Amidst the global love for all things mobile—smartphones and tablets, the good old computers (desktops and laptops) still hold a strong ground. The wider screens, higher storage capacity, and new-gen processor speeds—who doesn’t love all these features? But are desktops and laptops less prone to unauthorized access? Indeed their bigger size is a decisive factor in the lower lost or stolen probabilities of these computer devices than their mobile counterparts. Yet, it’s important for individuals and businesses to know how to prevent unauthorized computer access.
In this blog, we learn about unauthorized computer access, the possible causes, and how businesses can leverage a Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution to prevent unauthorized access to computer systems used for work.
What is Unauthorized Access to Computer Systems?
Unauthorized access to computer systems refers to the act of gaining entry or attempting to gain entry to a computer system, network, or any computing resource without the explicit permission or authorization of the system owner, administrator, or the entity responsible for managing access. This unauthorized access can take various forms and is typically associated with malicious intent, ranging from cybercrime activities to espionage, data theft, or other illicit actions.
For businesses, it’s more important than individuals to know how can the risk of unauthorized computer access be reduced. The reason is simple. The data-related consequences of unauthorized access to work computers can be far more insidious than those of personal computers.
Possible Causes of Unauthorized Access
Unauthorized computer access can occur due to various factors, often stemming from vulnerabilities in security practices, technology, or human behavior. Understanding the possible causes is essential for implementing effective measures to prevent and mitigate such incidents.
Here are some common causes of unauthorized computer access:
- Use of easily guessable passwords, such as “password” or “123456.”
- The lack of password complexity and diversity makes it easier for attackers to crack or guess passwords.
- Phishing attacks targeting users to obtain their login credentials.
- Credential harvesting through malware, keyloggers, or other malicious software.
Insufficient Authentication Measures
- The absence of multi-factor authentication (MFA) allows unauthorized access even with compromised passwords.
- Weak or easily bypassed authentication processes.
Unpatched Software and Systems
- Failure to apply security patches and updates promptly leaves systems vulnerable to known exploits.
- Outdated software with unaddressed security vulnerabilities.
Inadequate Access Controls
- Improperly configured access controls, granting unauthorized users or entities excessive privileges.
- Lack of role-based access controls, allowing individuals to access data or systems beyond their necessary permissions.
Social Engineering Attacks
- Manipulation of individuals through deceptive means to divulge sensitive information or perform actions that compromise security.
- Exploitation of trust to gain unauthorized access.
Malicious Insider Threats
- Employees or individuals with authorized access exploit their privileges for malicious purposes.
- Disgruntled employees seek to harm the organization by accessing and manipulating sensitive data.
Insecure Network Connections
- Unprotected Wi-Fi networks are susceptible to eavesdropping or unauthorized access.
- Insufficient network security measures allow attackers to intercept data.
- Exploitation of software vulnerabilities to gain unauthorized access.
- Use of malware or exploits targeting specific software weaknesses.
Inadequate Monitoring and Detection
- Lack of robust monitoring systems to detect unusual or suspicious activities.
- Failure to respond promptly to security alerts or anomalies.
Ways to Prevent Unauthorized Computer Access Using UEM
Unauthorized access to work computers poses significant risks for businesses, ranging from data breaches and hefty regulatory sanctions to brand reputation damage. To address it comprehensively, the implementation of a robust Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solution is essential. This blueprint elucidates key UEM features that serve as techniques to prevent unauthorized computer access.
All the UEM capabilities mentioned below can be enforced on multiple work computers from a unified console. Work computers can be categorized into device or user groups after they are enrolled. Once established, policies can be applied across an entire fleet of work computers, which are mostly Windows, followed by macOS.
A. Complexity Requirements
- Enforce stringent passcode complexity rules to deter easily guessable passwords.
- Require a minimum length, alphanumeric characters, and a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters.
B. Expiry and Change Policies
- Implement periodic passcode expirations to enhance security.
- Enforce an AUP necessitating users to change their passcodes at regular intervals.
C. Failed Attempts Lockout
- Configure a mechanism that temporarily locks out users after a specified number of consecutive failed passcode attempts.
- Define a duration for the lockout period to discourage brute-force attacks.
A. Regular Updates
- Establish a systematic approach to ensure timely installation of operating system and software updates.
- Automate patch deployment processes to minimize the window of vulnerability.
B. Vulnerability Assessment
- Conduct regular vulnerability assessments to identify and prioritize security flaws.
- Develop a protocol for swift patching of identified vulnerabilities based on their criticality.
Web Content Filtering
A. URL Whitelisting and Blacklisting
- Implement URL or website whitelisting to permit access only to approved websites.
- Employ URL blacklisting to block access to known malicious or inappropriate sites proactively.
B. Category-Based Filtering
- Categorize websites based on content, allowing administrators to define access policies accordingly.
- Restrict access to specific categories that may pose security threats or violate organizational policies.
A. Full Disk Encryption
- Mandate the use of full disk encryption to safeguard data stored on endpoint devices.
- Implement encryption algorithms compliant with established standards to ensure data confidentiality.
B. Removable Media Encryption
- Extend data encryption measures to removable media to prevent unauthorized data extraction.
- Enforce policies requiring the use of encrypted USB drives for data transfer.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
A. Authentication Layers
- Integrate MFA to add an additional layer of security beyond traditional username and password authentication.
- Utilize diverse authentication factors, such as conditional login, to enhance access control.
Prevent Unauthorized Computer Access with Scalefusion UEM
Businesses must quickly adopt tech solutions that help them secure work computers from unauthorized access. A UEM solution like Scalefusion can serve as a reliable tech for IT teams of organizations who are looking to thwart unauthorized access to their computer systems used for and at work.
With a range of features that strengthen computer security and simplify desktop/laptop management, Scalefusion UEM adds value and substance to IT efforts.
Get in touch with us for a demo, or sign up for a 14-day free trial!