NSA Issues Guidance on Using Zero Trust Security and New CISA, NSA Cloud Security Guides

New Guidance on Using Zero Trust to Control Lateral Movement

The National Security Agency (NSA) has given guidance on using zero trust security to control lateral movement inside a network in case a threat actor breaks into the firm’s defenses. It was noticed numerous times in the previous year that threat actors have obtained first access to a healthcare company’s network and were able to steal large volumes of sensitive files, including PHI, and carry out serious ransomware attacks. If the breached companies had used zero-trust security, the extent of those breaches might have been substantially minimized.

The conventional IT security model focuses on preventing access to internal networks, with every person in the network perimeter relied on. A zero-trust security design assumes that a threat actor is already within the system, and controls the activities that may be carried out without more authentication. Zero trust is focused on fortifying internal network configurations to contain attacks on a segmented part of the network to restrict the damage that could be brought about. Businesses must work with an attitude that threats are present inside their systems, as mentioned by NSA Cybersecurity Director Rob Joyce. The new guidance is designed to equip network owners and workers with the steps needed to diligently fight, discover, and act in response to risks that manipulate flaws or breaks in their business structure.

In February 2021, the NSA gave its initial zero trust security guidance, which points out zero trust security and its merits and key points. The second issue in April 2023 centered on getting readiness in the user pillar. The brand new guidance called, Advancing Zero Trust Maturity Throughout the Network and Environmental Pillar, is centered on achieving maturity inside the system and surrounding pillar, which handles all application and hardware, nonperson entities, and inter-communication practices and is anxious with identifying important resources by identifying network access, handling network and records flows, segmenting software and work, and making use of end-to-end encryption.

The zero-trust maturity model gives increased security using micro and macro segmentation, data flow mapping, and software-defined networking. Data flow mapping pinpoints the way that data moves in the company, and how it turns from one place or program to another. With data flow mapping, all external and internal nodes where information is kept or processed are determined, which permits firms to locate data misuses and indicate parts where data is not appropriately encrypted or secured.

Macro segmentation offers high-level regulation over traffic in diverse locations of a company’s network and is reached by breaking up a system into various discrete pieces. For instance, segmenting the network to ensure that the data and resources required by one department could not be accessed by another. Micro segmentation offers protection by breaking down a section of the network into small parts, and confining how data moves laterally with stringent access guidelines. Software-defined networking allows the management of packet sending by a central control server through an allocated forwarding plane, which gives more visibility into the network and permits one policy enforcement.

The NSA is assisting the Department of Defense clients to start zero trust systems and seeks to issue more zero trust guidance on additional zero trust pillars to enable institutions to integrate the principles and layouts of zero trust into their organization networks.

NSA, CISA Publishes Cloud Security Guides

The National Security Agency (NSA) and U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released five cybersecurity data sheets to guide organizations to strengthen the security of their cloud systems. The guides comprise guidelines for protecting cloud accounts and suggested mitigations for bettering cloud security.

The cloud gives a more affordable and versatile option to on-premises system and has become necessary for supporting remote staff; nonetheless, cloud environments present safety issues and yearly a lot of healthcare data breaches happen because of cloud systems with insufficient security. Cyber threat actors target cloud systems and are taking advantage of weak security controls to acquire access to sensitive information and after attacking cloud environments, usually turn to internal systems. Managed service providers (MSPs) are usually targeted as though their environments could be breached, threat actors can misuse their high-privileged access to target downstream customers, like was the instance with the REvil ransomware attacks using Kaseya.

Cybercriminal groups and nation-state threat actors actively search for misconfigured access settings, take advantage of improperly secured accounts, and employ social engineering and phishing to collect credentials and get around multifactor authentication. As soon as a threat actor has breached the cloud system, new accounts are generated, privileges are increased, and they go laterally and attack other cloud services or take advantage of federated identities to view the on-premises environment of the victim.

The facts sheets include secure cloud identity and access management strategies, network segmentation and encryption, safe cloud key management procedures, data safety in the cloud, and how to reduce the pitfalls from MSPs in cloud accounts. The data included in the CISA/NSA guides is not new to system defenders who must be following all the guidelines provided in the guides, but they work as helpful insights for making certain that all recommendations are being adopted and all proper mitigations are used.

Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth Hernandez is the editor of HIPAA News section of HIPAA Coach and an experienced journalist in the healthcare sector. She specializes in healthcare and HIPAA compliance, making her a go-to source for information on healthcare regulations. Her work focuses on the importance of patient privacy and secure information handling. Elizabeth also has a postgraduate degree in journalism. Follow on Twitter: You can follow Elizabeth on twitter at https://twitter.com/ElizabethHzone