We’re an experienced bunch here at Mirus, so when it comes to our clients’ free IT Health Checks, there’s little we encounter that truly surprises us. Still, that doesn’t mean we haven’t discovered some serious security situations in our travels – not all of which are as obvious as you think.
Here, our Project Solutions Engineer Gary Darriba shares some of his most interesting security flaws, and how Mirus patched the holes before anything could slip out – or in.
Not Remotely Safe
One of our clients had – like so many others - set up Windows Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), allowing access to their work servers over a network connection. Innocuous enough – until we took a look at the setup. Access had been allowed directly over the internet without a VPN in place, while no policy had been configured to lock out any accounts after repeated failed password attempts.
This meant their RDP setup was a brute force attack waiting to happen; so long as somebody had the patience, they could attempt to enter the company’s servers as many times as they needed – or execute the software that could do it for them, at a much faster rate.
Our solution was to disallow access to the servers directly from the internet, installing a VPN for secure remote access and enacting a more stringent password policy.
Still, VPNs aren’t completely bulletproof, as one setup demonstrated. Our experts encountered a solution that allowed remote working from any capable device, regardless of whether it had been approved or mandated by the company.
By doing so, the VPN setup was essentially compromised by the potential threat of viruses, malware, and any other nasties that linger on unchecked devices. As such, Mirus highly recommended a policy only for approved Remote Access Devices, and a VPN setup that was consistent across all those approved devices. We cover similar setups in our Remote Working Successfully eBook.
See Ya Later, Administrator
Sometimes, you need that extra bit of software or essential download to put the finishing touches on a project – but without administrator access, you’re often left at the whims of the company’s approved software and solutions as restrictions lock you out from unauthorised downloads.
One client had an interesting approach to this problem; make everyone the local admin on their computers. Given how many viruses and malware rely on admin permissions to be installed and executed, this was one uninformed download away from being a major security headache.
Mirus recommended a separate admin account for users, which would prompt users for details before proceeding with any installations. At the very least, the prompt would be all the warning they need to maybe skip that risky download.
The above are just a few security oversights we’ve encountered in our travels – they may be far from the most egregious – but they do demonstrate how easy it is to sacrifice security in the pursuit of convenience.
Remote Working Successfully eBook
Looking to implement Remote Working, or want to confirm your Remote Working Policy and Strategy is up-to-scratch? It may be productive, but is it protected?
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