Posts Tagged ‘Cyber Security’

By: Francesco Trama: Co-Founder: PacketViper, LLC

Network Security Driving Me NutsI woke one morning and found this alert in my email:

ON WORLD Press Freedom Day, Saturday May 3, Panama’s TVN channel 2 received another “cyber-attack” on its website (tvn-2.com). The network said that the attacks have gone on continuously for five days leading up to Sunday’s election and a TVN broadcaster has been threatened via Twitter. read http://www.newsroompanama.com/panama/7645-press-freedom-day-marred-by-cyber-attack-on-tvn.html” 

My opinion is this: There needs to be a point when “we” as security sales professionals provide a disclaimer that clearly explains:

Disclaimer: This security device may get you 80% secure at best with hard work, and commitment; This device will need constant attention, managing, and there’s a good possibility if you forget, or ignore something on it your network and all its data will be compromised! 

I’m sure it might say something in twenty paragraphs of the EULA.

There are many factors on why I say this,

1. Complexity

2. Learning curve

3. Commitment to product

4. Lack of firewall and security knowledge

5. Management

6. False sense of security after the sale.

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I could not agree more with this Huffington Post blogger.  Small business is the soft under belly of network security and everyone needs to wake up.  Think about it, small business have just as valuable data as the large organization, and their security is weaker.  So it makes them an obvious target to siphon data from.

Its a two front problem.  these smaller businesses contain valuable customer information the attackers salivate over, and should these less secure businesses have secure connections,  username and password to a larger organization, then its a twofer for the attacker. More disturbing is these side doors may not be discovered for 3-6, months,  an estimate many security firms are showing, so its a pretty serious problem.

It’s not necessarily their fault though. The cost for security can be very expensive, which forces them to purchase out of the box solutions that sometimes gives them a false sense of security,  not mentioning their security talent may not be there.

By Francesco Trama

 

“Smaller targets can mean big rewards for cyber criminals
Small and medium-sized businesses are equally susceptible to attacks from hackers as are large entities and even government agencies. According to the National Cyber Security Alliance, an astonishing one in five small businesses falls victim to cyber crime each year. Even more frightening: According to an August 2013 story in PCWorld, of those small businesses whose systems are breached, roughly 60 percent go out of business within six months after the attack.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-pugh/no-your-small-business-is_b_4164015.html

I got this alert today that one of our local media outlets got hit with a possible DDoS.  Just a few miles from them sits PacketViper, LLC, and PacketViper, something which would have shutdown the attacking countries at their port without the need of an global outage.

By Francesco Trama

Surge in web requests temporarily shuts down Trib Total Media website

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Every Cyber Attack has one thing in common. They can be launched and distributed from around the world, giving the attacker limitless possibilities, mobility, stealth, and time.

PRLog (Press Release)Oct. 15, 2013PITTSBURGHNetwork attacks are an unfortunate reality for everyone, and regardless of the size of your business, eventually the odds are that you will become a target. The world is a big place and every  IP address in every country is another potential hacker that could cost you time and money.  At some point, when you weigh the heightened cyber-risks that certain countries pose versus the amount of business transacted, the prudent businessman asks himself “Do I really need all this network traffic?”

Ask the folks at Viper Network Systems, developers of PacketViper Geo-IP Network Filter and experts in geographical filtering and security, and you will surely learn that in fact you do NOT need all that traffic.  In fact, Viper Network Systems will quickly show you that not only are you taking a huge unnecessary and unwarranted risk by thoughtlessly accepting all traffic from everywhere,  they will show you how you can quickly and easily eliminate the risk without any negative impact on your business.

According to Francesco Trama, President and CEO of Viper Network Systems, “No matter what industry your business falls in, the fact is that a good percentage of the traffic your security environment is dealing with is unnecessary.”

And once again, unnecessary traffic is unnecessary risk.For example, suppose you have an employee VPN, HR, or some Admin portal. Does the whole world need access to it?  Chances are, right now they have that access whether you want them to or not.  That needs to change.

