Network Critical - The Window to your Network

Pokemon GO and BYOD

What does Pokemon GO have to do with BYOD? Good question.

With over two billion smartphones in use today, many companies are developing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies that specify who has access to what information on the corporate network, and from what types of devices. There are access levels and policies for which apps can be used and which types of sites can be accessed by personal devices connected to corporate servers.

Pokemon GO is a new game app that has taken the world by storm. If you are a CIO, Network Manager, IT Director or even CEO, you should be concerned with this app and immediately prohibit this app from any device that has any access to the corporate network.

When signing up for Pokemon GO, the site requires that the user sign in from an existing Google account or create a new Pokemon user account. However, as of this writing, Pokemon was not accepting new accounts, thus leaving Google as the only option. While signing in with an existing Google account, the user grants “full permission” for the game to access everything on the device. This includes allowing full access for the app to:

  • Read all your mail
  • Send email as the user
  • Access all user google drive documents
  • Access history, maps and navigation history
  • Access photos
  • Access text messages
  • Use “forgot password” links to change passwords

Essentially, this application will have full user access to the device and its contents. It is possible to reduce permissions but most people just click through the sign in process and do not pay attention to the sign in process details.

Now, for an individual user, this is a huge privacy breach. However, for a corporate user who is using his or her device for business, this represents major exposure to the company and any proprietary and confidential information accessed or stored on the phone. Photos of prototypes, emails about new releases, customer data, stock information, confidential text messages and many other confidential corporate communications can be exposed to hackers.

The issues above are problems with the legitimate application. There are also hackers that are creating bootleg applications in countries where the legitimate application is not available. These bootleg copies of the game embed malicious applications onto phones that directly access all the information above.

It is important to have a strongly enforced BYOD policy for your company. Also, however, that policy must be constantly reviewed and updated as new apps come on line. Many seemingly harmless apps on employee phones can create new vulnerabilities to corporate networks.

BYOD policy, enforcement and training are important but will not catch everything. Security technology is also critical to a strong network security program. In addition to reviewing access policies, it is also critical to have strong perimeter security using Next Generation Intrusion Protection (NGIPS) and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) appliances.

These appliances can easily and quickly be attached to network links using TAPs such as the SmartNA-X from Network Critical (www.networkcritical.com). Using intelligent TAPs and perimeter protection appliances can help secure your network from the endless barrage of malicious software from direct attack or un-intentional employee infections.

Network security threats are just like Pokemon; you've got to catch 'em all.
 

Update: Since this article was originally written, the app developer has patched a number of the most serious security issues present in the game at launch but, despite Niantic's quick response, the story still serves to highlight the risks involved with BYOD and apps such as Pokemon GO that can potentially gain unlimited access to corporate data.

Posted: 27/07/2016 14:40:41 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Data Connectors - This week, we are in Dallas!

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This is a quick one to let our readers know that Network Critical will be attending the Data Connectors Conference in Dallas next month. The event will take place at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Dallas, near the Galleria, and will be held on Thursday July 28th.

Data Connectors conferences are one of the premier technology security events, focused on the latest products and best practices available in an educational environment. You will find local product sources & seminars and have the opportunity to meet with representatives from many of the top security companies.

The Network Critical team will be demonstrating our TAP and Packet Broker technology and their ability to simplify the connection of security and performance tools to networks. While Network Critical is a global developer of network access technologies, we believe that these local events are important and valuable venues to meet with network engineers and designers.

So, if you are in Dallas on the conference date, please feel free to contact us at marketing-team@networkcritical.com and arrange an appointment!

If you are interested in finding out more information on this or other Data Connectors events, their website details are as follows: www.dataconnectors.com/events/

Posted: 25/07/2016 10:33:16 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Three Critical Tips for Using SFPs

Small Form-factor Pluggable (SFP) transceivers are very convenient and flexible devices for connecting network equipment. They plug into standard ports designed into network devices and related appliances. There are special benefits associated with SFP ports, and some caveats of which you should beware when considering using these devices.

There are many networking and communications devices that have what are known as SFP “cages” built into a device or modules that make up the connection options for the device. These cages are the location where SFP transceivers are plugged into the equipment. For the purposes of this discussion we will use a network TAP as the network equipment example.

