FAYETTE MORTGAGE, INC.
Fayette Mortgage, Inc. (FMI) is a mortgage loan company that manages thousands of accounts across the United
States. A public company traded on the NYSE, FMI specializes in financial management, loan application approval,
wholesale loan processing, and investment of money management for their customers.
The diagram below displays the executive management team of FMI:
Figure 1 FMI Executive Organizational
Chart BACKGROUND AND YOUR ROLE
You are the Chief Security Officer, hired by COO Kelly Smith, to protect the physical and operational
security of FMIâ€™s corporate information systems. Shortly after starting in your new position, you recognize
numerous challenges that you will be facing in this pursuit.
Your primary challenge, as is usually the case, is less technical and more of a political nature. The CEO
has been swept up in the â€œeverything can be solved by outsourcingâ€ movement. He believes that the IT
problem is a known quantity and feels the IT function can be almost entirely outsourced at fractions of the
cost associated with creating and maintaining an established internal IT department. In fact, the CEOâ€™s
strategy has been to prevent IT from becoming a core competency since so many services can be obtained
from 3rd parties. Based on this vision, the CEO has already begun downsizing the IT department and
recently presented a proposal to his senior management team outlining his plan to greatly reduce the
internal IT staff in favor of outsourcing. He plans on presenting this approach to the Board of Directors as
soon as he has made a few more refinements in his presentation.
COO Smithâ€™s act of hiring you was, in fact, an act of desperation: the increasing operational dependence
on technology services combined with a diminishing IT footprint gravely concerned Smith, and he begged
to at least bring in an Information Security expert with the experience necessary to evaluate the current
security of FMIâ€™s infrastructure and systems. The COOâ€™s worst nightmare is a situation where the
Confidentiality, Integrity, and Availability of FMIâ€™s information systems were compromised â€“ bringing the
company to its knees â€“ then having to rely on vendors to pull him out of the mess.
COO Smith has reasons for worrying. FMI has experienced several cyber-attacks from outsiders over the
past a few years:
â€¢ In 2018, the Oracle database server was attacked, and its customer database lost its confidentiality,
integrity, and availability for several days. Although the company restored the Oracle database
server back online, its lost confidentiality damaged the company reputation. FMI ended up
paying its customers a large sum of settlement for their loss of data confidentiality.
â€¢ In 2019, another security attack was carried out by a malicious virus that infected the entire
Director of HR
network for several days. While infected, the Oracle and e-mail servers had to be shut down to
quarantine these servers. COO Smith isnâ€™t sure whether the virus entered FMIâ€™s systems through
a malicious email, from malware downloaded from the Internet, or via a userâ€™s USB flash drive.
Regardless of the source of the infection, the company lost $1,700,000 in revenue and intangible
â€¢ In a separate incident in 2019, one of the financial advisors left his company laptop unprotected
at the airport while travelling and it was stolen. It contained customer financial data and the
hard drive was not encrypted. Financial reparations were paid to impacted customers.
â€¢ In 2020, a laptop running network sniffer software was found plugged into a network jack under a
desk in one of the unoccupied offices.
It is apparent from the number of successful cyber-attacks that FMI is an organization severely lacking in
information security maturity. COO Smith has commissioned you to perform a quantitative and qualitative
risk assessment of FMIâ€™s infrastructure to determine where improvements could be made to reduce the
risk of future attacks.
CORPORATE OFFICE NETWORK TOPOLOGY
The diagram on the following page displays FMIâ€™s Corporate Office Topology.
The FMI network infrastructure consists of a corporate WAN spanning 20 remote facilities that are
interconnected to the FMI headquartersâ€™ central data processing environment. Data is transmitted from a
remote site through a VPN gateway appliance that forms a VPN tunnel with the VPN gateway in
headquarters. Through this VPN connection, remote office users access the internal Oracle database to
update the customer data tables. Through your inspection of the VPN configuration you discover that the
data transaction traversing the remote access connection to the corporate internal databases is not
Users are authorized to work from home and both dial-up and VPN remote access are available. Dial-up is
provided via Private Branch Exchange (PBX) and a Remote Access Server and VPN remote access is
provided via the VPN gateway. Authentication is password-based via MS-CHAP V2. Users are also able
to take advantage of FMIâ€™s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy and a Wireless antenna allows
wireless networking within headquarters. WEP is used to provide wireless security to BYOD users.
