August 17, 2019

Why Does Your Organization Need Web Content Filtering?

(LiveHacking.Com) – The internet is a minefield for users who are not technology-savvy or who have a habit of clicking on links and downloading files without thinking of the consequences. Now take those users into a business environment and you start seeing the value and importance of web content filtering. As the web ‘threatscape’ becomes more complex and the Internet becomes a focal point for social, business and personal communication, web content filtering (and its additional security benefits) can go a long way toward protecting the network.

Content filtering server / proxy

Content filtering server / proxy

All IT teams are aware of the risks associated with unrestricted internet browsing, and the traps that exist to trick unsuspecting users into clicking on links or files that could introduce viruses and compromise your network. However, you shouldn’t assume that this knowledge is universal throughout your company.

Hackers and cybercriminals do not discriminate between experienced or naïve internet users – everyone is a possible target – however the less experienced are often a far easier target because they have no clue what security is all about let alone what types of threats exist.

You can eliminate a range of risks to your systems by restricting the Internet content available to your users, and good filtering solutions allow you to automatically protect your users from phishing sites or infected content.

Security breaches aren’t the only risk associated with unrestricted and unmonitored browsing. A lot of employee time can be wasted due to the addictive nature of some Web content, particularly games and social networking sites. Web content filtering software can help you to block certain categories of sites permanently or on a time-limited basis, greatly reducing cyber-slacking and productivity drops.

Another danger associated with company Internet usage is the fact that some websites border on the illegal. For example, if you don’t filter and monitor Internet usage, you may find that members of staff are using the corporate connection to download music or movies illegally, leaving your company open to potential legal action.

Making it known that that you are using Web content filtering technology can bring about a change in employee attitudes and how they use company resources. If employees know they can be held accountable for the content they access, they are less likely to indulge in Internet activities that they feel could put their job at risk.

Web content filtering brings with it the additional benefit of freeing up company Internet bandwidth for legitimate, business related activates.

Web content filtering solutions are typically inexpensive, and too many risks and liabilities come into play if you choose not to implement one. These solutions also bring with them plenty of benefits for you, as a network administrator, not least reducing the risk of malware infections circumventing all the protection you have in place.

Editor Note: This guest post was provided by Ben Taylor on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Read more on web content filtering.

Disclaimer: All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Why Do We Need Patch Management?

(LiveHacking.Com) – Patch management is a key function for anyone working in IT and is responsible for the network. There are various reasons why patch management is so important and how, if neglected, can lead to service disruptions or give cyber criminals access to the network where they can steal data or cause serious damage.

Computers work by running software that performs different operations. Operating systems, for example, are a list of instructions which the computer runs one after the other in order to do a task that the vendor intended.

From time to time, vendors will see the need to update their products to improve performance or to address some security issue and patch management is the process that makes changes to a program as per vendor’s specifications.

Why Would a Vendor want to update their software?

GFI LanGuard shows missing updates

GFI LanGuard shows missing updates

The primary reason is that the software contains errors. Errors in coding or more specifically in the logic flow of a program can lead to a malicious attacker exploiting the logic to make the program perform in a way that the vendor never intended it to. This could cause either a service disruption or, even worse, allow an attacker to manipulate the program so that it runs the code the attacker wants and, in so doing, giving him or her control over the system.

Programs are quite complex and based on millions of lines of such instructions. It is fair to say that every piece of software contains errors which cause some type of side effect. In many cases, these errors often go unnoticed, however if an error causes a major problem, then a vendor is in a race against time to correct the problem. The longer it takes to correct the errors, the greater the window of opportunity for malicious people exploit the error and target those who are using the software.

What are the risks if a system is unpatched?

Systems that are not regularly patched can experience a number of issues, including:

  • Intrusions – Malicious attackers can gain access to your system and:
    • Turn it into a botnet – your computer is taken over and used to launch attacks on other computers or used to send spam
    • Steal Information and/or install mechanisms to spy on all that happens on that computer and other PCs on your network in the future
    • Create /Install a Backdoor or Rootkit – The attacker might install software allowing him easy access to the computer even if the issue is subsequently patched
    • Hacktivism – The attacker might gain access to your web server in order to change it to display political/activism messages
    • Beachhead – the attacker might use this machine to run further attacks on your network to gain access to more critical/valuable systems
  • Denial of Service – The attacker might use the coding error to crash your system
  • Stability – Coding Errors are a problem not only when someone tries to exploit them but bad code can cause a system to fail on its own if not fixed.
  • Performance – Sometimes a vendor may issue a patch to boost the program’s performance and provide additional value to the customer.

Vendors do not issue patches if it is not essential for their customers. Creating a Patch involves a lot of work for a vendor in terms of development and testing. A robust patch management policy and system can help administrators promptly install patches when a vendor issues them and thereby ensure that systems are up-to-date and error-free.

