The latest reports observe a rise in malicious cyber activity targeting managed service providers (MSPs) and anticipate this trend to continue.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a joint cybersecurity advisory along with Federal law enforcement partners and international allies that warn of an increase in malicious cyber activity targeting MSPs.
“The UK, Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and U.S. cybersecurity authorities expect malicious cyber actors—including state-sponsored advanced persistent threat (APT) groups—to step up their targeting of MSPs in their efforts to exploit provider-customer network trust relationships,” the joint advisory reads.
Managed Service Providers
MSPs are entities that deliver, operate, or manage ICT services and functions for their customers via a contractual arrangement, such as a service level agreement.
It offers services in conjunction with other providers that include platform, software, and IT infrastructure services; business process and support functions; and cybersecurity services. MSPs manage these services and functions in their customer’s network environment, either on the customer’s premises or hosted in the MSP’s data center.
MSPs can also offer cloud services, CISA noted this joint advisory “does not address guidance on cloud service providers (CSPs).”
Actions MSPs Can Take to Strengthen their Cyber Defences
- Improve the security of vulnerable devices by selecting and Hardening Remote Access VPN Solutions, and Vulnerability Scanning Tools and Services
- Securing internet-facing services
- Defend against brute force and password spraying
- Defend against phishing
Detection and Network Defense Monitoring Capabilities
- MSPs should log the delivery infrastructure activities used to provide services to the customer
- Implement complete security event management that enables appropriate monitoring and logging of provider-managed customer systems;
The advisory also recommends MSPs secure remote access applications and enforce multi-factor authentication, develop and exercise incident response and recovery plans, and understand and proactively manage supply chain risk.
According to CISA Director Jen Easterly, “We know that MSPs that are vulnerable to exploitation significantly increase downstream risks to the businesses and organizations they support.”Securing MSPs is critical to our collective cyber defense, and CISA and our interagency and international partners are committed to hardening their security and improving the resilience of our global supply chain.”