How Ring-Fencing Older Applications Can Mitigate Your Cybersecurity Risk
Historically, applications installed on computers have typically been allowed to perform without any restrictions and do the work they were designed to do. This seemed the most straightforward way to handle software until hackers began exploiting system applications. 

In modern times, not everything is black and white as it seems, applications designed to help computers function can be used for nefarious purposes once malware is introduced. 

Applications can be supportive and responsive on the front end, but, in their code, it has been developed to do otherwise. If a system is infiltrated with malware, you may not even realize that applications are doing more than they tell you, and you, as a user, cannot fully utilize them because you do not completely know what they are capable of.  

As part of zero-trust security architecture, it’s important to understand how to monitor and manage your system applications to ensure they’re not being used against you.

How do you ensure you approve all an application does on your system? 

The truth is that you can create an environment that ensures certain apps cannot work beyond their allowed permissions.

Probably you have heard the words “whitelist” or “blacklist.” These are ways computer users create these lists to aid in the blocking of any untrusted programs. However, these applications cannot prevent malicious actors from weaponizing applications and tools you use regularly. One way of ensuring that your files and computer are always safe and kept from hack attacks is known as ring-fencing.

What is Ringfencing?

When properly defending oneself from malicious software, controlling what software may execute should be the first line of protection. This is called ring-fencing.

According to standard definition, to ring-fence means erecting a barrier around something for protection. In cyber security, ring-fencing refers to isolating a computer or network that contains confidential information. 

Statista has recorded more than 52 million breaches in the second quarter of 2022 alone.

Ringfencing might also mean isolating vulnerable (or old) computer systems or networks for greater security. The ring-fence can be a larger computer network, software, or a permissions barrier.

Ring-fencing solutions offer a second level of defense for applications that have been allowed to work. 

How does Ring-fence operate?

Here are the two ways ring-fencing does this:

– By defining how programs may communicate with one another,

– By limiting the resources that apps can access, such as registries, networks, and files.

In the battle against file-less malware and software attacks, ring-fencing is a useful weapon.

Why You Need to Ring-fence Older Applications

Some applications need to be ring-fenced to ensure they do not become portals for attackers. This is especially true for older desktop applications. Below are some ways by which ring-fencing helps mitigate cybersecurity risks:

PDF Applications

Most PDF programs come with encryption capabilities pre-installed. This is because some PDF files need to be encrypted to prevent tampering and third-party access. If hackers gain access to your PDF application, they could easily encrypt your files and hold them for ransom, costing you a lot.

Individuals ring-fence PDF programs mainly to increase their security and prevent hacking. Ring-fencing your PDF application can even restrict access to file converting and creation functions.

Microsoft Word Regsvr32

Regsvr32 is a Microsoft background program on your computer. Its function is to aid in registering app parts during its installation process. Regsvr32 can connect to the internet, although it does not need to. Because this program is key, Microsoft enables Regsvr32 to run in a protected memory area, meaning no antimalware software can interrupt its processes.

However, one way hackers can use this to their advantage is to allow you to download malware masquerading as an app that uses Regsvr32 to maintain a connection to your PC. Hackers can remotely exploit this to view your files.

Staff Performance 

Ringfencing allows your IT staff to go beyond simply permitting software to do what it has to do. it also governs how programs act once they have been performed. This unique technology creates regulated, firewall-like perimeters around your apps. Furthermore, it prevents them from communicating with other apps, accessing network resources, and potentially gaining access to your data.

Do You Require a Cybersecurity Upgrade? 

Ignorance is not bliss in the world of technology. Instead, it allows criminal groups to target our systems and data. Employ ring-fencing today to further fortify your cybersecurity strategy against a breach.

Let Data First Solutions help you. Contact us by phone today!


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