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Enterprise VPN Security

Alert (AA20-073A) National Cyber Awareness System


Summary

As organizations prepare for possible impacts of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), many may consider alternate workplace options for their employees. Remote work options—or telework—require an enterprise virtual private network (VPN) solution to connect employees to an organization’s information technology (IT) network. As organizations elect to implement telework, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) encourages organizations to adopt a heightened state of cybersecurity.

Technical Details

The following are cybersecurity considerations regarding telework.

  • As organizations use VPNs for telework, more vulnerabilities are being found and targeted by malicious cyber actors.

  • As VPNs are 24/7, organizations are less likely to keep them updated with the latest security updates and patches.

  • Malicious cyber actors may increase phishing emails targeting teleworkers to steal their usernames and passwords.

  • Organizations that do not use multi-factor authentication (MFA) for remote access are more susceptible to phishing attacks.

  • Organizations may have a limited number of VPN connections, after which point no other employee can telework. With decreased availability, critical business operations may suffer, including IT security personnel’s ability to perform cybersecurity tasks.


Mitigations

CISA encourages organizations to review the following recommendations when considering alternate workplace options.


References

NIST Special Publication 800-46 v.2, Guide to Enterprise Telework, Remote Acces… CISA Cyber Essentials CERT/CC: VPN - A Gateway for Vulnerabilities National Security Agency Cybersecurity Advisory: Mitigating Recent VPN Vulnerab… CISA Insights: Risk Management for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Telework.gov Guidance

Revisions

March 13, 2020: Initial Version

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