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What You Can Learn from the SolarWinds Hack

It seems like we’re hearing about large, devastating data breachers increasingly often. A recent cyberattack on IT vendor SolarWinds was one of the biggest attacks of recent memory – here’s the basics you should know.  

What is SolarWinds?

SolarWinds makes network management software. Basically, it keeps things running smoothly in a work environment with multiple computers. Their specific product that got hacked is called Orion, and it is used by many of the largest companies in the US, including the federal government. 

What happened?

Somehow, hackers were able to access the codebase that makes up the Orion software. How they gained this initial access is not yet known. They were then able to secretly re-write some of this code, adding a backdoor that would give the hackers access to computers. After receiving what looked like a routine software update, thousands of SolarWinds customers unwittingly downloaded a backdoor onto their computers. When malware is inserted into software like this, it is known as a Supply Chain Attack.

Any hacker with access to the software that went out would have unauthorized access to computers, be able to steal passwords, and spread throughout whole networks. The hack went undetected for months while this was potentially happening. The full extent to the effects of the attack likely won’t be known for some time, if ever.

Note: This hack was incredibly sophisticated and is suspected to have been carried out by thousands of engineers. It’s extremely rare to download malware via an update – staying on top of updates will generally provide security updates that will prevent you from getting hacked. 

How can I avoid downtime from getting hacked?

The SolarWinds hack was extraordinary – a fantastic disaster recovery plan is the best thing that anyone affected by the hack could have had to prepare. To avoid strange cases such as the SolarWinds hack, you should make sure that you’re working with an I.T. team that you can trust. A random relative that helped set up your network is probably not going to stay on top of things and ensure you’re always protected with the latest updates. You want to work with I.T. professionals that you can trust to stay on top of everything, including catching & dealing with any attacks that come your way.  

It is also extremely important to make sure that your employees are trained in cybersecurity yearly to prevent getting hacked in the first place. Human error is the most likely cause of getting hacked – don’t let something simple be the thing that compromises your business! Kitsap Networking Services & Sequim I.T. offers annual Security Awareness Training that can take care of this for your team in a fun and engaging way.

SolarWinds has since released security patches and is now urgently requesting that anyone using their software upgrade/update their software immediately. Would you trust your IT services provider to take swift action in the face of a major security threat such as this? Our clients weren’t affected by this specific breach, but our techs at Kitsap Networking Services and Sequim I.T. are always up to date on big stories in the security & technology fields, so you can trust that we’ll be on top of risk prevention. 


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