- Zero Trust is a security model that authenticates, authorizes and validates users and endpoints continuously before they are given access to any application or data.
- With Zero Trust, even in the case of vulnerability, hackers are restricted to a small number of user-accessible resources.
Ransomware attacks have been around us for almost two decades now. It’s not new for hackers to use ransomware to leverage exploits and extract financial benefits. But the interconnectivity of digital commerce and expanding attack surfaces have meant that bad actors are leveraging ransomware as a cyber weapon.
What’s appalling is that it has become convenient for cybercriminals to reap extortion benefits. The demand is now growing for cryptocurrency payments or pre-paid cards that can be transacted anonymously.
In particular, the business world witnessed a steep increase in the number of ransomware attacks during the Covid-19 pandemic. Ever since the security community has been on the run. With each successful attempt, it becomes evident that attackers want to exploit intellectual property, sensitive information, and unsecured resources.
According to the Statista Research Department, there were 236.1 million ransomware attacks globally in the first half of 2022. In addition, standard security measures are susceptible to breaches, and attackers have unrestricted access to sensitive data and applications.
The traditional way of countering such attacks involves the application of network security at the enterprise perimeter or on endpoints. It’s also proven that such approaches are vulnerable to breaches, giving attackers unfettered access to crucial data and applications. They are, thus, free to encrypt files or data and demand a ransom to restore access.
Businesses have now learned that traditional network perimeter security measures are insufficient to protect vital organizational assets. By now, it’s clear that no industry is safe from ransomware attacks. Proper security measures must be implemented to avoid their security teams experiencing attack fatigue.
It’s here that organizations are relying on a Zero Trust model to safeguard both on-premise and cloud assets against ransomware threats. Zero Trust is a security model that authenticates, authorizes and validates users and endpoints continuously before they are given access to any application or data.
In simpler terms, a Zero Trust model never trusts users and endpoints, whether within the enterprise perimeter (secure zone) or outside of it (remote). Furthermore, Zero Trust calls for an innovative, modernized and adaptable platform for deployment, management, monitoring, defence and remediation.
Creating Entry Barriers with Zero Trust
By default, Zero Trust does not trust any employee, and even if data or credentials are compromised, Zero Trust security poses complex barriers for attackers. By implementing a Zero Trust model, firms enforce authentication via identity providers and micro-segmentation, providing an additional layer of defence against assaults.
Zero Trust allows IT managers to gain complete visibility into the network and resources, thus ensuring the least privilege and secure access to corporate resources. Zero Trust controls all aspects of network security across cloud and on-premise applications. This ensures that only trusted people can gain access to resources. Zero Trust also delivers visibility, control, and threat inspection tools to safeguard networks from ransomware, targeted assaults, and illegal data exfiltration.
Proactive Defence with Zero Trust
Implementing a Zero Trust model allows organizations to reduce the attack surface significantly. Employees being an easy entry point for attackers, the Zero Trust method starts with employee access. It limits employee access, allowing them access to just essential workspaces and not the whole network.
Several features – including Firewall as a Service (FWaaS) that establishes network policy rules at the granular level to limit access to resources and services – are a sine qua non to prevent data vulnerabilities that have a propensity to jeopardize an organization’s resources.
User access segmentation is a crucial step in preventing ransomware attacks. IT admins control user access to resources and specify which individual can access which resource. More firms are now using two-factor authentication to ensure all users are authorized and verified before accessing company applications or networks.
How Zero Trust improves overall security posture
Broadly, micro-segmentation is a network technology used to divide company or data center networks into zones or segments. Micro-segmentation enables enterprises to offer secure network access and network monitoring. Furthermore, access between portions is strictly regulated.
After the perimeter is broken, micro-segmentation helps limit lateral movement by attackers or ransomware once the perimeter has been breached. The attack surface is significantly reduced by restricting access to certain programs and resources to specific members. This reduces the possibility of sensitive data being exfiltrated by the enterprise.
Least Privilege Controls
The idea of least privilege asserts that each module inside a system should access only the information and resources required for its legal use case or purpose. To cite an example, in a particular user group, user accounts will be granted access required for their business use cases and nothing more than that. In case of a breach, this will ensure that the attacker has limited access to resources and functions.
The notion of least privilege may be applied to users, endpoints, and tasks-automating apps such as CI/CD and build systems. Organizations should be wary of privilege creep, which is likely to occur over time when users are granted greater privileges to facilitate a one-time access request. Then the administrator forgets to withdraw those privileges when the access is no longer necessary.
The least privilege notion is essential to establish Zero Trust security because it motivates security organizations to not trust users depending on whether they are within or outside the perimeter and allows them to check access continually.
Endpoint security technology is used to prevent the compromise of end-user devices. Here, software agents monitor endpoints for dangerous behavior, block the launch of processes, and prevent malware from being downloaded or malicious network access from being initiated from a compromised endpoint. A Comprehensive Zero Trust security infrastructure ensures the protection of all user endpoints with the help of an endpoint security solution.
Getting Started with Zero Trust Security
Here are a few guidelines that can help you along your journey in implementing a comprehensive Zero Trust Security framework within your firm:
- Evaluate and audit users, endpoints, and business applications. Further, map the present access paths and the network flow between them.
- Consider using a single sign-on solution to unify various identity management systems.
- Adopt a network micro-segmentation strategy to prevent lateral movement by malware and ransomware and reduce the exposed attack surface.
- Standardize an endpoint security technology within the enterprise to secure endpoints when off-campus.
- Continuously audit user privileges and apply the least privilege approach to ensure users only have access to job-related resources.
- Security warnings from multiple products should be combined and evaluated using SIEM.
Hackers have taken recourse to more sophisticated techniques. Consequently, the field of cybersecurity remains one step ahead with new technology to equip enterprises with the appropriate tools to combat security risks.
With Zero Trust as a security procedure, businesses may remain safe from internet threats. Companies need to protect themselves against ransomware and other attacks by adopting authentication and segmentation policies and establishing trust zones.