Consider a typical cyber-threat scenario.  Most network attacks start with a simple scan or probing of the target’s public network space. Often, these attacks scan the entire network range and attempt to analyze business links within your web portal to see who you know and with whom you communicate.

These scans give the attacker valuable information about what options they should pull out of their bag of tricks to deploy against the exposed network services. Once they identify what type of Web, Mail, DNS, or other discrete port or server is available, the attacker will attempt to penetrate your exposed ports and test them for vulnerabilities and kinks. And again, since these hackers could be anywhere in the world and they can access a global network of proxies, they work and scheme under the safety of anonymity of compromised PC’s and poorly managed public spaces around the world.  With the attacker’s endless possibilities to exploit, probe, and attack vulnerabilities with little chance of being caught, these criminals can scan millions of networks around the world at their leisure looking for the right opportunity to present itself.  Unfortunately, in the cyber-security world, for the present, time is on the attacker’s side, and reports prove that eventually, they will breach someone’s network.  The question is, will it be yours?

If that scenario seems depressing or the prospect of being sued for damages caused by a breach to your network keeps you up at night, maybe it’s time to turn the tables on the hackers with Viper Network System’s enhanced Geo-IP filtering that puts you back in control of who gets to access your network.

The power and genius of Viper Network System’s flagship product “PacketViper” stems from its unique capability to restrict countries to a specific network port bi-directionally.  This one-of-a-kind tool makes it possible to block, limit, redirect, or alert which network ports countries may access.  This makes PacketViper the industry standard in Geo-IP filtering and puts it light-years ahead of its competitors in terms of both its power to protect and its precision and flexibility to match filter settings to an individual business needs.  And while PacketViper is already the best Geo-IP filter on the market, Viper Network Systems proprietary Global Network Lists, Redirection, Country Triggers, and Network Alerts all come standard with the PacketViper system, providing comprehensive and flexible geographical filtering that shapes global network traffic to each customer’s needs.

Amazingly, with all that power, Viper Network Systems developed PacketViper to install seamlessly inline, in front of your existing security environment, with a low startup cost and with no need to modify anything else in your network or security setup. This is a huge benefit for those environments which need updated, hardened, or simply feel they need to do something more.

In a matter of minutes, your security environment can be dramatically hardened and improved without the need of complex policies or steep learning curves for new and expensive security devices. PacketViper’s low latency, transparent, and near wire performance is a formidable opponent for the cyber-criminal, but its user-friendly and intuitive format will allow your network administrators to harness its power without missing a beat.

Interested in adding this essential additional layer to your security environment? Can’t believe it can be this simple? Viper Network Systems has recently released several videos which show definitively how Geo-IP network filtering improves your security landscape, and how the entire process can be completed in a few minutes and clicks of a mouse.  You can’t afford not to take a look at this next-generation complement to your security network.

About Viper Network Systems

Viper Network Systems has developed PacketViper, a intelligent Geo IP Network Filter capable of bi-directionally filtering any country at the network port level.   PacketViper removes unwanted probing, fights against DDOS attacks, spam, dramatically improves network performance, and much, much more. With PacketViper on the front line, security environments are less congested and more effective.

About PacketViper:

PacketViper replaced complex geo-location filtering, and turned it into a practical tool against cyber crime and attacks. PacketViper’s new advances in bi-directional per-port filtering performed at the gateway eliminate unwanted network traffic before it enters the security environment.   This has proved to combat DDOS, spam, port probing, breaches, and scanning threats, all while reducing bandwidth usage and improving performance.

 

By Francesco Trama

Geo IP (Country) filtering is growing more and more popular given the distribution of global network attacks. IDS/IPS systems do their best in anticipating malicious network activities. Some of problems network security teams have experienced is extended implementation times, cost, learning curves, false positives, complex management, and how to deal with distributed large attacks or the speed in how attacks, viruses, and malware adapt.

