Appalachia Technologies Blog

Appalachia Technologies team is comprised of a diverse mix of IT professionals, some of whom have been on the forefront of IT since the industry’s inception. Through the years, our team has developed a wide array of experience in understanding individual needs and how they relate to your business.

The OWASP Top 10: Security Misconfiguration

Security Misconfiguration

Last week we touched on the basics of the Open Web Application Security Project® (OWASP) and why it should be used as a source of information for keeping your web applications secure.  This week we are going to touch on one particular vulnerability from the OWASP Top 10 Web Application Security Risks - Security Misconfiguration.

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CMMC News & Update - July 2022


In your city or town, you know that stretch of road or highway that feels like it has been under construction for 10 years?  In many ways, the development of CMMC can feel like it too is marked with orange cones and will be underway for years.  From the most significant change of CMMC 1.0 (the OG version) to the November 2021 update to CMMC 2.0, to even the CMMC-AB name change to The Cyber AB, new information seems to keep coming with timelines shifting.  While The Cyber AB holds monthly Town Hall webinars to share updates, the DoD and various vendors are also sharing out information via webinars.  Recently, PreVeil, a DoD supplier, along with members of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, hosted a webinar with DoD leaders Stacy Bostjanick (DoD CMMC Program Head) and Dave McKeown (DoD CISO) to review recent updates and timelines. 

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Social Engineering: A Story About How Breakfast Treats and Human Nature Led to Full Network Access

I sat in the parking lot watching employees walk in the corporate office.  Ready with my five dozen donuts, I waited until the perfect moment to see if I could infiltrate.  It’s like the start of a great superhero movie - except starring Kevin James and not Christian Bale.

I had been hired by the company for a physical social engineering assessment.  Only a few people (stakeholders and managers) within the company knew that this was occurring that day.  The goal was to see if I could gain entry into the building unnoticed and once in, what I could access.

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Allergic to Bees? Don’t Get Stung by the OWASP Top 10

OWASP - is it something we don’t want to get stung by, or is it here to protect us?  In cybersecurity, we’ve all heard the term, but what is it really?

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3 Actions for a Better Security Posture

There are many frameworks and security models to refer to when working to secure your organization.  Sometimes it can prove to be overwhelming.  Today I’m going to talk about three action items that will make a significant difference in your overall security posture.  Keeping in mind that there is no silver bullet to securing an organization, these three will certainly gain a great return.

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PCI - The Credit Card Industry's Answer to Consumer Data Protection

People carry less cash in their wallets than they used to.  Even when going to the ice cream stand in the middle of summer, a debit or credit card is swiped instead of cash being tendered.  The reason for this is simple - it’s easier to swipe a card than it is to carry a load of cash in your wallet.  This has become an extremely convenient option over the years when making purchases.  However, as is often the case, convenience comes with risk.

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The ABC's of Ransomware

Ransomware – The What, Where, and Why

Everyone has heard stories by now of an organization getting hit by ransomware.  From individuals to small and enterprise-level organizations, it can pop up anywhere and cause havoc.  What is it?  Where does it come from? Why isn’t it going away?  Today we’re going to break it down.

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Everything That Is Wrong With CMMC 2.0

This month’s release of the much-anticipated CMMC 2.0 left many of us in the world of cybersecurity shaking our heads.  We have been working diligently with the defense industrial base for several years now, even before the CMMC was created, to stop the bleeding of our defense secrets to our adversaries.  As a veteran and a Patriot, I, along with many other Americans, take this very serious problem personally. 

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SPRS Pt 1 - How Do I Calculate My SPRS (Supplier Performance Risk System) Score?

spreadsheetI started writing SSP’s (System Security Plans) well before the original Executive Order mandated deadline of December 31st 2017 and have since written at least 50 SSP’s for defense contractors of every imaginable type and size.  There wasn’t a lot of guidance on how to do this at that time, other than to have a very thorough and complete understanding of the nearly 500-page NIST 800-53 framework. 

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Top 5 Security Assessment Findings

Top 5 Security Assessment Findings narrow smallest

Even organizations with solid cybersecurity programs will have findings from a security assessment.  After all, cyber attacks and attackers continue to learn and evolve, always trying to be one step ahead of their prospects.  Through our years of performing security assessments, here are the Top 5 areas that we have found to need remediation work post-assessment.

