One of the primary goals, and perhaps the most important one, of an IT managed service provider is to ensure the security of their clients. Without adequate protection, anything else an MSP offers is meaningless. But what if the MSP itself is not adequately protected? A compromised MSP means its clients and thousands of endpoints are at risk.
Hackers and other cyber criminals have caught onto this treasure trove of opportunity and have now set their sights on managed service providers.
How Do Hackers Attack Managed Service Providers?
The method of intrusion is typical and unsophisticated: email phishing, domain spoofs, fake invoices. Hackers can then use credential theft tools to gain access to an MSP’s vital applications. In one severe case, hackers gained access by exploiting a common plugin utilized by some MSPs.
Even we have received fake invoices with the intent to infiltrate our systems here at I-M Technology (these attempts fail, of course).
Every business should be educated, prepared and vigilant when it comes to cyber attacks, but managed service providers especially carry a responsibility to protect and fortify those that depend on them. Dropping the ball is unacceptable and wildly devastating. It’s downright hypocritical.
Just last year, in December 2018, the United States Department of Justice issued a press release regarding the Chinese hacking group Advanced Persistent Threat 10 (APT10) and their intrusions into systems all over the world. Within this press release is the real terrifying message for MSPs and their customers: APT10, a group with ties to the Chinese Ministry of State Security’s Tianjin State Security Bureau, targeted an incredibly vast array of commercial industries through their managed service providers.
Think about that: The US DoJ issued a warning about a hacking group working in association with the Chinese government and IT targeting managed service providers. This is what we’re up against.
How Can MSPs Best Protect Themselves From Hackers?
As a regular target of phishing attempts ourselves, I-M Technology is well aware of the threats to our business and to those that we partner with. To secure our clients, we must secure ourselves, and here’s what we’ve done:
• First and foremost, we practice what we preach. There’s no way we can protect our partners if we don’t secure ourselves. This is paramount.
• We employ a strong, unique password for each individual client network.
• All of our vital systems and applications have strong passwords and two factor authentication.
• We regularly monitor the dark web for posting or sales of any of I-M Technology’s credentials.
• Our tools, applications and processes are constantly updated so we are always current.
• We maintain backups for everything, keep a disaster recovery plan, and, of course, have failovers in place.
Our investment in security protects not only ourselves, but our partners. And the best part is, the very processes we enact and the same tools we utilize can be used by our clients.
I-M Technology has always endeavored to regularly assess and improve our security practices so that we, and by extension our partners, are protected and safe. We’ve kept our clients safe through the recent string of ransomware attacks and other cyber attacks, and we will continue to do so.
Combating Cyber Attacks
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