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Ensuring Robust Security Through Regular Firewall Updates

In the rapidly evolving cyber landscape, the importance of robust network security systems cannot be overstated. Exa, is deeply committed to maintaining the highest security standards by ensuring our Fortigate Firewall platform remains fully patched and up-to-date.

The Necessity of Vigilance

Our commitment was put to the test back in February, following a critical advisory from Fortinet (detailed on their PSIRT page). This alert highlighted vulnerabilities that could potentially be exploited by malicious entities. The urgency of this advisory was underscored by a reported breach that month, where hackers offered admin access to compromised systems.  A scenario vividly reported on Cybersecurity News

Our Response

We responded swiftly to the Fortinet advisory. Recognising the severity of the situation, our team deployed several strategic measures to ensure our networks and those of our clients remained secure and impervious to the exploit:

  1. Immediate Patch Implementation: Upon receiving the advisory, our team worked diligently to implement the necessary patches to the affected systems. By prioritising this update we were able to secure our networks quickly, before any malicious activities could impact our systems. All of our managed Fortigate systems were fully patched within 24 hours of the advisory being received from Fortinet.

  2. Comprehensive System Audits: Concurrent with the patch implementation, our Networking team conducted thorough audits of our network infrastructure to identify any anomalies or signs of a breach. This proactive measure helped us confirm the integrity of our data and systems post-update.

  3. Enhanced Monitoring Protocols: Understanding that new vulnerabilities can emerge at any time, we enhanced our monitoring protocols. This included increasing the frequency and depth of our surveillance to detect and respond to threats more effectively.

  4. Customer Communication: We believe in transparency and the importance of keeping our customers informed. Preceding the update, we communicated this via our status page, explaining the situation, our response, and advising them on steps we are taking to ensure our security measures are effective.

Lessons Learned and Looking Forward

The February incident was a stark reminder of the persistent threat landscape we navigate. It reinforced the importance of maintaining a vigilant, responsive, and proactive cybersecurity posture. Here are some key takeaways and steps we continue to uphold:

  • Regular Updates and Patching: We maintain a strict schedule for regular updates and patching of our systems, especially critical security infrastructures like the Fortigate Firewall.

  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Each security threat offers valuable lessons that we incorporate into our strategic planning. We continually adapt our security measures based on new information and emerging threats.

  • Partnerships and Collaboration: Working closely with technology partners like Fortinet allows us to stay ahead of potential security issues through real-time intelligence sharing and collaborative problem-solving.

  • Educating Our Customers and Community: We recommend any customers who wish to update their passwords use our recent guide on best practice and we continue to share our knowledge and learning to our customers through regular updates, empowering them to strengthen their defence against cyber threats.

Conclusion

At Exa, we are committed to providing our clients with the safest and most reliable network environments. The incident in February was a reminder of the challenges we face but also a testament to the effectiveness of our rapid response and the robustness of our security practices. As we move forward, we remain dedicated to enhancing our systems and educating our community, ensuring that security is not just a response but a continuous commitment.

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