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  • Could internal apps be your biggest security risk?

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    Could internal apps be your biggest security risk?

    Submitted March 15, 2022

    Author: Brian Huhn


    Protecting your internal apps — those managed by your internal IT team, such as ERP or HR apps — is critical and just as important as protecting your public-facing apps. Today, bad actors can do just as much, if not more damage, by attacking internal apps as they can by attacking external-facing apps.

    Internal apps generally contain more valuable data and are just as vulnerable to attack as external apps. Since the pandemic and more than ever before, employees, contractors, gig workers, and partners have all needed to connect to internal apps using a variety of devices. Here’s what’s scary: Many of these devices could be infected and could introduce malware into your network.

    There’s a lot at stake if your internal apps are attacked or breached. Proprietary corporate information is often found in internal networks and apps. This could be anything from patents and intellectual property to financial data. Frequently, this is also where you store personally identifiable information (PII) such as social security numbers, dates of birth, and other sensitive data tied to stakeholders such as employees, customers, and others.


    This information can be used to defraud and steal money. For example, a bad actor from Michigan was recently convicted for hacking into the internal HR system of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and selling sensitive PII and W-2s on the darkweb. This information was used to submit false U.S. individual income tax 1040 filings, resulting in the theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars. With so much to lose, it’s crucial that companies not overlook internal app protection.

    There are many ways to breach a company’s internal apps. One example is the DDoS smokescreen. It uses a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack to shut down systems, followed by an internal breach while IT staff is busy trying to restore service. With a successful smokescreen attack, not only can bad actors cause massive damage to productivity, revenue, and brand image, but they exfiltrate sensitive data they can sell on the dark web or use for blackmail. Security executives aim to protect all attack vectors, and they know the best option is to invest in multiple layers of protection. After, bad actors will attack any potential entry point and will use a variety of attack methods to access your internal apps.

    Protect Your Internal Apps with Multi-Layered Security

    With NetScaler, you can strengthen your internal network and app security by employing multiple layers of defense, as you do for external-facing apps.

    Contextual and Adaptive Access for Users

    Organizations need policies that determine who can access internal apps and what they can do with them. Zero trust network access (ZTNA) principles are the new standard for contextual access and corporate network security. ZTNA employs a reverse-proxy-based approach, supporting the use of unmanaged devices and ensure authentication and application access by connecting devices to the ZTNA service through browser-initiated sessions. Secure Private Access includes unique features such as adaptive authentication, protection against key loggers, and screen sharing protection.

    Web Application Firewalls

    Web apps are a target of choice for bad actors, who aim to take them offline, plant malware, or steal money or valuable data. With a web application firewall, you can protect your web services from application layer attacks by filtering, monitoring, and blocking malicious HTTP/S traffic going to the app. Unlike network and perimeter firewalls, which are located at the network edge, a WAF is in front of the apps, preventing L7 attacks. Many security teams use both for full protection against attack.

    API Protection

    With NetScaler App Delivery and Security Service, you get protection against attacks on APIs and other attack vectors. APIs are a key backdoor to accessing internal apps. Attackers know this, and API attacks are growing in popularity. Poor API security can lead to application downtime, data breaches, and exploitation of shadow APIs. Use of endpoint discovery to identify which APIs exist and which communication methods are offered is key to protecting your APIs. Also, taking inventory, authenticating APIs, defining authorization policies, monitoring usage, and analyzing unsuccessful communications are important to protecting APIs. Citrix delivers these API protection methods and more.

    Bot Management

    NetScaler App Delivery and Security Service comes with sophisticated bot management protection. Bots make up 64 percent of internet traffic and can be quite dangerous if weaponized. But not all bots are bad. The key to a bot management service is detection mechanisms to differentiate humans and good bots from bad bots. NetScaler’s App Delivery and Security Service delivers protection against even highly intelligent bad bots that can mimic human behavior.

    DDoS Protection

    Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are one of the most common attacks and requires minimal work from bad actors once they have access to a bot army. A successful DDoS attack can cause loss of revenue and customers, damage brand reputation, create an opening for malware, or result in legal exposure. And with the 5G era and the increase in IoT devices, bad actors can launch more powerful attacks with larger botnet armies. To mitigate a DDoS attack, you need a scrubbing center that can handle the massive amount of traffic. NetScaler’s DDoS mitigation service protects apps deployed anywhere and can scrub more than 12 terabits per second (4x more than the largest attack launched to date), helping to keep your business online.

    NetScaler Protects

    In your efforts to secure your organization’s assets, don’t neglect your internal apps. You could be risking irreparable damage. The NetScaler App Delivery and Security Service protects through a single pass architecture, providing better performance and lower latency. Combine that with NetScaler’s Secure Private Access and DDoS standalone service, and you get comprehensive protection to help you secure your digital assets. Learn more about NetScaler App Delivery and Security Service, Secure Private Access, and our DDoS standalone service. And contact your local sales rep today to learn more about protecting your internal apps.

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