Security executives have increasingly urged firms to utilize prevention, encouraging a plan that encompasses Information Technology and business units in order to ensure cyber security.
Why might you ask? As a mere observation, most firms have accepted hackers as a viable threat that will eventually infiltrate their network. Rather than focus on preventative measures, companies have taken to the opposite, strengthening their reactive forces and mitigating the damage a hacker can do once inside. Although important, focus needs to be on cyber security and data breach prevention in addition to recovery after the fact. This change of mindset ensures significant progress can be made to prevent threats, making better use of time and resources for your company.
John Davis, CSO of Palo Alto Networks’ federal division, suggests “Call for a comprehensive risk analysis, mapping out the different segments of the network and examining the needs of the enterprise along with the security concerns.” He encourages information technology teams and cybersecurity teams to work together for a higher level of performance. Prevention tactics bring together these two forces in a more collective manner.
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When it comes to WiFi, most would claim their network is secure and that there is little to worry about when it comes to someone in your neighborhood breaking into your network, but what happens when you combine a PogoPlug, 8gb of flash storage, some WiFi & GPS Radio’s, and a case or enclosure to hide all of that? You get the F-BOMB (Falling or Ballistically-launched Object that Makes Backdoors), Created by Brendan O’Connor and funded by DARPA, it’s a battery-powered device that cost’s a mere $50, and once it’s in range of a wireless network, this home-brewed Linux based device can crack into your WiFi network and upload it’s findings to a server, making it a device remotely accessible for further mischief. We here at BVA strongly suggest taking every precaution available for protecting your home-networks and business networks which includes the use of certificates, mac filtering, and even enterprise protocol’s.
Malware is difficult and one of the most hateful things that bva has to deal with each month with the accounts that we support. bva has many good tools that help clean individual machines but nothing that manages an infrastructure or enterprise environment. One of the most powerful and reliable tools is Malwarebytes and its is Free for a single workstation via cleaning. But being able to scan an overall environment has been a struggle with any product that we try and test in beta. Malwarebytes is nearing the completion date of their first beta version that we have had the opportunity to look at. With more and more systems moving into the cloud, local systems are on the internet more often and as a result more susceptible for these types of issues.
This new Enterprise Edition will provide a central console that will allow corporate clients to manage Malwarebytes Anti-Malware agent across their network. It will have client remote installation, policy deployment, scheduling, and reporting. We have been told that it will be release to the public by March of 2012 and will be priced very realistically.
In the past 6 months BVA has seen a tremendous push towards (VDI) Virtual Desktop Infrastructure which is unique in my eyes, for the most part it is because we have come full circle. About 10 years ago there was a tremendous push toward thin-clients and dumb terminals which had a lot of success back then. After a few years of this, organizations decided to move back to heavy client models mostly due to workstations lowering their cost. Regardless of how we got to this point, VDI is back and more popular than ever. BVA has deployed over four VDI solutions in the past three months with minimal hurdles and we are getting great reviews from the client via user experience.
Lets talk about VDI and what it is and is not. Basically Virtualization technology can provide virtual desktops to your users which, over time, will save you on hardware cost as well as administration. All of us are familiar with the concept of virtual platforms/servers and using this technology to virtualize server applications (like SQL server, print servers, or other dedicated servers). VDI takes this a step farther.
Here are the steps to using VDI:
- Create a virtual machine
- Install a VDI Connection Broker – this Connection Broker is what determines which Remote Desktop Host a user is assigned or should be connected to. Here are some of the connection brokers available today:
- ChipPC Virtual Desktop Center
- Citrix Desktop Broker for Presentation Server
- Dunes Virtual Desktop Orchestrator (VD-O) and Virtual Service Orchestrator (VS-O)
- LeoStream Virtual Desktop Connection Broker
- Propero workSpace
- Provision Networks Virtual Access Suite (VAS)
- Install a desktop operating system on that VM, such as Windows XP or Windows Vista
- Install desktop applications on the VM
- Allow remote access to that virtual desktop system over the network using any number of possible remote control options
VDI is basically thin-client computing (such as Citrix/Terminal Services). With VDI, you are taking the processing off of the end user’s device and bringing it onto a server. The difference with VDI, unlike thin-client, the virtual desktop is dedicated to a single end user or mapped to provide the desktop OS & applications to a single client viewing device. Many VDI packaged solutions, of course, uses VMware or Microsoft’s virtual platforms as the underlying virtualization product.