TAPs provide physical connectivity to a variety of network tools and appliances that need access to the information flowing over a network. These could be security appliances, network probes for traffic analysis, application performance appliances and/or other network-connected appliances. There are many varieties of appliances and tools and, often, multiple appliances will need to be connected to the network simultaneously. TAPs provide multiple physical ports allowing all of these appliances to connect to network links. TAPs also provide Fail-Safe connections so that if power fails or the appliance goes offline, the network traffic will not be impacted.

Optical to Electrical Conversion - SFP transceivers can have single mode or multi-mode optics - even though their output to the device is electrical. Therefore, they are perfect for connecting appliances and tools that only have copper connections to fiber network links. Many networks are undergoing a transition to higher speeds and thus moving from copper to fiber links. Legacy copper appliances can continue to be useful on optical links by using optical network ports on a TAP, and SFP ports with RJ45 copper connectors to connect the copper appliance. In this case, the TAP will be connecting directly to the fiber network endpoints, then transmitting the output to the appliance using RJ45 copper SFP transceivers.

Using SFP to Connect a Mix of Appliances - Not all links are analyzed for the same purpose all the time; There are times that a network manager may need a probe to troubleshoot traffic issues. Other times, the same link may be connected to a different appliance to manage performance of certain applications, or to investigate a suspected security breach. Thus, it is often necessary to connect multiple tools to network links. It is convenient and cost effective to have physical ports that can connect to a variety of different network links. In these cases, the network end points and the output ports may consist of a variety of multi-mode fiber, single mode fiber and copper links. The same variation applies to the appliances. Using SFP connectors allows the network manager to connect to any link and any appliance regardless of the native port connector by simply inserting the appropriate SFP connector into the cage and connecting the cables. The SFP transceiver and the TAP will take care of the conversion.

Appliance Side Connections Only - Many manufacturers are making equipment only with SFP cages. This provides maximum flexibility for the end user and reduces cost for the manufacturer. If any port can be used with any piece of equipment simply by inserting SFP ports, the manufacturer does not need to make multiple models with fixed combinations of fiber and copper connections. This is a win-win on all sides assuming that one important rule is followed: SFP connectors should not be used on the network connection, only on the appliance side. This is a critical rule due to the failsafe technology built in to TAP network ports; Copper TAP ports have fast relays that restore the physical network connection in the event of a power failure, and Fiber TAP ports have optical splitters that permanently maintain the network connection regardless of power state. SFP cages have no direct connection to each other and no relay to connect to each other in the event of a power failure, therefore the fail safe benefit provided by a TAP would not be available if SFP cages were used for network-side connections.

As long as a network link is tapped directly with a copper or fiber network TAP port designed for failsafe, all appliance connections will work great using SFP transceivers. For connectivity devices that are fully populated with SFP cages, an outboard TAP should be used for the network connection. SFP connections can provide operational flexibility and cost savings as long as the golden rule is followed…no SFP on the network side.

Posted: 22/07/2016 10:30:48 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Data Connectors - This week, we are in Denver!

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This is a quick one to let our readers know that Network Critical will be attending the Data Connectors Conference in Denver this week. The event will take place at Embassy Suites, Denver-Downtown Convention Center, and will be held on Thursday July 21st.

Data Connectors conferences are one of the premier technology security events, focused on the latest products and best practices available in an educational environment. You will find local product sources & seminars and have the opportunity to meet with representatives from many of the top security companies.

The Network Critical team will be demonstrating our TAP and Packet Broker technology and their ability to simplify the connection of security and performance tools to networks. While Network Critical is a global developer of network access technologies, we believe that these local events are important and valuable venues to meet with network engineers and designers.

So, if you are in Denver on the conference date, please feel free to contact us at marketing-team@networkcritical.com and arrange an appointment!

If you are interested in finding out more information on this or other Data Connectors events, their website details are as follows: www.dataconnectors.com/events/

Posted: 19/07/2016 10:13:47 by Network Critical with 0 comments

RSA Conference - This week, we are in Singapore!

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This is a quick one to let our readers know that the Network Critical team will be exhibiting at the RSA Conference in Singapore this week. The event itself will be held at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, 20 to 22 July.

The RSA Conference Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) is the leading information security event in the region, and comprises three days of engaging sessions and intense networking. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about new approaches to info security, discover the latest technology and interact with top security leaders and pioneers. There will also be numerous hands-on sessions, keynotes and informal gatherings allowing you to tap into a smart, forward-thinking global community that will inspire and empower you.

