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  • Writer's pictureFlagler Technologies

Ultimate Guide to Endpoint Protection Against Botnet Attacks



Endpoints are the physical devices that your company’s employees use to access your network. They include workstation desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and more. Endpoints can also be a potential area of vulnerability for network security. This article will explore methods and practices that will help you protect your endpoints from becoming part of a botnet. This type of attack illegally harnesses the power of multiple machines to power massive attacks on large data caches. In these types of attacks, your endpoints are not the primary objective. They’re a means to an end. 


Endpoint Security

Unfortunately, there is no one-step solution to protect your endpoints against becoming part of a botnet. It may only take one event where a bad actor slips malware past an employee to infect dozens, hundreds, or even all network machines. One of the reasons that botnets are difficult to detect is that once the malware is in a network device, it can use the network to spread to other machines. 


Cybercriminals often operate by exploiting the most vulnerable networks. Consequently, your network may not be impregnable, but you can harden its defenses against endpoint attacks to deter assaults on its integrity. Here are some of the practices that the NIST Cybersecurity Framework Report recommends to prevent botnet attacks. 


Update Your Firmware/Software

Update notifications are frequent and never seem to come at an ideal time, but it’s essential that users don’t just blow them off or allow them to build up. Software updates frequently carry patches and upgrades designed to prevent an exploit that may have been discovered since the last software version was distributed. This may mean establishing strict protocols for employees who may log into your network from personal cell phones or computers. 


Powerful Anti-Virus Software

The companies that sell and market malware are constantly on the lookout for new viruses and malware. It’s in their financial interest to act on this information and update their software to include the new malware in their library. Your anti-malware program will then detect the virus as soon as it hits any machine that’s protected by it. 


Firewalls

Developing a system of firewalls will help prevent the virus from spreading to walled-off machines. While it’s not ideal to have any devices participating in the botnet, it will at least mitigate the potential damage. 


Network Segmentation

Many of your systems can operate independently without disrupting operations. By subdividing your network into several sub-networks that act independently of one another, you can limit the number of endpoints used in a botnet. While this may seem similar to a firewall, they accomplish their segregation in different ways. 


Strong Password Protocols 

As a group, employees are notoriously lax when it comes to developing difficult passwords. Businesses should require difficult passwords that require a minimum character count, lowercase letters, capital letters, numbers, and special symbols. They should also require multifactor authentication to prevent an attacker from using a compromised password. Mandatory password updates can ensure that employees create new, difficult passwords every month or quarter. 


Internet of Things (IoT) Security


So many devices are connected to the internet these days, including printers, security checkpoints, timeclocks, etc. If you have devices that are connected to the network, they are potential points of vulnerability. Update all devices and ensure that your network has safeguards that monitor information that comes from your devices. 


Disconnect Devices When Not in Use

Many botnet attacks target devices that may no longer be in use but are still connected to the network. That’s because many IT departments will stop updating an endpoint that no one uses. It’s simply not the priority. Set your systems to log out inactive users. Disable any endpoints that are no longer in use. 


Employee Training 

Employees should receive regular training about the danger of endpoint attacks and be aware of any new threats or attacks that may target them. For example, some phishing scams imitate the CEO or other high-ranking employee in an email or text to trick employees into clicking on a link that will deliver malware. Employees should receive periodic reminders about these practices. 


Managed Services for Endpoint Protection

It should be clear from the preceding section that defending your company's endpoints can be a daunting task. Even a smaller company may have hundreds of network endpoints, all of which are potential targets for a botnet. 


Part of the role of a managed security services provider (MSSP) like Flagler Technologies is to ensure that all endpoints in a system are as secure as possible. Our cybersecurity technicians can:


  • Establish rules for the types of devices that can access your network.

  • Segment your company’s network to reduce the damage that a botnet attack can do.

  • Back up your data to a separate cloud-based server to prevent your data from being compromised by the breach. 

  • Help your company draft policies and protocols for routine system updates. 

  • Establish encrypted connections to prevent “man-in-the-middle” attacks that can capture devices for botnets. 

  • Coordinate employee training and alert programs.

  • Set up secure passwords and 2FA protocols.

  • Remove inactive and unauthorized machines from the network. 

  • Install software that will detect and prevent breaches. 

  • Develop principle of least privilege (PoLP) systems that limit user access to the information that they need. 


If you are concerned about your company’s endpoint protection, contact Flagler Technologies. You can speak to a cybersecurity expert about your concerns and why you think you might need an MSSP to oversee your defenses. 


Hybrid Cloud Strategies for Endpoint Security

Many people outside of the information technology and cyber-defense fields see the cloud as a point of vulnerability, but in many ways, the opposite is true. Cloud management means that your IT department can monitor, manage, and update all of your company’s endpoints from a single location. In addition, it makes it easier to identify inactive devices and either update their software remotely or disconnect them from the network, reducing their vulnerability. 

Cloud-based AI security software can detect unusual activity and increase traffic within the network. In other words, it will help notice and report the increased activity as a result of the botnet using the system. Security software can ensure that the devices connected through the internet meet the network’s minimal security requirements.


Assess Your Business’s Endpoint Vulnerability

The following are questions to consider about your company’s endpoint security:


How Prepared Is Your Business to Detect and Mitigate Botnet Attacks on Endpoints?

Determine any areas of weakness your company has with regard to endpoint security. Use the items listed above to assess your risk.


What Role Do AI and Machine Learning Play in Your Endpoint Security Strategy?

Cutting-edge endpoint defense technology uses AI programs to learn the normal flow of traffic across your net and determine anomalies. This is ideal for detecting when an unauthorized user or program is using the computing power of your network.


How Often Do You Review and Update Your Endpoint Protection Measures?

You should have a schedule for updating your endpoint protection protocols. If not, there’s a good chance that you have developed points of weakness in your network. 

Flagler Technologies is a managed service provider (MSP) and managed security service provider that establishes cybersecurity frameworks for businesses. Call today to discuss your company’s IT security requirements. 

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