“VPNs are at a jeopardy to Cyberattacks”: A warning by NSA


“VPNs are at a jeopardy to Cyberattacks”: A warning by NSA

The National Security Agency (NSA) has made a strong statement that Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) are at an increased risk of cyberattacks if not correctly secured. This became more crucial amidst the coronavirus crisis as most of the companies are following remote working. According to the statement made by NSA, a large number of organizations use IP Security (IPsec) VPNs to enable remote working capabilities.

To achieve this, a certain level of cryptography is used to secure valuable information traversing over an untrusted network. If cryptography is not strong enough, it may lose crucial information over the web. NSA has given the following guidelines to be maintained regularly by network administrators to achieve a robust VPN:

  • Minimizing the attack surface for VPN gateway
  • Ensuring that all the cryptographic algorithms are based on Committee on National Security Systems Policy (CNSSP) 15-compliant
  • Not using the default VPN settings
  • Putting to use the vendor-provided updates (i.e., patches) for VPN gateways and clients According to experts, VPNs are not entirely free from the danger of threats

The best way to use them is to make a risk analysis of what could happen if an attacker can break the VPN. Many organizations do not feel the necessity of implementing aggressive patching, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), and network traffic control for greater VPN security. They often argue that the cost of implementing these is much greater than the risk itself, putting the VPN security at risk. This mindset could result in more significant financial and information losses for an organization. The older concepts of passwords and change management processes should be replaced with validated mechanisms and newer change management processes that are flexible in tackling emerging threats. Inability to do so might bring new problems for an organization

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