Time-To-Live (TTL)

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Time-To-Live (TTL) is a value for the period of time that a packet, or data, should exist on a computer or network before being discarded. TTL is a value in an Internet Protocol (IP) packet that tells a network router when the packet has been in the network too long and should be removed. TTL is deployed as a counter or timestamp ingrained in each packet. When the predefined timespan or event count expires, the packet is either discarded or revalidated.

In networking, TTL prevents data packets from moving across the network indefinitely. In applications, TTL manages data caching and increases performance. TTL is also used in other contexts, such as Content Delivery Network (CDN) caching and Domain Name System (DNS) caching.

Administrators can set TTL to any value between 1 and 255. Although, different Operating Systems (OS) support setting different defaults. When a packet is by a router, the router subtracts 1 from the TTL count. Then, the packet travels to the next destination on the network. When the TTL count is 0, after the final subtraction, the packet is discarded by the router. This triggers an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) message that’s sent back to the original host.

What does this mean for an SMB or MSP?

The vast majority of employees don’t need to know about TTL, as it’s likely irrelevant to their job description. The only people that should know about TTL are the IT professionals that work with your company’s network and can have insight into these values. TTL can be used by your IT staff in applications to help manage data caching and increase network performance, which may be something that is needed in your organization. But for the majority of SMB and MSP employees, TTLs aren’t going to be something that is dealt with often. 
With that said, there are some things your organization can do to ensure that it’s doing at least the minimum essential actions to improve its cybersecurity posture; continue reading to learn what those are. 

CyberHoot’s Minimum Essential Cybersecurity Recommendations

The following recommendations 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, and 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) 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.

Each of these recommendations, except cyber-insurance, is built into CyberHoot’s product and virtual Chief Information Security Officer services. With CyberHoot you can govern, train, assess, and test your employees. Visit CyberHoot.com 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.

To learn more about Time-To-Live (TTL), watch this short 5-minute video:




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