This one is pretty scary. This is a perfect example of why I always recommend going to a cloud-managed firewall. You still would of had the issue of Cisco not releasing the severity of it as fast, but the problem would have been resolved much faster by having it pushed to all devices immediately vs. a manual process. Think of how large Cisco is and they still had a 10 out of 10 security vulnerability. If you are an ICS customer, you are patched. If you are not, make sure you check with your IT staff/company. Here is more information on this issue.
Meltdown and Spectre
By now, you have most likely heard of the latest two cyber threats. They have to do with how the latest processors try to “think ahead” to speed up the processing of your device. They are called Meltdown and Spectre. There is good news and bad news concerning these threats.
The Bad News:
These cyber threats effect all devices including mobile, desktop and servers. Since this vulnerability was created by making devices faster, many people complain of slower processing once the devices are patched. Not patching the devices can provide hackers access to password keepers, critical documents and just about anything else stored on your device.
The Good News:
Well, there is quite a bit of good news here. First of all, these issues were found by the “good guys”. In other words, there is no known exploit out on the market that attacks a device in this way. There are also patches that have been released by the manufacturers, Intel and AMD that can protect you from future exploits because, let’s face it, it is only a matter of time.
What Should I Do:
We are a firm believer that education helps everyone. Here is a great link that breaks down these cyber threats in further detail. Furthermore, whether ICS or another provider is in charge of your servers and PC’s, reach out to them and ensure your devices have been properly patched to protect your company.
Any Managed IT provider can provide you a report showing patch status. If you do not have proper support on your network or just one a second opinion, here is another one of my favorite links that I find very useful 🙂
Along with patching your devices, ICS recommends cloud-based security (through Cisco Umbrella) and making sure your firewall is fully patched and up to date (a benefit of cloud managed firewalls). And of course, up to date anti-virus is a must. A good SPAM (not the processed meat) filter is always a good idea too.
Why Cisco Umbrella?
Cisco Umbrella will help block you from malicious sites that perhaps contain this type of coding. The best thing about Cisco Umbrella is that it stops attacks in the cloud, long before they ever even reach your network.
What Kind of Firewall?
Although ICS is a fan of our Sophos product, I recommend you at least have a next generation CLOUD MANAGED firewall. Cloud Managed means that it constantly receives its security updates from a cloud service. You would be surprised how many people purchase a firewall to protect their office and do not update or patch it for years making it a major security vulnerability to a company. The latest threat concerning non-cloud managed firewalls is regarding the Cisco ASA and its web based VPN. Now, everyone who has a Cisco ASA has to touch each individual device to upgrade it. A cloud-based firewall would automatically receive its security update via the cloud connection.
SPAM Filter and Anti-Virus
Anti-virus is a tricky one for many people. I would not recommend Windows Defender for a business. Why do you want the company that writes the operating system (which is typically the source of the vulnerability) also writing the software to protect your device? You also want something with a management console that allows you to report on who is up to date, pushes updates, etc…
I would also recommend a cloud-based spam filter. As they are constantly kept up to date, then they can help to stop some threats that come in via e-mail. Did you know the number one security threat for any company is a user opening an attachment through e-mail? I am not a fan of on-site spam filters for a lot of reasons. I will not get into them all today!
As always, if you need our assistance, we are here to help. Make sure you use someone and protect your assets and information. No one wants to be on the local news as the next data breach!