So, if you are in Singapore on the conference date, please feel free to contact us at marketing-team@networkcritical.com and arrange an appointment! Or if you are interested in finding out more about this event, you will find the information here: www.rsaconference.com/events/ap16

 

Posted: 18/07/2016 10:23:10 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Global Security, Local Education: Data Connectors, Dallas, July 2016

This is a quick one to let our readers know that Network Critical will be attending the Data Connectors Conference in Dallas next month. The event will take place at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dallas Near the Galleria, and will be held on Thursday July 28th.

Data Connectors conferences are one of the premier technology security events, focused on the latest products and best practices available in an educational environment. You will find local product sources & seminars and have the opportunity to meet with representatives from many of the top security companies.

The Network Critical team will be demonstrating our TAP and Packet Broker technology and their ability to simplify the connection of security and performance tools to networks. While Network Critical is a global developer of network access technologies, we believe that these local events are important and valuable venues to meet with network engineers and designers.

So, if you are in Dallas on the conference date, please feel free to contact us at marketing-team@networkcritical.com and arrange an appointment!

If you are interested in finding out more information on this or other Data Connectors events, their website details are as follows: www.dataconnectors.com/events/

Posted: 15/07/2016 00:06:17 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Cisco NGIPS and Network Critical SmartNA-X - Security and Availability

Yin and Yang, love and loss, risk and reward, investment and return, are all opposing elements in life and in business. Success is often defined by achieving balance between these opposing life elements. While we all strive to achieve balance, we also desire to tilt the scale toward the positive. We all want to have our cake and to eat it, too.

In the world of IT networks, robust security is in direct opposition with open availability. The more open your network, the less protected it is against malicious threats. Right? While there is no argument against this statement, there are ways to mitigate threats while providing availability to those who need it.

In order to protect against different types of attacks, network managers are deploying a variety of specialized appliances. Some of these are connected in-line and some out of band. For each in-line, connected appliance added to a network, the total network availability decreases and system MTBF increases. This is not a reflection of any one appliance, but instead the math of combining failure rates, regardless of how low, of multiple systems. Further, maintenance windows need to be calculated in, as well for, routine updates and potential trouble issues. If a link needs to be taken off-line every time an in-line appliance needs attention, and you have multiple appliances, you can see how the problem grows with each connected appliance.

The other problem is that security appliances are often purpose built with a specific focus. Therefore, broad security coverage requires many different appliances. While more than one appliance will likely be required for many networks and specialized services, deploying powerful multi-function appliances may reduce that number - saving cost and improving availability. How the appliances are deployed can also save cost and improve overall network availability. Cisco FirePOWER series appliances, connected through Network Critical’s Packet Broker platforms, allow networks to have their cake and eat it too…security and availability.

The Cisco FirePOWER 8000 Series Appliances are the base platform for the Cisco FirePOWER next-generation Intrusion Prevention System (NGIPS) threat protection solution. These appliances provide integrated, real-time contextual awareness, full-stack visibility and intelligent security automation. The modular appliances can be expanded to combine Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) and application visibility and control. Cisco FirePOWER integrates many security functions into one robust appliance.

The appliance, however, must necessarily be connected to the network. The Network Critical SmartNA-X™ Packet Broker platform is the most efficient way to make that connection. Using the SmartNA-X™ platform allows network managers maximum flexibility for physical port access, 100% complete and accurate flow of packet data to the appliances, and ultimate simplicity of deployment. The Drag-n-Vu™ user interface adds speed and accuracy to creating maps and filters by relieving the user of the complexity when creating maps and filters. Some of the SmartNA-X™ features include link aggregation, which can save cost on appliances, packet regeneration to send data to other appliances, and traffic balancing for equal distribution of packets from high speed access ports to lower speed appliance connections. All this is packaged in a highly dense, 1RU physical unit with a variety of application modules and dual, hot swappable power supplies.

The Cisco and Network Critical partnership provides network managers with the industry’s best threat protection, connected by the most flexible, simple to use visibility platform. There is no need for balance of opposing forces when you can have your cake and eat it too. Robust security and high availability are both to be achieved without compromise with the Cisco/Network Critical connection.