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SPRS Pt 2 - How to Enter an SPRS Score

In a previous blog post, we discussed how to calculate your SPRS (Supplier Performance Risk System) score in support of your CMMC (Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification) efforts.  In that same blog, we also provided a free tool to help you calculate your SPRS score automatically.

In this follow-on blog, we’ll talk about how to provide your SPRS score to the DoD, which is a whole other chore once you’ve actually determined what your score is.  In order to access the part of the SPRS website where your score is uploaded, we first need a CAC (Common Access Card) or a DoD approved medium assurance ECA (External Certification Authority) certificate.  The primary purpose of this certificate is to ensure that the individual person entering the score is who they actually claim to be (non-repudiation), in addition to ensuring the confidentiality of the data.

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Top 8 Sources for Cybersecurity News

Not a single day goes by that we don’t either hear the word security or read the word security.  See?  You’ve already read it twice!  The internet is full of so much noise that it sometimes can be hard to filter out information that pertains to you and your organization, as well as what is credible.  Today I thought I’d take a moment to give you some great sources for security news.  These are sources that are very accurate and trustworthy.

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After a Penetration Test - The Road to Remediation (appTECH TALK Ep. 3)

Your company has been proactive in having a penetration test performed and you have the report in hand - so now what do we do with it?

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What is Penetration Testing – Finding Vulnerabilities Before the Bad Guys Do (appTECH TALK Ep. 2)

If you are an organization with digital assets to protect, you’ve most likely heard the term Penetration Testing, also known as Pen Testing.  Penetration testing is the process used to find vulnerabilities and leverage them to hack an organization.

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What is the NIST Cybersecurity Framework? (appTECH TALK Ep. 1)

Secure your Organization with the NIST Blueprint

Breaches are at all time high.  Over 50 billion devices are connected to the internet.  Some of them are secure, and some of them are not.  Which category does your organization fall into?

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What is a vCISO? (appTECH TALK Ep. 5)

Let’s face it.  Security is expensive.  Many organizations think of security as an unwanted expense when budgeting for the next fiscal year.  However, no matter what industry an organization is in, security IS its business too.

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Social Engineering: How Kind Humans Can Cause Big Breaches (appTECH TALK Ep. 6)

Humans are the smartest beings on earth.  So why is it that they are the number one cause for breaches that cost millions of dollars?  It’s because they are kind.

Because of the kindness of human beings, they are easily manipulated by bad actors to give up private information or even hold a door.  This is the foundation of Social Engineering.

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2021 Year in Review - Significant Cybersecurity Events

2021 Year in ReviewThe year is 2021.  We don’t have flying cars or robot maids, but nearly 5 billion souls worldwide are now connected to the Internet and to each other.  This is a beautiful thing and a remarkable feat of human ingenuity.  However, every rose has its thorn (to borrow from the great post-modern philosopher Bret Michaels) and to us who work in cybersecurity, 2021 was thornier than ever. 

Here is Appalachia’s 2021 Cybersecurity Year in Review!


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US Pipeline Hit with Ransomware – Appalachia’s Cybersecurity Response

pipeline blog 640x 1Over the weekend, the Colonial Pipeline, one of the largest US pipelines and a major supplier for the East Coast, was hit by a cyber attack. A ransomware attack caused the company to shutdown operations as they work through the necessary steps to respond and recover, however the impact is expected to be significant if fuel terminals experience outages as a result in disruption to their supply.  The Colonial Pipeline supplies diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel.  The US government has issued an emergency waiver to allow an exemption for drivers related to hours of service, as well as exemptions related to fuel transportation via tanker ships.  To compound the supply issues further, the US is experiencing a shortage of fuel truck drivers, areas of the US are opening up further from COVID restrictions which is expected to increase travel, and we are approaching the summer travel season which notoriously increases fuel demands.

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News & Updates

P R E S S  R E L E A S E Grantville, PA:  On Wednesday, October 19, Appalachia Technologies will be hosting a free in-person cybersecurity summit at the Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course for regional CIOs, CISOs, and IT Security Leaders.

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Appalachia Technologies
5012 Lenker Street
Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania 17050