Your Employees and Their 917 Different Cloud Apps. Are You a Sitting Duck?

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

targeted duckEvery day someone in your company is using a cloud app. Actually, it is probably more like every minute. Let’s not go into the personal versus work devices on the company network, or whether it is Facebook or Dropbox they are using. Those details don’t really tend to matter when the access allowed is for your own business to decide. It is about the sheer number of cloud services and apps in use in the enterprise today, the visibility in knowing what they are, and the many employees who are left out of the conversation.

We hear managers talk about how it can’t happen to them. They have the best employees, and the discussion is unnecessary. It is already understood–they would NEVER do that! Or our favorite–big brother–the need to let your employees know you really trust them and respect their privacy by allowing them to do what they think they need to do on their own. But that’s not going to protect your business when malware hits or a breach happens . . . and the chances of these happening to you are growing exponentially every day, especially when you are not communicating security issues with your employees.

With all the headlines being about Shadow IT, malware, data loss, intrusions, and ransomware, you would think it would be a common workplace discussion. But based on some recent surveys, companies aren’t saying much internally.

Some numbers that may surprise you. What percentage of employees:

  • Have not been told the right way to download/use cloud applications: almost 60%
  • Have not been told risks of downloading cloud apps without IT’s knowledge: just under 40%
  • Have not been told how to transfer and store corporate data securely: over 40% !!!!

To keep things in perspective–studies are showing that on average, enterprises have 917 different cloud apps in use!

This is not a respect for privacy issue. It’s a security issue, for your business and for your employees! Keeping them in the dark does not show them respect or protect them, it makes them victims before anything even happens.

As technology gets stronger, we as individuals have more decisions on what we use to make our lives, including work, more efficient. But if you do not educate and communicate regularly about cyber threats with your employees, have real visibility into their Web usage, or have a clear, agile Acceptable Use Policy (AUP), you are basically a sitting duck.

About Wavecrest Computing

Celebrating 20 years in business, Wavecrest Computing, headquartered in historic downtown Melbourne, FL, has provided commercial business and government clients with reliable, accurate Web-use management and Cloud Access Security Broker products since 1996. Managed Service Providers, IT specialists, HR professionals, and business managers trust Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products to manage employee Internet usage — managing cloud services, reducing liability risks, improving productivity, saving bandwidth, and controlling costs. Wavecrest has clients worldwide, including General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Florida Department of Health, Siemens, Department of Homeland Security, and a growing list of global enterprises and government agencies. We are a proud long-term GSA contract holder. For more information on the company, products, and partners, visit http://www.wavecrest.net.

 

*Stats based on surveys from Softchoice and Netskope.

Detecting and Controlling Unauthorized Outbound Connections

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Do you have a good handle on all outbound connections from your network, and how do you know?  Many times legitimate programs and applications downloaded are creating outbound connections without your knowledge or approval.  This can cause a serious drain on an organization’s network resources.  This exact scenario recently happened to a Wavecrest customer, and with the help of Wavecrest’s reports and technical support specialists, they were able to locate a program that was making 1,400+ outbound connections a day without their knowledge.

Many times, a program like this can be running in the background without the organization’s knowledge and is not necessarily identifiable in the process table.  It can only be caught if an organization is monitoring outbound Web connections through reports such as the ones in Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products.

In this particular scenario, the customer became knowledgeable of these unauthorized outbound connections because there were a couple of users being locked out of their computers.  To troubleshoot the issue, they along with Wavecrest technical support used the Authentication Manager in their CyBlock Proxy product to investigate.  They found that the users’ computers were creating some outbound traffic that was not authenticating with the proper credentials, thus eventually locking the users out due to an authentication security setting the organization had on their Active Directory configuration.  By using the Authentication Manager, Real-time Web Monitor and other reports, our technical support specialists were able to identify the file that was making these unauthorized outbound connections and remove it from the computers.

This scenario proves that it is important to be aware of what is going on in your network, and Wavecrest’s products can help IT administrators do that. There are several steps you can take to prevent and identify these types of problems in your network.

  1. Use reporting tools to spot unusual activity.
    1. Look for unusual patterns of Web activity.
      1. Review Dashboard trends to spot any unexpected spikes in activity.
      2. Review Dashboard top sites and top categories charts to find any unexpected sites or categories showing up in the top ten all of the sudden.
      3. Run a Site Analysis report at least once a week and be alert to changes in the volume and pattern of outbound Web activity. For example, if a single user is suddenly logging thousands of visits a day, chances are there’s an issue. That’s because “human” activity is usually more random.
    2. Watch the following categories: IP Address, Spyware/Malicious, Unsolicited or Push, Phishing/Fraud and Uncategorized “Other” Sites. High activity in these categories should raise a red flag for administrators. High traffic volume here warrants further investigation.
    3. Identify the source of the problem. Dig deeper by running a Category Audit Detail report to uncover both the site and the affected user. If your Category Audit Detail report shows an unusual number of hits to a specific Web site, that site is most likely the source of the issue.  You can also monitor the traffic in real time using the Real-Time Monitor to uncover the site causing the problem.
  2. Update your Web-use management tools.
    1. Update your Acceptable Use Policy. Employees need to understand the risks of Web surfing. Minimize risks of Internet abuse by implementing a policy to curtail at-work surfing and communicate it clearly to employees.
    2. Update your Wavecrest list. The Wavecrest control list is updated daily. We recommend downloading your Wavecrest control list daily to minimize the number of visits categorized as “Other” and ensure the best coverage possible. You can set Cyfin and CyBlock to do this automatically on the Administration – URL List – Schedule screen. (Note: If you spot a problem Web site that is uncategorized, email it to us at sites@wavecrest.net. Our site analysts will review the site and categorize it appropriately.)
  3. Contact Wavecrest Technical Support. Our support specialist are always eager to help you troubleshoot any issues you are having by helping you get the best out of the features and tools our products offer.

For more information on how Wavecrest’s products can help keep your network safe, we recommend you read our previous blog post on “Controlling Spyware” and “The Purpose of the IP Address Category.”

Note: The program in question that is addressed in this post is the Akamai NetSession Interface. It was hitting cn1.redswoosh.akadns.net and cn2.redswoosh.akadns.net 1400+ times a day. The program was located at C:\Program Files\Common Files\Akamai\AdminTool.exe. To remove the program with Wavecrest’s help, the customer:

  1. Opened the Command Prompt
  2. Went to the folder location by typing”Program Files\Common Files\Akamai”
  3. Then typed “admin uninstall-force” to remove it.

Remember: Our technical support specialists are here to help. If you ever need help with your product configuration or see something unusual in a report or on the real-time monitor that you are unsure about, please feel free to contact Wavecrest technical support, and they will be happy to help you.

Technical Support Contact Information
Direct: 321-953-5351, ext. 4
Toll-Free: 877-442-9346 ext. 4
Email: support@wavecrest.net

New Advanced Reporting Options

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

New advanced reporting options were recently added to Cyfin and CyBlock. You can configure these options by going to Advanced Settings – Report Settings in your Cyfin or CyBlock product and clicking on the Advanced Options link. The new options include the following:

  • Check For New Logfiles. Before running a report, the product will check for any new logfiles. This option is selected by default.
  • Compress Reports For Email. This compresses the report attachment for read-only reports in an email as a .zip file.
  • Display Login Name and IP Address. Select this option if you want to see both the login name and IP address for each record in the report.
  • Include All Group´s Users. This will display a user ID even if there is no data for that ID in a User Audit Detail or Category Audit Detail report.

If you have any questions about these settings, contact technical support by phone at 321-953-5351, ext. 4 or by email at support@wavecrest.net.