Why should an organization use VDI?
- Security – Desktops are more secure
- Rollback – Can use VMware’s snapshot and revert technology on desktop machines
- Centralized Apps – Applications upgrades are easier because systems are all in a centralized location
- Speed Deployment – You can quickly clone existing machines and roll out new systems because machines are all in a single central repository
- Provide a full desktop PC – You are providing full access to a virtual machine and each virtual desktop is mapped to a single user or a single client device.
- Reliability – If you could quickly restore any PC OS to a usable state, free from viruses or corruption, how reliable could your desktop systems be?
Here are some key points about the solution for your reference:
- You could use older or existing PC’s but that doesn’t provide you all the benefits you could get from VDI. You could also use thin-client devices running RDP. Ideally, you might consider something like the new Wyse Thins OS-VDI, made just for thin clients that will be connected to VDI servers. More information can be found at: http://www.wyse.com/about/news/pr/2006/0802_VMwareVDI.asp and http://www.wyse.com/products/software/os
- With regards to remote control application, you can choose from RDP, VNC, or others
- For Legacy hardware you can use RDP, for example, which supports USB devices on the client and if you could put a parallel or serial device on the server, you could also access it from the client.
- You will have to do your own cost comparison, keeping in mind, the soft numbers related to the increased security and management functionality. There are several case studies that outline a 5 year ROI that shows the cost comparison where you come out appropriately.
T-Mobile’s has come out with their first Android tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab. It is a good piece of hardware, but it doesn’t have enough great apps to be compelling. It’s hard to compete with other units like it for a variety of reasons, I feel not having enough apps is the largest one. The iPad makes it difficult to set itself aside from the others. Sprint also has its own version that actually came out two weeks ago, but just last week had the chance to play with this version. Both are part of the same line of device and make up the first true tablet competitors to the iPad. I will say this, this unit is sort of a new breed, because unlike the iPad, they’re truly small and light enough to be used on the go. In any case, they’re well built and worth watching, though they need more custom apps to be truly useful. The Samsung Galaxy Tab is about $399-$599. After playing with the unit I feel that the speed is great, nice camera that takes good pictures, and overall great performance.
This unit has 16GB of internal storage plus a memory card slot and the T-Mobile’s 3G network is very fast and reliable which is key. The Galaxy Tab can’t hit T-Mobile’s maximum HSPA+ speeds of 7Mbps, but its got a healthy 2Mbps on the Galaxy Tab’s HSPA 7.2 modem using the Ookla speed test app. The device also has 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and it had no trouble connecting to our WPA2 protected network. There’s no Wi-Fi sharing mode, though, but there’s a USB tethering mode. Looking over the web reports it is documented that some people have achieved 7.0 hours of video playback time, with screen brightness set to automatic. The battery life for the galaxy is shorter than the iPad’s battery life, but Apple’s tablet is larger, thus the larger battery. The Galaxy Tab model runs on Android 2.2. But here’s the biggest problem with the Tab: there is currently one good app for Android tablets. It is the new Wall Street Journal app, and it’s just beautiful, with a ‘virtual newspaper’ look and feel that is far easier and more fun to read than, say, the New York Times’ or the AP’s list format. It is reported that more apps are coming, but who really knows when that is happening.
- Device Specifications
- Screen Size- 7 inches
- Storage Capacity- 16 GB
- Dimensions- 7.48 x 4.74 x 0.7 inches
- Weight- 13.4 oz
- Networking Options- 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 3G
- Email Access- Dedicated email app
Verizon and Apple seem to be having problems about getting the iPhone on its network and being able to sell it. It’s pretty funny that as a result, the carrier is getting the iPad instead. Apple and Verizon Wireless today announced that the Apple iPad will be available in more than 2,000 Verizon Wireless retail stores starting October 28.
