Webinar presenter Stacey Wright from the MS-ISAC answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Cyber Threat Landscape Update (Spring 2019). Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: What are the benefits of using a virtual private network? Can using a VPN protect us from malware, ransomware and other threats you talked about today?
Stacey Wright: In general, a VPN is a way to connect to a remote system securely. That means it is not going to protect you from malware or ransomware, Emotet, anything like that. What it will do is protect you from having your data sniffed. If you’re using a VPN on then nobody else can see and understand your traffic. It is encrypted and protected such that only the person you are sending it to should be able to see it. The one thing that I talked about today that it will protect you from is data breaches.
Audience Question: Should we advise our users that they should never let their browsers remember a password?
Stacey Wright: Absolutely. As tempting as it may be, if you remember a password, anytime that you get a malware in the system, that password is probably compromised. It is much better that you always type in a password. It’s also safer, it means that if somebody else is using your computer, your password isn’t saved and therefore, they cannot just log-in and get into your account, they have to get on to their own.
Audience Question: What do you mean by defensive software? Can you provide some examples?
Stacey Wright: It’s a full range. Defensive software would include everything from anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spam types of software to things like firewalls, intrusion detection systems, intrusion prevention systems, a unified threat system, anything along those lines where it’s going to protect your network, your system, or the information going in and out. You can probably also expand this to include something like a proxy server that would restrict you from going to a particular website that’s known to be malicious. It probably could be really stretched to include something like patch management software that keeps systems patched and up to date so that you know what’s on your network and you can keep the bad or unapproved software off your network but also patch the stuff that you intend to have.