Trio of vendors offer free services to organizations at risk of Russian cyberattacks

A trio of vendors have teamed up to offer a range of free cybersecurity services to organizations in three critical infrastructure sectors in the United States to help them prepare for possible cyberattacks from Russia.

The Critical Infrastructure Project is a collaborative effort between CrowdStrike, Cloudflare, and Ping Identity. As part of the initiative, the three vendors are providing step-by-step guidance to organizations in the water, electric utility and healthcare sectors on how to quickly implement a multi-layered zero-trust defense. to protect against phishing, malware and destructive attacks. cyber attacks.

Vendors are offering a wide range of their products for free for at least the next four months. This includes technologies such as Cloudflare’s cloud gateway, DNS filtering, and web application firewall technology; CrowdStrike Falcon Endpoint Protection and Falcon X Threat Monitoring; and PingOne from Ping Identity to detect suspicious login attempts and its DaVinci identity orchestration service.

“This program is designed to help US critical infrastructure that has been identified as particularly vulnerable to cyberattacks,” a CrowdStrike spokeswoman said. “This includes energy and water utilities of all sizes, from cities and towns to regional or national providers. Likewise, all public and private hospitals and hospital systems of all sizes will be eligible.” There is no seat limit or size limit in terms of organization size.

Ukrainian crisis
The immediate impetus for the program is the increased risk of cyberattacks related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the spokeswoman said. Many security experts have warned of the high likelihood of retaliatory attacks and spillovers from Russian-based actors over US-led sanctions against the country.

André Durand, CEO and Founder of Ping Identity, describes the initiative as an opportunity for the three vendors to come together to help organizations combat new global risks. “Whether securing employee identities or enabling customers to deliver secure digital experiences, identity security is critical for businesses around the world,” he says.

The primary focus of tri-vendor guidance is the rapid implementation of key security controls. The security features available for free under the initiative are designed to help the organization secure separate risk surfaces and work together to provide a multi-layered defense against cyberattacks, according to the three vendors.

These include secure DNS filtering, single sign-on, multi-factor authentication, endpoint protection, secure web gateways, zero-trust access controls, DNS security, and monitoring and risk management. The program provides organizations with tiered milestones for implementing each security control and a checklist of items to achieve those milestones. “All products are designed to be deployed in hours, not days, but the suggested timeline gives organizations a model based on team member availability,” according to a program description.

For example, the first checklist item for organizations is to deploy, within the hour, global DNS filtering as a defense against malware and phishing attacks using Cloudflare’s DNS Service . The checklist includes a day to implement more targeted DNS filtering and logging through Cloudflare’s Gateway DNS Filter and to enforce account login for users through Ping Identity’s PingOne SSO. Critical Infrastructure Defense Project Guide implementation goals for week one include controls against lateral movement and spear phishing via Cloudflare Access; malware detection tools with CrowdStrike’s Falcon Endpoint Protection Pro technology; and threat monitoring and tracking with CrowdStrike Falcon X Recon.

Echoes of previous free security efforts
Tanner Johnson, an analyst at Omdia, says initiatives like this are extremely valuable and offer substantial opportunities for organizations to benefit. “Much of the complications we face in the cybersecurity space simply stem from a reactionary cultural attitude,” Johnson says. “Unfortunately, the harsh truth is that many organizations fail to plan for cyber threats in a meaningful way, until they are forced to deal with the consequences first hand.”

So any initiative that offers guidance on where organizations should start without overwhelming them with the sheer number of security options is of considerable value. “If organizations actively leverage these initiatives, they can establish a better understanding of their own security postures, define their individual attack response plans, while providing better overall protection for their crown jewels,” a- he declared.

This isn’t the first time one of the vendors has been involved in such an effort.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cloudflare, for example, offered its Cloudflare for Teams products for free to small businesses around the world. Likewise, the company has lent its technology for free to help state and local governments protect election websites in an effort called the Athens Project.

In the past, CrowdStrike has also offered free services during times of cyber crisis. One example is a tool the company made freely available in December 2020 to help organizations identify and mitigate risks in Azure Active Directory after several critical vulnerabilities were discovered in the technology.

And in March 2020, Ping Identity offered its Cloud SSO and multi-factor authentication technologies free for a six-month period to companies struggling to secure their (then) new work-from-home workforce.

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