Law enforcement statistics tell us that professional burglars case an area or neighborhood prior to selecting high value targets with low risk. Digital burglars from Russia and elsewhere also prefer anonymity, concealment and time to test the target defenses and case networks for high value personal data like social security numbers, driver licenses, birth dates, addresses, passwords, etc.
Seymour First Selectman, Kurt Miller, realized that hackers were casing the town and school district networks after reviewing a Security Lifecycle Report (SLR) prepared by Digital BackOffice and Palo Alto Networks. The SLR identified hacking and probing activity from Russia, North Korea, China, Ireland, the middle east, the United States and many other counties. Internet browsing, social media, email, business applications and business databases generate a lot of data traffic. Digital burglars may case a network for weeks or even months to identify and steal high value data or plant ransomware that will pay off with Bitcoin.
“Seymour’s older firewall and password access controls were increasingly ineffective as newer hacking techniques and malware allows hackers to penetrate our network without our knowledge”, said Rob Dyer, Director Technology for Seymour. For example, command-and-control (CnC) activity can indicate a computer on the network has been infected by malware, and may be attempting to connect outside of the network to malicious actors. The Palo Alto Next Generation firewall identifies the activity associated with casing the network or planting ransomware and prevents it from executing.
“Perimeter security solutions must detect and prevent threats to mitigate risk from known and unknown attackers. To minimize administrative overhead a Palo Alto firewall can automatically re-program itself, creating new protections for emerging, unknown threats, sourced from a global community of other Palo Alto customers”, said Francis Palacio, President of Digital BackOffice.
“It’s time that we acknowledge the importance of digital security and fund it adequately”, said First Selectman Miller. “High value public databases containing personal data include voter registration, student records, school and town employee records. Digital burglars are casing public and K-12 education networks and we’re not even aware of the activity. Digital BackOffice and Palo Alto provide the town and the school district with a proactive, prevention solution to our digital security challenges.”