Intrusion Detection/Prevention Systems (SecurityWizardy.com)
Intrusion Detection Systems form a small but critical piece of the computer security jigsaw, alerting to intrusions and attacks aimed at computers or networks.  They’re not the computer security panacea.  But, they are your eyes and ears, essential in knowing whether you are under attack. Intrusion Prevention Systems take this concept to the next level and sit inline blocking the packets you tell them to based on signatures as per the IDS.  They can be highly effective as a defensive tool but need to be configured with great care and attention in stages…… Read More

Unfortunately there is no silver bullet in network security! Network Security needs to be approached in layers, and most will say it should look like this:

  • Firewall /NDIS (network Intrusion and Detection)
  • Email Scanning
  • Web Security
  • Sever Level Virus
  • Workstation Virus
  • Patch Updating Systems
  • Attentive Employees
This is where I believe security environments fall short, and why Geo IP (country) filtering layers are vital in the network security. I’m not saying to throw some broad stroking country blocker into your environment, what I am saying is having a robust Geo IP  filtering system, which is granular and simple to operated! Blindly blocking country ranges is just not practical if you are a global business.

Our security layer looks like this

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I’ve seen several vendors which have integrated Geo-IP filtering into their appliances, but when you actually start using their Geo-IP tools you quickly realize their Geo-IP is not the products strong point. Some would say it was added only for marketing reasons, even not taken seriously.

In the small Geo IP (country) blocking market there really is not too much to choose from. It seems most of the products consist of downloading some sort of list regularly, then applying them to a firewall. The lists come in many different formats to accommodate the varieties of firewall systems. There are many problems with these services like accuracy, manual updating, implementation complexity, support, and troubleshooting to name some.

I’ve also seen services, which provide you code for your web site. The code is inserted into your web pages, and as traffic accesses your web service, it’s evaluated, and filtered like a country RBL. These types of services, although creative seem they would generate more traffic, just like RBL services do. I’m sure in a very small percentage would be useful useful, but high-volume web servers would suffer. Not to mention you are only protecting the web server, and it would need to be applied to all web servers. The few hardware-based products I found range from; little to no country filtering smarts, to price points in excessive of 75K. The higher priced product I found seems to claim 50-100K is the right price for country filtering? I would emphatically disagree.

Because we do not to have many choices when it comes to Geo IP (country) filters, we could conclude country filtering is not really important to firewall manufacturers. In fact, it seems the perception is ” Geo IP (country) blocking is impractical ” and unnecessary in some circles. I couldn’t disagree completely.

If I would tell you there is a product which;

  • Low cost
  • Inline and Transparent
  • Fail open NIC’s
  • Used on your own hardware
  • Filters countries by port bi-directionally
  • Includes alerts, country/network/ip triggers, honeypots, tarpits, country redirection
  • Complete with its own global network lists of well known/bad networks
  • Web based and accessible from mobile devices
  • Purchased as an appliance or downloadable software
  • Works in VM Environments.

Wouldn’t you get it immediately?

Viper Network Systems (VNS) launched a product called PacketViper in 2011 we does exactly what everyone has been missing, per port geo IP filtering,  The product quickly installs into most hardware platforms, or can be purchased as an appliance. PacketViper likes to sit in front of the security environment, to clean up the unwanted traffic before entering.

Viper Network Systems ripped a few pages out of VMWare ESXi, and released PacketViper Starter. It’s completely free, and never expires. You wonder what the catch would be? No catch other than some limitation on how many countries you can block at once, NetCheck (IP Search/Block feature), Global Network Lists are limited, and a couple of other minor limitations. Other than that the product is free to use.

PacketViper was built for security teams to quickly respond to global threats in real time. Frank Trama, President & Co-Founder whose roots stem from network administrations, design, and management found there was need that needed to be filled. Partnering with Dan Gynn, now Chief product Officer & Co-Founder turned this need into an incredible and practical product call PacketViper, a security layer I cannot see my network without. The products’ focus is Geo IP (country) filtering with a style and grace not seen in any other product in the market today. PacketViper fills the gaps which all environments are missing.

