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WServerNews (formerly W2Knews)
Vol. 14, #2 - Jan 7, 2009 - Issue #707
Web Filtering Mergers - The Impact on Customers?

  1. Editors Corner
    • Web Filtering Mergers - The Impact on Customers?
    • UTM Solutions vs. Pure Web Filtering
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Tech Briefing
    • Conserving IT Resources through Easy Admin Delegation
    • Social Media and Web Threats
  3. Administrative Toolbox
    • Controlling Access to Individual Web Sites
  4. Windows Server News
    • The New Year Brings New Web Dangers
  5. WServer Third Party News
    • Do You Know What to Expect in 2009?
  6. WServer Fave Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff.
  7. Product of the Week
    • iPrism Delivers Simply Powerful Internet Filtering
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Editors Corner

Web Filtering Mergers - The Impact on Customers?

There were several security vendor merges in 2008, some of them involved Web filtering companies. The companies who merge always tout the advantages of a merger such as better technical support, more product feature development and increased financial stability.

However, when the excitement abates and the merger finally shakes out, the advantages become much murkier, and not just for some employees who risk losing their jobs due to redundancy. Mergers can have a negative impact on customers also:
  • Technical Support - When two companies offering similar products merge, there is always the concern that one product - usually the more popular one - will be subordinated to the other when it comes to technical support. Will there be ample coverage for both products? Will customers receive the same level of service and expertise they've come to expect for their investment?

  • Product End-of-Life - This is a natural concern and the business landscape is littered with products that had a healthy following but were phased out after a merger. If you aren't receiving the same level of technical support and new features are not on the roadmap, it may be time to search for an alternate solution. You don't have to switch to a high priced product, just because a larger firm acquired the technology you are now using.

  • Pricing Concerns - In some cases, after a merger, there will be no price change for several months. Don't expect this to last. The costs associated with mergers are large and companies needing to recoup their investment will move toward price increases. More likely, you will be encouraged or incentivized to switch your solution to the company's more popular and more expensive product offering.
Award-Winning iPrism Web Filter is the Reliable Choice
iPrism Web Filter from St. Bernard offers a reliable alternative to anyone whose Web filter vendor has merged with another company. You may be fearing that your current solution will soon be scheduled for EOL, but iPrism has none of that liability. For over 12 years, iPrism the award-winning appliance-based solution, has been delivering accurate, powerful and flexible Web filtering to organizations worldwide. As a completely self-contained solution with its own optimized and hardened OS, iPrism sits at your network's perimeter and stops threats before they can get near your internal servers. iPrism's technology makes it completely network agnostic and its low acquisition and renewal pricing, easy installation and low maintenance operation provide the lowest TCO in the business. If technical support is ever required, knowledgeable iPrism staff is on-call to walk you through any issues you may encounter. In addition, iPrism is the only appliance-based Web filter authorized as Citrix Ready.

Sign up for a iPrism web demo and get a free WIPEOUT t-shirt. Plus, you'll be entered to win a custom surf board.

UTM Solutions vs. Pure Web Filtering

The Web security landscape gets more and more crowded as vendors seem to appear almost weekly with promises of a new, more powerful Web filter. Frequently, these vendors are offering unified threat management (UTM) solutions that include Web filtering - sometimes it seems almost as an afterthought. They are actually selling firewalls and customers need to be aware of what they are getting before they decide on how they want to manage their Web access.

First and foremost - if you are looking for a firewall - purchase a firewall. There are many from which to choose and they will do the job you require. Conversely, if you are looking for a Web filter, don't pick a product that offers Web filtering as a feature. In many cases, all that's been done is to add a URL database to a UTM solution and call it a filter. Comprehensive Web access management - true Web filtering requires far more functionality. Ideally, customers will do their homework and understand the difference between UTMs and Web filters. When it comes time to choose, they will pick a solution that fulfills all their requirements for secure, multi-layered Web filtering.

