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Fingerprints used in cryptography are short keys that help identify a longer public key. Fingerprints are used for key authentication and other elements of cryptography security, providing efficiency with smaller data sets. When fingerprints are used for key authentication, systems can check these smaller data sets more easily in order to make sure that they are accessing the correct public key. Fingerprints are also more efficient for storage.

While fingerprinting is often used for authenticating users, hackers use fingerprinting in a wholly novel way.  They fingerprint networks and systems seeking to identify vulnerabilities in your company. Fingerprinting provides attackers with valuable information such as Operating System (OS) type, OS version, SNMP information, domain names, network blocks, VPN points, and other valuable information.

What does this mean for an SMB or MSP?

Fingerprinting attacks are usually a precursor to other attacks like Phishing or Ransomware. Some companies have taken the additional step of not displaying application versions when someone connects to a port or protocol.  This obfuscation techniques can slow hackers down instead of providing them the exact version of software you’re running.  This is known as security through obscurity.  While it can help, a better approach is to monitor for vulnerabilities and upgrade or patch regularly so you are not running exposed versions of applications. 

Apart from these measures, there are a few other measures organizations can implement.

  • Ensure that web servers, firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and intrusion detection systems are properly configured and monitored to restrict the information released by attackers fingerprinting your systems and networks.
  • Regularly monitor your log files for signs of unusual activity, scanning and fingerprinting techniques. Consider forwarding these logs into a Security Incident Event Monitoring system (SIEM).
  • System administrators should follow a prescribed response process for security patches closing vulnerabilities in your networks and systems based upon their criticality and time-frames defined in your patching processes.

Additional Cybersecurity Recommendations

Additionally, these recommendations below will help you and your business stay secure with the various threats you may face on a day-to-day basis. All of the suggestions listed below can be gained by hiring CyberHoot’s vCISO Program development services.

  1. Govern employees with policies and procedures. You need a password policy, an acceptable use policy, an information handling policy, and a written information security program (WISP) at a minimum.
  2. Train employees on how to spot and avoid phishing attacks. Adopt a Learning Management system like CyberHoot to teach employees the skills they need to be more confident, productive, and secure.
  3. Test employees with Phishing attacks to practice. CyberHoot’s Phish testing allows businesses to test employees with believable phishing attacks and put those that fail into remedial phish training.
  4. Deploy critical cybersecurity technology including two-factor authentication on all critical accounts. Enable email SPAM filtering, validate backups, deploy DNS protection, antivirus, and anti-malware on all your endpoints.
  5. In the modern Work-from-Home era, make sure you’re managing personal devices connecting to your network by validating their security (patching, antivirus, DNS protections, etc) or prohibiting their use entirely.
  6. If you haven’t had a risk assessment by a 3rd party in the last 2 years, you should have one now. Establishing a risk management framework in your organization is critical to addressing your most egregious risks with your finite time and money.
  7. Buy Cyber-Insurance to protect you in a catastrophic failure situation. Cyber-Insurance is no different than Car, Fire, Flood, or Life insurance. It’s there when you need it most.

All of these recommendations are built into CyberHoot the product or CyberHoot’s vCISO Services. With CyberHoot you can govern, train, assess, and test your employees. Visit and sign up for our services today. At the very least continue to learn by enrolling in our monthly Cybersecurity newsletters to stay on top of current cybersecurity updates.

CyberHoot does have some other resources available for your use. Below are links to all of our resources, feel free to check them out whenever you like: 

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