Posted: 13/07/2016 12:00:25 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Data Connectors - This week, we are in Vancouver!

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This is a quick one to let our readers know that Network Critical will be exhibiting at the Data Connectors Conference in Vancouver this week. The event will take place at Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver, and will be held on Thursday July 14th.

Data Connectors conferences are one of the premier technology security events, focused on the latest products and best practices available in an educational environment. You will find local product sources & seminars and have the opportunity to meet with representatives from many of the top security organizations.

The Network Critical team will be demonstrating our TAP and Packet Broker technology and their ability to simplify the connection of security and performance tools to networks. While Network Critical is a global developer of network access technologies, we believe that these local events are important and valuable venues to meet with network engineers and designers.

So, if you are in Vancouver on the conference date, please feel free to contact us at marketing-team@networkcritical.com and arrange an appointment!

If you are interested in finding out more information on this or other Data Connectors events, their website details are as follows: www.dataconnectors.com/events/

Posted: 11/07/2016 17:45:33 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Network Critical Joins the Cisco Solution Partner Program




Alpharetta, GA - July 11th 2016 – Network Critical announced that it has joined the Cisco® Solution Partner Program as a Solution Partner. The Internet of Everything (IoE) continues to bring together people, processes, data and things to enhance the relevancy of network connections. As a member of the Cisco Solution Partner Program, Network Critical is able to quickly create and deploy solutions to enhance the capabilities, performance and management of the network to capture value in the IoE.

Alastair Hartrup, Network Critical Founder and CEO said, “The Cisco Solution Partner Program is available to a select group of companies who meet strict quality and compatibility standards. We are pleased to be recognized by Cisco as a valuable contributor to their network and security ecosystem.”

The Cisco Solution Partner Program, part of the Cisco Partner Ecosystem, unites Cisco with third-party independent hardware and software vendors to deliver integrated solutions to joint customers. As a Solution Partner, Network Critical offers a complementary product offering and has started to collaborate with Cisco to meet the needs of joint customers. For more information on Network Critical, go to: marketplace.cisco.com/catalog/companies/network-critical-solutions-ltd-2--4

About Network Critical: Network Critical is the leading Intelligent Access and Monitoring Solutions provider delivering real-time IT visibility, monitoring and control. Network Critical provides lab-certified, innovative, carrier-grade TAP and Packet Broker solutions that enable complete access to network traffic across various network media. Network Critical’s SmartNA™ solutions are used in conjunction with Network Analyzers, IDS/IPS appliances, Bandwidth Management, Forensics, Filtering, Data Leakage Prevention and Lawful Interception, all while providing 100% network visibility and zero packet loss. For more information, please visit www.networkcritical.com

* Compatibility certification via Interoperability Verification Testing and Cisco Validated Design is designed to simulate typical customer configurations and does not replace the need for on-site testing and interoperability validation in conjunction with actual implementation.

Posted: 11/07/2016 14:32:43 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Meet the Network Critical team next week @ CISCO Live!

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This is just a quick reminder that Network Critical will be at the CISCO Live event in Las Vegas next week (10-14th).

Don’t miss your last opportunity to meet with us at the event - The schedules are nearly full,  so be sure to take the opportunity to arrange a meeting with one of the Network Critical Team who will be happy to discuss your requirements in more detail.

We will also be active on Social Media, documenting our experience of the event, so why not connect with us on Twitter - @NetworkCritical - and get a photo at the event with the NC team!

To contact us, or for any additional information, email marketing-team@networkcritical.com.

We look forward to seeing you in Vegas!

Posted: 08/07/2016 15:48:38 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Euro 2016 is Nearly Over - What Now?

Football in Europe will soon be drawing to a close. For the last three weeks, much of Europe has been engrossed in the spectacle that is international football. Wildly cheering for your team; Feeling the elation of every goal and the pain of every block; Screaming at the horrible calls from the refs against your team; Indignant at the yellow card issued to your favorite player. Of course there might also have been a few extra trips to the pub and a few more pints consumed than your normal routine over the last three weeks. And suddenly, everything will be back to normal.

Many people just move seamlessly back into their normal routine. For many, however, the transition is more painful. Three weeks of riding an alcohol fueled emotional roller coaster can have devastating consequences for some when the ride is over. There can be feelings of emptiness, loneliness, inadequacy and, sometimes, even violence.