One solution that provides award-winning Web filtering, pure and simple, is the iPrism Web Filter. Since 1995, St. Bernard has been a leader in comprehensive Web filtering with a continuing goal to provide a solution that's easy-to-use, delivers the best performance and offers the best value on the market. The result of these efforts is the iPrism Web Filter, a dedicated appliance-based filter that stops Internet-based threats at the perimeter. Its 100% human- reviewed URL database, real-time monitoring, multi-layered anonymizer defense, comprehensive on-box reporting, remote filtering and a host of other robust features have made it the Web filter of choice for thousands of customers worldwide. Customers should be wary of relying solely on a firewall to protect them from Internet-based threats. When an organization needs to enforce its AUP, protect networks and employees, demonstrate CIPA compliance or protect against emerging Web-based threats, a solution such as iPrism, that's focused only on securing Web access, will offer better performance and value in the long run.

Sign up for a iPrism web demo and get a free WIPEOUT t-shirt. Plus, you'll be entered to win a custom surf board.

Quotes of the Week

"I have a rock garden. Last week three of them died." -- Richard Diran

"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." -- Winston Churchill

"A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way." -- Mark Twain

Hope you enjoy this issue of WServerNews! Warm regards, Stu Sjouwerman  |   Email me: [email protected]

Tech Briefing

Conserving IT Resources through Easy Admin Delegation

As networks continue to become more complex, meeting today's stringent security demands requires more IT resources. This means more of a typical IT professional's workday is spent on security issues, yet other network and organization requirements don't diminish to balance the increased demands. That's why it's important for an IT administrator to be able to offload admin duties whenever possible. This allows him or her to allocate equitable work schedules and assure that all critical security tasks are fulfilled each day.

St. Bernard's iPrism Web Filter offers easy admin delegation through its central management console that can ease the burden on IT administrators when it come to managing their Web security: iPrism Delegation allows multiple users to control aspects of iPrism by assigning roles. The choices available offer optimum flexibility in assigning roles or task:
  • Super User - this role is the same as in most software programs. There is only one Super User in iPrism, and that person, or login, controls all iPrism access, configuration, and reporting. This role cannot be delegated.

  • Global Policy Administrator (GPA) - The GPA has the right to log into system configuration tools and administer global filtering policies.

  • Delegated Partition Administrator (DPA) - The DPA has the right to log in to the System Configuration tool to administer the filtering policies for the selected partition or group. It also has full access to any of the group's reports and overrides.
In addition to these administration roles, there are two other roles:
  • iPrism-wide Privileged User - This role assigns specific rights for the entire iPrism. For example, with this option, you can create a privilege that has full reporting access and overrides for the entire iPrism.

  • Partition-wide Privileged User - This role assigns specific rights for the selected partition or groups. For example, with this option, you can create a privilege that has full reporting access for a specific partition.
By offering this role flexibility, administrators can adjust their Web filtering management in ways that best suit their total security strategy.

Sign up for a iPrism web demo and get a free WIPEOUT t-shirt. Plus, you'll be entered to win a custom surf board.

Social Media and Web Threats

It used to be that visits to web sites devoted to gambling and adult content were the primary concern of corporate security managers. More recently, the problems inherent in Web-borne threats has expanded exponentially with the rapid evolution of what's become know as Web 2.0.

While definitions differ greatly, it's fair to say that a large factor in the growth of Web 2.0 involves user-driven or user-generated content. Tremendous amounts of content are being generated around social network sites such as Facebook and MySpace, file sharing sites such as YouTube, and information sharing media in the form of blogs and Wikis. The interactive and largely free- flowing nature of this content is drawing the attention of consumers who want to participate and businesses who want to leverage its marketing power. But it's also creating security problems that few companies are prepared to deal with.

According to experts, surging to a website in the Web 2.0 or 2.5 era means users can quickly become infected wit spyware or other malware. The danger is increased because these sites can be infected quickly before the hacker moves on to other legitimate sites.

That type of ever-shifting threat puts a tremendous strain on IT departments. They obviously don't want to allow access to a source of infected files, but at the same time they don't want to alienate users by permanently blocking useful web sites. For these kinds of threats, static web filtering lists quickly lose their usefulness. Organizations need dynamic and robust solutions that can not only block these sites as they crop up, but release them as they are taken off the banned list.

