NIST Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Do I have to pay a lot of money in order to secure my network?

No, there are many free and open source tools and technologies that serve different purposes to secure your network. They may (or may not) have the same features and capabilities, but are sufficient enough to use than not having anything.

What are some of the best open source network security monitoring tools?

Argus provides efficient, in-depth analysis of network data to track and report on the status and performance in real time. Argus also provides a format for reporting flow metrics such as connectivity, capacity, demand, loss, delay, and jitter on a per transaction basis.
Wireshark is a widely used network packet and traffic analyzer in real time. It is used for network troubleshooting, analysis, and education. Wireshark helps you explore network packets and unwrap each header to display their contents in human-readable format.

What is multi-factor authentication (MFA)?

MFA ensures that only authorized users can securely access the resources they need by providing two or more different authentication methods. Such methods include something that you are (biometrics, eye/fingerprint scanners), you have possession of (FOB key, PIV card, cell phone), or you know (password). Typically, “something that you know and have” is used since they’re usually the lowest cost options. For instance, a user is unable to log into their work laptop without inserting their assigned PIV card and entering their correct password for access.

What are the benefits of multi-factor authentication (MFA)?

Adopting a MFA system will definitely reduce the chance of becoming a victim of being hacked, identity theft, and adding protection to any sensitive data. For example, if your password is stolen, the perpetrator will also need to steal your PIV card to gain access to your work laptop.

What is one of the many ways to reduce web-based attacks?

Common web-based attacks use JavaScript deliver malicious exploits. One way to limit your exposure is to turn off JavaScript by default and selectively enable for certain websites. This will not exclude you from any JavaScript attacks, but any way to limit your exposure is a plus.

How does the recent Capital One data breach impact consumers and businesses?

Fortunately, according to Capital One’s website, over 99 percent of Social Security numbers, credit card account numbers, and log-in credentials were compromised and were not compromised by the credit applications stolen from a rented cloud data server. However, names, billing and email addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers, and self-reported income information was stolen.

The breach was possible from improperly secured Amazon cloud instances and by an insider attack who used to work for the cloud provider. Additionally, the suspected hacker publicly documented the processes and tools used gain access which cloud providers can use to further secure their systems.

Can mobile apps be malicious?

Yes, it was recently reported that two apps (the notepad app Idea Note and fitness app Beauty Fitness) containing ad-clicking malware were on Google Play for more than a year. Luckily, the only affects were slower performance, data usage, and draining of the battery.

Is using Google Chrome safe?

Generally, yes. However, Google has recently patched a vulnerability in their web browser where a possible hacker can take control of their computer and steal sensitive user information. Only the desktop version of Chrome is vulnerable; not Android and iOS versions. No action is needed if you have the automatic update enabled. Otherwise, a manual update required.

Should I perform the patch updates for my operating system?

Yes! Microsoft issues updates to several security vulnerabilities in all of their versions. Some of the most notable are vulnerabilities with their Common Log File System and Winsock. It’s how they handle objects in memory and could allow an attacker to hack into their system and gain administrative privileges to take full control of the victim’s system.

How do I stop receiving spam on my Apple, Google or Microsoft calendar?

The same tactics can be applied to potential spam or phishing via email; do not click on any content within the email and delete. Please view more ways to protect yourself from calendar spam by viewing