In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity threats, gaining insights from real-world incidents is invaluable for insurers and clients alike. This blog post delves into a cybersecurity incident that occurred about a year ago, involving a tech company providing platforms for clients. The transparency displayed by this company in sharing details about the attack provides a unique opportunity to understand how these incidents unfold and what measures can be taken to prevent or mitigate their impact.
The company, whose platform was compromised, conducted a forensic report to understand the nature of the attack. It was revealed that a threat actor gained control of a single workstation used by a support engineer with access to their resources. The control lasted for a mere 25 minutes on January 21st. During this limited timeframe, the actor accessed two active customers within the super user application.
Internal Controls: A Crucial Defense
One key takeaway from the incident is the effectiveness of internal controls within the company. Despite gaining control over a workstation, the threat actor was unable to perform configuration changes, password resets, or customer support impersonation events. Crucially, the actor could not authenticate directly to any OCTA accounts, indicating that the internal controls prevented the breach from escalating beyond the initial workstation.
The company not only detailed the incident but also highlighted the lessons learned and the steps taken to strengthen their cybersecurity posture:
1. Rebuilding Trust
The company acknowledged the importance of rebuilding trust after a cybersecurity incident. This includes transparent communication with affected parties and a commitment to taking necessary actions.
2. Third-Party Risk Management
Recognizing that the breach occurred through a third-party platform, the company emphasized the need for robust vetting and protections for third-party connections. They committed to directly managing all devices of third parties accessing their customer support tools.
3. Access Controls for Third Parties
In response to the incident, OCTA announced plans to implement stringent access controls for third parties accessing their systems. This proactive measure ensures that external entities adhere to the same security standards applied internally.
While the incident underscores the reality that no system is impervious to breaches, it also showcases the importance of internal controls and swift response measures. Whether motivated by cyber liability insurance requirements or best practices, the company’s resilience in limiting the impact of the breach serves as a testament to the effectiveness of their cybersecurity measures.
This case study serves as a valuable resource for organizations looking to fortify their cybersecurity defenses. By understanding the anatomy of such incidents, businesses can implement proactive measures to mitigate risks, prevent extensive damages, and continuously enhance their cybersecurity posture.