The FBI issued a stern warning in February 2019. They witnessed multiple Managed Service Providers successfully attacked by advanced hacking tools and organizations. This article details what’s happened since then.
MSP Attacks Increase while Their Ability to Defend remains Lacking
On Oct. 18th, 2018 the US-Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT) issued an advisory. It warned Managed Service Providers (MSP) that they were being targeted by Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) actors. APT’s use to only include nation states, however, other bad actors are entering this arena too now. APT’s recognize the enormous rewards of breaking into an MSP: hack one company with access to many companies. The FBI underscored the US-CERT warning by releasing its own warning in Feb. 2019. The FBI gave identical warnings and urged the following protection strategies for MSP’s. Use a VPN to access your clients. Enable two-factor authentication on those VPN’s and everything else of value. Improve and ensure strong password hygiene. Attacks on MSP’s since Feb. have been fast and furious. Here are a few articles detailing some of them:
Why Break into 20 companies separately? Target One MSP for the Same Results!
MSP’s are beginning to recognize they’re being targeted by APT’s with Phishing, Password, and social engineering attacks. MSP’s need to be perfect 100% of the time while an APT only needs to succeed once. These events can put an MSP out of business from the reputational damage and costs of recovering all their clients, at the same time. If you’re an MSP, you need to immediately begin bolstering your cybersecurity program. Identify your weaknesses and follow the advice of the FBI by adopting:
- Two-Factor Authentication on everything
- Address poor Password Hygiene in your organization (adopt 14+ character password and purchase a Password Manager)
- Secure your own backups with Offline, revision-controlled backups and then do likewise with your clients
- Build strong incident response processes for yourselves and your clients
- Establish a Risk Management Framework for your MSP and offer Risk Assessment services to your clients