Insights

The importance of session validation measures in your remote IT support software

Laura Leaver

August 28, 2023

Despite attempts to circumvent cyberattacks, covert attacks are all too commonplace in organizations today. In fact, sophisticated phishing attempts were up 356% in 2022. A Dell survey conducted in 2022 showed that 67% of organizations cited increases in ransomware and malware as significant concerns. 

How prepared are organizations? Not very—according to a recent report; 61% of CISOs believe their organizations were unprepared to cope with a targeted cyberattack, and 63% consider human risk (including negligent and malicious employees) to be their biggest vulnerability. Why the increase? According to Security Magazine, “The escalation of cyberattacks is attributed to more agile hackers and ransomware gangs....” 

Ensuring support from you—and only you

What strategies, then, should be part of your defense for cybersecurity to protect remote support sessions? How do you keep external malicious actors from luring employees or customers into a fraudulent remote support session to gain access to information on their devices? You need to protect your business and end users by ensuring that your end users—employees or customers—only receive support from you, not someone posing as a support agent at your company. What’s more, you want to ensure they’re using your remote support tool—which is sensitive by nature due to its powerful ability to give you access to another device—in ways that fit your security model, such as only using the tool while on your network. 

There are several levels of session validation methods, some of which are more restrictive than others. Which you choose is dependent upon your security policies. The following are session validation measures and examples of how companies use them so that remote IT support sessions don't open any doors to malicious activity. You may want one or more of them to ensure secure session connections.

Company PIN code validation—denying access to bad actors without the correct code

Challenge: An employee gets a phone call from someone claiming to be their IT department. They tell the employee all the right things and even direct them to the company website. Unfortunately, the employee is talking to a malicious actor trying to steal information from the corporate network. The employee downloads the applet, and now the malicious actor has full control of the system. 

Solution: With company PIN code validation setup, you can prevent malicious actors from getting access to user devices and systems. The IT department would set up a self-hosted PIN page with company validation. If the malicious actor told the employee to go to the company PIN page, their PIN code would be rejected, preventing them from getting access to the device and their system. The page would be blocked in the firewall, preventing the scammer from directing the user to the company’s public page.

Allow listed hosts—redirecting customer/employee from fake page to legitimate website

Challenge:

A malicious actor knows that your company has thousands of customers who visit your public PIN page daily. They create a fake version of your page by removing the html and host it on an almost identical domain. They hope that even when customers are getting support from real support agents, they will Google the support page and find the malicious, fake one instead—especially if you pay for SEO. When the unsuspecting customer finds the malicious page, they enter the real PIN and hit submit, causing malware on their device.

Solution:

With self-hosted error handling—aka allow listed hosts—if a customer or employee visits a malicious fake page and enters the PIN, they are immediately redirected to the legitimate website and back to safety. Simply put, the allow-listed host feature prevents their legitimate PIN codes from being accepted on any other domain but their own.

IP restrictions—limiting access to only a specified and registered IP address range

Challenge:

Within a company network, there are usually security policies set up, e.g., restricting employees from reaching certain websites. If people are accessing the tool outside the network, then those policies simply don’t apply, leaving the device and company vulnerable. 

Solution:

IP restrictions only allow technicians to sign in within the corporate network, protecting against malicious technicians and misuse. This also protects the company’s software investment in that employees can’t sign into the tool outside of the network, such as when they go home.

Another solution—Restricted Access Package (RAP)—ensures internal support stays internal. Similar to company PIN code validation, RAP restricts support only to devices within a specific IP range. Techs and users can only establish sessions with networks previously configured. Bottom line—it helps prevent malicious technicians from providing support to anyone other than the company's own employees. Similarly, the security tool Enterprise Domain supports only devices within a specific IP range but stops at the domain.

More ways to keep remote support sessions secure

Beyond the session validation options detailed above, there are a few other security levers you can – and should – employ to secure your remote support sessions.

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) requires users to provide multiple forms of identification before gaining access to your remote support tool. This ensures that even if a technician's credentials are compromised, unauthorized access is prevented without a second form of identification.
  • It’s also a good idea to pull detailed session logs, which detail every remote session, including the actions taken by the technician, files transferred, and chat history. These can be audited to ensure compliance with company policies and to investigate any suspicious activities.
  • Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) ensures that technicians can only perform actions relevant to their role. For example, you can restrict a junior technician from performing critical system changes and ensure that only senior, experienced technicians can handle sensitive tasks.
  • End-to-end encryption ensures that all data transferred during a remote session is secure. This is especially important when dealing with sensitive data or proprietary company information during support sessions.
  • Blank screen and keyboard locking features allow the technician to blank the user's screen and lock their keyboard to ensure privacy when accessing sensitive areas. For example, when a technician needs to access confidential company data, the blank screen feature ensures that prying eyes can't view the information.
  • A customizable calling card (a branded icon that lives on your end users’ desktops, giving them direct access to your IT support) ensures brand consistency and trust when users initiate support sessions.

Secure remote IT support software answers the challenge

Bottom line: Unique mechanisms like IP restrictions or company validations set up from trusted solutions like Rescue provide a line of defense to ensure end users, techs, and organizations are safe from external malicious actors.

As cyberattacks become more sophisticated and prevalent, it behooves an organization to add proven remote IT support software to its arsenal.

Learn more about how Rescue can help fortify your cybersecurity.

Recommended Posts

See for yourself today

Experience fast, secure, enterprise-grade remote support – anytime, anywhere.

Get a Demo