Editor Note: This guest post was provided by Emmanuel Carabott on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Read more on patch management.

Disclaimer: All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

 

Why Does Your Organization Need Web Security?

(LiveHacking.Com) – Malware is a threat to businesses that is often found addressed in today’s news headlines. The term “malware” encompasses different types of malicious software which could infect your corporate network including viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, adware, rootkits, crimeware and scareware.

In today’s business environment, most employees are careful when it comes to opening email attachments but are not always as cautious about clicking on links which can lead to a malware infection. With today’s sophisticated malware, the chances of a direct malware infection are high when downloading something from an infected website. Organizations find it extremely difficult to keep up with new malware and other security issues they need to address. Fortunately, businesses can now respond to possible malware threats through the use of internet monitoring software.

Internet monitoring software helps protect against web security threats by monitoring employees’ browsing activity. This software also helps enforce any internet usage policy a business has in place and can even be configured to block websites which employees are not allowed to access during business hours. To be truly effective, however, the internet monitoring software should include other essentials features. When shopping for new web filtering and web security software, keep the following features in mind:

  1. Web filtering should be very granular; meaning access to certain websites can be permitted or blocked based on an employee’s job requirements, the time of day, and the category of website. This will allow for easier administration of the software. Once configured, frequent changes should not be needed.
  2. Internet monitoring software should be able to protect the business from a variety of malware, spyware, and viruses. This is usually done using more than one type or version of virus/spyware engine. At minimum, at least two different types of virus/spyware protection should be included in any internet monitoring software you are considering.
  3. The solution should allow you to monitor and/or block certain downloads when necessary. You should also be able to block specific file types, such as mp3s, video files and zipped files, among others.
  4. Make sure that the web security solution you’re using is able to detect and warn users of possible phishing websites. Basically, this feature should tell the user whether he/she may be accessing known or suspected fake websites instead of the one they think they are actually linking to.
  5. Encrypted traffic should be inspected by internet monitoring software since it is one of the common ways of getting malicious traffic past firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
  6. Monitoring of outbound internet traffic will assist in preventing leakage of sensitive data/information either from an insider (i.e. employee or contractor) or from malicious software that is sending sensitive information to another location.

While this is not an all-encompassing list, it provides you with main features to look for when researching and selecting internet monitoring software to protect your business against any web security threats.

Editor note: This guest post was provided by Sean McCrearyon behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. More information: GFI Internet Monitoring Software.

Disclaimer: All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

4 Important Reasons to Use a Vulnerability Scanner

(LiveHacking.Com) — As a network administrator, could you honestly say that you are up-to-date on every new vulnerability which could affect the security of your operating systems and software products on your network? The sheer volume and frequency of this information makes it extremely difficult for a single individual to know it all, and other day-to-day tasks often get in the way. Using a vulnerability scanner can take off some of this responsibility from your shoulders, giving you peace of mind. Here are four reasons why using a vulnerability scanner will make your life easier:

GFI LANguard - Dashboard

GFI LANguard - Dashboard

  1. Good vulnerability scanners make use of highly detailed databases of known vulnerabilities and scan your systems to give you a realistic view of how secure they are. An extraordinary amount of manual checking would be required to stay in control of this without the help of dedicated software.
  2. It is practically impossible to manually keep track of certain small issues, such as individual open ports on a laptop or an antivirus product disabled by a user. Using a vulnerability scanner to alert you to these new security glitches reduces the quantity of manual checking that is otherwise required to ensure they don’t go unnoticed.
  3. Change management can be burdensome for a busy IT team, but if you fail to stay on top of it, it can be difficult to track the cause of new problems on your systems. A good vulnerability scanner maintains a list of significant network changes, and can also alert you to changes you may otherwise have been unaware of – a very useful feature if you have several technicians all capable of making configuration adjustments.
  4. You probably don’t enjoy trying to keep control of the numerous patches that have to be installed on your networked systems. Ranging from large operating system service packs to small patches that seal holes in software utilities, updates cannot be ignored. You can however minimize the late nights in the office and dark weekends in the server room by making use of the patch management facilities that form part of a robust vulnerability scanner solution.

These solutions also lower the risk of forgetting to apply important updates to those machines not instantly visible, such as the laptops hidden in desk drawers. Software auditing features can alert you when a machine appears on the LAN inadequately patched. Without these alerts, a computer runs the risk of being unprotected until is it picked up during your next manual update—not something that will be fun to explain to a chief executive if it results in your system being exploited.

Vulnerability scanners can remove some of the more routine and, let’s face it, sometimes rather dull tasks involved in managing an office network. At the same time, these solutions can help to ensure you meet all of your compliance obligations. Most importantly, they can help you, as an IT professional, to sleep more soundly at night!

Editor note: This guest post was provided by Ben Taylor on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. More information: GFI vulnerability scanner .

Disclaimer: All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.