While

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