PacketViper blocks countries by simply clicking on a map, setting which ports to block/allow (all or some), and clicking apply. It’s really that simple. There is so much more though like real time clickable logs, which you can quickly select and see the complete details of the IP, which is called NetCheck;

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NetCheck is the feature administrators have been waiting for. The cure-all for understanding the IP origins, its assigned network ranges, and much more. NetCheck can quickly block the IP or every registered network range it’s assigned to. A great tool when you want to eliminate complete spamming networks. We could go on for a while with its features, just check them out at here.

So is country filtering impractical? Let’s all admit it. IP Blocking is a pain! What the folks at Viper Network Systems did is put it all together in an affordable package. Image what happens when you start filtering out the unwanted country traffic (SQL management port attempts from China, RPC attempts from Russia, Telnet attacks from Romania, spam from Africa and Brazil). IDS/IPS experiences fewer false positives, which can be dialed in better to become more effective, spam and system loads are reduced; bandwidth is freed up of unproductive global traffic, and network security is further hardened. Why you ask? It’s simple; you reduce the attack space to your exposed ports in your security environment. There is less intention analysis needed.

If you filter out just 30% of the unwanted traffic to your internet facing servers and devices. That’s 30% you do not have to worry about again, then dial in the country blocker like PacketViper to drop 50% of your global traffic. That’s 50% less you have to sift through, 50% fewer loads on your security systems, and 50% fewer chances of malicious traffic finding a vulnerability.

Why would you then allow that obscure country access at VPN, FTP, and the thousands of other ports? I can tell you wouldn’t or wouldn’t want to. This is why smart country blockers are important and needed. —-Frank Trama

Overall Geo IP (Country) blocking can be practical and should be a required layer for every security environment. Personally, I cannot see any of my environments without this feature. For full disclosure, I have the product and contributed to its design.

CEO & Co-Founder
PacketViper, LLC

The preconception we always run into is that Geo Location filtering is more cumbersome than its worth.  If you would have told me 5 years ago “You should block countries“, I would be the first one to push back.  It was such a nightmare if you turned off a country given the global makeup of business. We had to rip out the pages and start new when building PacketViper, and knew the fight would be more the preconceive thinking of country blocking.

PacketViper solved the problem of filtering countries by allowing customers to drop or allow specific ports.  This started new security layer called the Geo IP filtering layer. Piling on features such as per port Global Network Lists, Custom rules, Triggers, and alerts which can be assigned to countries, and Global Network Lists. This created a new layer of defense that improved current environments with out having to rip or replace the existing security environment.

Here’s a video I created that shows how PacketViper helps.

By Francesco Trama

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, a local paper wrote a small blurb on what PacketViper is doing to improve network security environments.   During the interview we disabled PacketViper and took a picture of a Barracuda Spam Filter which was being protected. As you can see in the photo, a huge spike in traffic immediately appeared, signifying it was processing 400x the amount of traffic prior to disabling PacketViper, our Geo IP Network Filter.

The thinking for per port Geo IP is simple, does every country need access to every port, or does your environment really have to process every network request from the world? Before you answer yes so quickly.  Think about that question. Technically, doesn’t your firewalls, IDS, or IPS systems look for malicious traffic an drop it?  So the answer is undoubtedly no. The idea all exposed ports have to be accessible from all corners of the world is unfathomable, and perplexing to me.

The fact is globally exposed ports have always been a weakness in all security designs today. Sure we can lessen the the risk with strong password policies, intense scrutiny using algorithmic analysis, or secure portals to name some methods. But who’s protecting the secure portals log in pages, or if the attacker changes their pattern, a patch is not applied immediately, or rule is fat fingered? If I’m an attacker, I’m finding some other method then a well beaten path to breach you.

So again, why should the globe have access to ports used for key employees, target customers, or vendors?  Per port Geo IP filters like PacketViper, can surgically restrict specific ports to and from any country bi-directionally, there by alleviating the pressure through your security environment, while hardening security, without restricting your bushiness globally.

I sometimes wonder if we got so smart in threat detection, we have over looked the basic persistent problem of opening ports through our firewalls, and allowing anyone with a smart phone, or computer access.

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By: Francesco Trama