The network perimeter between the Internet and FMIâ€™s internal network infrastructure is separated by two
Border (Core) Routers. These Border Routers then connect to two Distribution Routers and the VPN
Gateway. The Distribution Routers connect to a RAS Server, a Wireless Router that provides a bridge
between the Wireless Antenna and the internal network, and two Multi-layer switches. The Multilayer
switches connect to six (6) Access Layer VLAN switches that segregate the Accounting, Loan Dept,
Customer Services, Mgmt, Credit Dept, and Finance VLANs. The Multi-layer switches also connect to a
third Multi-layer switch that provides a connection to FMIâ€™s servers in the Trusted Computing Base
The trusted computing based (TCB) internal network is situated in a physically separated subnet. A bulk of
the data processing for FMI is handled by an Oracle database on a high end super computer located in the
TCB and the TCB also contains an intranet web server used by the internal support team, a Software
Update Services (SUS) server used for patch management, an internal DNS server, an e-mail server, and
other support personnel workstations. Although each corporate department is segregated physically on a
different subnet, they share access to the corporate data in the TCB network.
NOTE: The symbol represents a multilayerswitch
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN CONDUCTING THE RISK ASSESSMENT:
This Risk Assessment and your suggested security improvements are of critical importance. The CEO is set on
outsourcing FMIâ€™s IT competency and youâ€™ve been told of a plan from COO Smith to outsource network
management and security functions away from your department and over to a service integrator. COO Smith warns
you that the political environment will only become more contentious over time; you must make a compelling case
as to what value your department can bring over an integrator to provide security improvements in certain key areas
without a significant increase to the IT budget. It is extremely important that you take into account the value of the
assets being protected when selecting security controls to mitigate the risks (i.e. donâ€™t spend $1000 to protect an
asset worth $500). In addition to what you learned from COO Smith about the previous exploits of FMIâ€™s
vulnerabilities and what you gathered when reviewing FMIâ€™s network infrastructure, COO Smith has provided
some additional information that he wants you to take into account:
- Ever since an article ran in Inc. Magazine about FMI, the network engineers report that theyâ€™ve noted
a significant spike in network traffic crossing into the internal networks. They report that they cannot
be certain what or who is generating this traffic, but the volume and frequency of traffic is certainly
abnormal. The management is very concerned over securing the corporate confidential data and
customer information. Suggestions on improvements to perimeter security and/or methods of
identifying the source of intrusions should be presented in your risk assessment.
- The interrelationship between data and operations concerns COO Smith. Increasingly, some of the
twenty remote sites have been reporting significant problems with network latency, slow
performance, and application time-outs against the Oracle database. The companyâ€™s business model
is driving higher and higher demand for data, but your capability to respond to these problems are
drastically limited. Suggestions on reducing network latency or increasing application response time
and availability should be presented in your riskassessment.
- Mobility is important for the organization to interact with the customers and other co-workers in near
real-time. However, COO Smith is concerned with mobility security and would like you to research
best practices for mobile computing. Security within the BYOD environment should be presented in
your risk assessment.
- Employees enjoy the flexibility of getting access to the corporate network using a WiFi network.
However, COO Smith is concerned over the security ramifications over the wireless network that is
widely open to the company and nearby residents. Security within the wireless environment should be
presented in your risk assessment.
- The company plans to offer its products and services online and requested its IT department to design
a Cloud Computing based e-commerce platform. However, COO Smith is particularly concerned over
the cloud computing security in case the customer database is breached.
â€¢ Provide an Executive Summary.
â€¢ From the devices and systems identified in the FMI Corporate Network Topology, conduct a
thorough asset inventory, assign monetary values to each asset (quantitative), and assign a priority
value for each asset (qualitative) that could be used to determine which assets are most critical for
restoral in the event of a catastrophic event or attack.
â€¢ Evaluate the perimeter security, make a list of access points internal and external(remote), identify
vulnerabilities and make suggestions for improvements to perimeter and network security.
â€¢ Evaluate the remote access infrastructure, identify vulnerabilities and suggest security
improvements to mitigate risks to remote access.
â€¢ Address the COOâ€™s concern over the mobility security and design a secure mobile computing
(smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc.) in terms of authentication technologies and dataprotection.
â€¢ Identify wireless vulnerabilities and recommend what safeguards, authentication technologies,and
network security to protect data should be implemented.
â€¢ Evaluate the authentication protocols and methodologies within the wired, wireless, mobility and
remote access environments and suggest improvements to secure authentication forFMI.
â€¢ Evaluate the web system protocols and vulnerabilities within the Intranet server and suggest
secure protocol improvements to improve security for web authentication.
â€¢ Design a cloud computing environment for the company with a secure means of data protection at
rest, in motion and in process.
â€¢ Assess all known vulnerabilities on each asset in this environment and impacts if compromised.
â€¢ Using the asset inventory and the assigned values (monetary and priority) conduct a quantitative
and qualitative risk assessment of the FMInetwork.