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Aug 23 2019   9:28PM GMT

7 IT security best practices to know to prevent data breaches

JudithMyerson Profile: JudithMyerson

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Imagine a hacker trying to break into a secure system. You often envision an expert programmer make attempts at a vast array of complex approaches, such as buffer overruns or distributed brute force attacks to breach security.

But more often than not, breaches occur because basic IT security best practices aren’t adhered to, and known exploits are left unfixed. Here are some of the most common, yet avoidable, security flaws that exist in production systems.

Overlooked IT security best practices that lead to hacks

  • Default passwords: Administrators and users don’t change default passwords immediately after a firewall OS installation. A default password can be found on a device label near where the serial number is provided or in the OS documentation.
  • Outdated firewall OS: An outdated firewall could mean that the software in use is no longer supported, the subscription for an update has expired or the device that contains or runs the outdated firewall OS hasn’t been replaced with a newer device.
  • Unencrypted HTTP connections: They are used to access the firewall and haven’t been updated to HTTPS.
  • Lack of documentation: Configuration and implementation update documentation can often be not available or outdated. Or, a provider can fail to provide the user with the URL for an updated project during patch fixes.
  • Unpatchable firewalls: For some firewalls, patches are no longer possible, or no workarounds are available. All users must be logged off to remove unpatchable firewalls.
  • Firewall incompatibility: Some firewalls aren’t compatible with one another.¬†Different firewall types require different configurations and implementations. Attempts to connect the firewalls may fail due to configuration and implementation incompatibility or may result in poor performance due to unforeseen configuration issuers and implementation overload.
  • Buffer issues: A program can have improper limitations of how much or what type of data the program can accept.¬†When data writes to a buffer, the program overruns the buffer’s boundary and overwrites adjacent memory locations, which can result in issues.

It’s become far too common for organizations to protect themselves against the most complex exploits, but leave themselves vulnerable to the simplest programming and infrastructure mistakes. IT security best practices can help.

Check for these issues the next time you do a security hardening of your application. No security team ever wants to be caught off guard.

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