By now you might be asking, what does this have to do with technology and cyber security? This is about life. Network engineers, network managers, network architects, CIO’s and others in our industry are not immune to human emotion. So, now that Euro 2016 is over, the thousands who work in our industry are going back to work, solving everyday problems and feeling the same feelings as everyone else. I thought it would be a good idea to provide some tips to help brighten your post football life. Here are a few tips from Dr. Phil McGraw that I found on the Huffington Post:

1. Pay attention to the woman or man who shares your house. - While many fans enjoy the games, their spouse may not share the same enthusiasm. For the non-fan in the house, these last three weeks have been an exercise in tolerance. It might be time to do something special for your special mate. Planning and executing this activity is a great way of saying thank you for allowing me this indulgence. It will also give you some renewed purpose and keep your mind off the void left by the games.

2. Don’t forget to have some fun with the kids. - If you have kids, remember that they likely did not participate in your pub oriented activities. In fact, if they are too little to have understood and participated over the last few weeks, they might be feeling a little neglected. It might be fun to think up a special day where you can spend some extra time with the kids. Watching them enjoy your special day together will surely lift your spirits.

3. Do some household chores. - After three weeks with ample couch and pub time you may be in need of some exercise. It is also a pretty good assumption that while you were juggling your time between game watching, work, and sleep, a few of the regular household chores have been neglected. Rolling up your sleeves and tackling the necessary will provide some exercise and a sense of accomplishment when you finish a job well done.

4. Get out of your comfort zone. - You have been immersed in a game played by world class athletes who have often overcome tremendous odds to achieve great things. They are at the pinnacle of their lives. Many are national heroes. It is natural to compare your life with theirs. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy in the void after you have been so closely identifying with these greats and their teams for the last three weeks. You do not need to go climb mount everest, but perhaps now is a good time to try something interesting that you have never found the time to experience. You will have to figure out what that is but planning and participating will give you some renewed purpose. Who knows, you might find a new talent that you never knew you had.

It is time to move on with life. Get back to work designing, managing, analyzing and securing the network. There are clients to help, sales that need to be made, equipment that needs to be purchased, clouds to be serviced, hackers to stop, code to write, family to enjoy, life to live. Get on with it. After all, 2020 will be here before you know it.

Posted: 07/07/2016 13:54:08 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Global Security, Local Education - Data Connectors, Denver, July 2016



This is a quick one to let our readers know that Network Critical will be attending the Data Connectors Conference in Denver next month. The event will take place at Embassy Suites, Denver-Downtown Convention Center, and will be held on Thursday July 21st.

Data Connectors conferences are one of the premier technology security events, focused on the latest products and best practices available in an educational environment. You will find local product sources & seminars and have the opportunity to meet with representatives from many of the top security companies.

The Network Critical team will be demonstrating our TAP and Packet Broker technology and their ability to simplify the connection of security and performance tools to networks. While Network Critical is a global developer of network access technologies, we believe that these local events are important and valuable venues to meet with network engineers and designers.

So, if you are in Denver on the conference date, please feel free to contact us at marketing-team@networkcritical.com and arrange an appointment!

If you are interested in finding out more information on this or other Data Connectors events, their website details are as follows: www.dataconnectors.com/events/

Posted: 07/07/2016 00:07:06 by Network Critical with 0 comments

Network Critical to attend the RSA Conference, Singapore, July 2016

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As part of our ongoing global event schedule, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind our readers that the Network Critical team will be attending the 4th Annual RSA Conference in Singapore, later this month. This is in keeping with our sustained efforts to support business at a local level in the Asia-Pacific region as well as around the globe.

The RSA Conference Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ) is the leading information security event in the region, and comprises three days of engaging sessions and intense networking. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about new approaches to info security, discover the latest technology and interact with top security leaders and pioneers. There will also be numerous hands-on sessions, keynotes and informal gatherings allow you to tap into a smart, forward-thinking global community that will inspire and empower you.

The event itself will be held at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, 20 to 22 July.

If you would like to take the opportunity to meet with the Network Critical team, then simply contact us at marketing-team@networkcritical.com to book your appointment.

If you are interested in finding out more information on this event, you will find the information here: www.rsaconference.com/events/ap16

Posted: 06/07/2016 13:47:55 by Network Critical with 0 comments