AT&T still has the exclusive contract with Apple and of course someone got really creative with how to make this happen. Verizon Wireless will not sell the iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G), the version of the tablet that runs on AT&T’s 3G network, it will instead sell the Wi-Fi-only iPad with its own Verizon MiFi 2200 Intelligent Mobile Hotspot.
The iPad will be available in three bundles:
•Apple iPad 16GB + MiFi: $629.99
•Apple iPad 32GB + MiFi: $729.99
•Apple iPad 64GB + MiFi: $829.99
As far as data plans for the iPad, Verizon will offer one: Up to 1GB of data for $20 per month.
Verizon’s bundle prices are the same as what you’d pay for the iPad with integrated AT&T 3G. But Apple and AT&T offer a choice of two service plans: 250MB a month for $14.99 or 2GB month for $25.
Incidentally, AT&T today also announced that it would begin selling the Wi-Fi + 3G iPad in its retail stores on the same day: October 28.
The upside to buying an iPad from Verizon? Versatility: The MiFi provides Internet access for up to five devices at a range of about 30 to 40 feet. But it is one more thing to tote along with you, though the MiFi is only about the size of a pack of cigarettes, but half as thick (3.5 by 2.3 by 0.4 inches).
It’s also one more thing you need to keep charged. Battery life varies depending on how many devices you have connected at once. In our tests, with four Wi-Fi connections, the battery dropped to one bar in an hour. In 90 minutes, it was almost fully drained. On the other hand, we were able to eke out 8 hours and 5 minutes of power on the iPad (Wi-Fi + 3G) running the 3G modem nonstop. Lots of things to consider I suppose but it seems that this offering is a bit premature and not as seamless as it should be.
BVA has found that these types of mobile devises if not provisioned correctly can seriously be a security risk to your network environment. Security policies need to be set forth to ensure security at all levels of access. Apple iPad tablet device as well as the iPhone is slowly becoming a legitimate business tool, your employees will soon have them in hand and invade your business. The reality is that the iPhone changes the playing field for security and really surprised IT consulting companies and their administrators when it got released. The users needs versus wants changed completely where being able to have a Smartphone that just sync’s calendars, contacts, and emails changes drastically. The iPhone hit the scene and next thing we were getting requests for it to be integrated into a businesses mail environment immediately. These requests were coming from owners and directors, decision makers were being demanding about making it work, totally side-stepping the security protocols set forth by years of experience and best practice. The bottom line is that the line between corporate tool and consumer gadget has not just been blurred; it has been completely erased. There have been several studies that have shown that when asked, the iPad and iPhones present the greatest smartphone security risk for IT. It’s a scary thought that you have locked down your environment but since a new gadget gets releases to the market and owners want it, it diminishes the integrity of the system.
There was recently a few contents by security outfits where they had people hack the iPhone in less than 2 minutes and won a cash price. This is a scary thought and quite frankly shows how easy it can be for the non-hacker. Obviously it might take a little longer from a less talented hacker but it can clearly be done. Apple has little intention to make their OS more secure because it’s not the market that they are targeting. Again they are targeting the consumer, not the business enterprise. I am sure there will be a point in time when that day comes but it is not in the near future. If Apple at the very minimum addressed just the enterprise security, supportability requirements, and new hardware level encryption. I want to be very clear that the OS on the iPhone is the same as the iPad as well as its security. Apple targeted the iPad primarily as a media consumption gadget for the residential consumer, not the business community but again we have seen this shift. I am not saying that you should ban the iPhone or iPad but develop policies and procedures that address the rules of engagement for integrating the iPad with your network environment.
As you develop the policies, keep in mind that the iPad is unique and could fall into a few different areas for policies. Here are some key points to keep in mind:
• delivers notebook-like functionality
• smartphone OS platform
• normally placed in the policy bucket for computer usage and security policies, not recommended
• a good policy bucket to consider – smartphone usage and security policies (recommended)
• same smartphone OS was hacked in less than 2 minutes
Make sure that whatever policy selected addresses the most important factor here which is allowing or denying the storage of confidential or sensitive information on the iPad, or how e-mail, instant messaging and other communications conducted through the iPad fit within archiving and compliance requirements.