St. Bernard's iPrism Web Filter mitigates this problem because it offers free antivirus technology onboard. When an infected website is detected, it is immediately blocked and becomes part of a dynamically detected block list of URLs. If it is a legitimate website, it stays on the original list of accessible sites and is blocked only as long as a virus or malware infection is present. Even for users who already have an antivirus solution installed, iPrism offers an additional layer of protection that blocks infected sites before they get near internal servers. This dynamic protection insures that legitimate sites remain accessible as long as they are virus and malware-free.

Sign up for a iPrism web demo and get a free WIPEOUT t-shirt. Plus, you'll be entered to win a custom surf board.

Administrative Toolbox

Controlling Access to Individual Web Sites

The iPrism Web Filter includes a large and detailed URL database categorized so you can determine filtering for individuals or groups within your organization. If a requested site belongs to a category that is being blocked by the active access control list (ACL), then the site is inaccessible. However, in instances where you need to handle some websites individually, iPrism gives you several ways customize the blocking or non-blocking of individual sites:

You can change a URL's rating with custom filters
A custom filter lets you change a URL's rating (or create a rating for it if it does not already have one), by allowing you to assign any URL to either an existing filter category (e.g. adult, nudity, business, politics, etc.), or assigning it to additional special categories called local categories which can be used exclusively for your URL classification. Once you make a custom assignment, iPrism will treat the URL as a member of that category and either allow or deny access to the site based on the active filtering profile. Custom filters are important because they provide the ability to restrict or allow access to any website, not just those included in iPrism's URL database.

You can control URLs with a locally defined category
Locally defined categories are unique in that they have precedence over the (non-local) ratings assigned in the iPrism URL database. For example, if there is a site that is blocked via its category rating in the URL database, you can create a custom filter that assigns it to a local rating such as local-1. This will make that category accessible to anyone under any profile even though it's part of a blocked category.

You can submit sites to St. Bernard for review
Because new sites are proliferating on the Web at lightening speeds, inevitably, there will be sites that have yet to be reviewed and categorized by St. Bernard's iGuard analysts. You can easily submit these sites via iPrism's Central Management Console and have them immediately reviewed. You may also submit them to St. Bernard via email.

Sign up for a iPrism web demo and get a free WIPEOUT t-shirt. Plus, you'll be entered to win a custom surf board.

Windows Server News

The New Year Brings New Web Dangers

2009 Will Be a Growth Year for Internet Threats
When the first worm was loosed on the Internet in 1988, it ended up infecting 10% of the worldwide Web. It was significant not only for the extent of its reach, but also because it was created solely to exploit vulnerabilities in the UNIX operating system. It was more a student experiment than a cybercriminal plot. Twenty years later, the landscape of Internet-based threats has changed considerably. According to Sophos, today's attacks are highly organized and launched with much more nefarious intentions than simply causing mischief. These attacks are designed to steal information from individuals and companies and have only one purpose - financial gain.

And because many companies have been diligent in securing their email gateways, the Web has become the primary vehicle for these cybercrime exploits. Cybercriminals now infect innocent websites with malicious code and then silently wait for it to spread to any computer visiting the site. Sophos estimates that a new webpage is infected every 4.5 seconds. To put this number more in perspective, Sophos threat analysis centers receive 20,000 new samples of suspicious code each day.

Unfortunately, these threats are moving beyond Windows to include Apple Macintosh and even cross-platform software. With scores of new mobile devices hitting the market such as the Google Android Phone, iPod Touch and the iPhone, 2009 will offer unprecedented opportunities for Internet-based attacks.

The Sophos report cites some emerging threats to watch for in 2009:

Legitimate site threats - This is a growing concern because an infected site - your bank or online store -- may look the same as always and yet be harboring malware.

SQL injection attacks - This happens when malicious code is injected into the database running a site. Often launched via web forms, these attacks are difficult to overcome because they can easily reoccur even after you've cleaned your website.

Scareware - This is the name for malicious code hidden in anti-virus software. When you download these "free" anti-virus programs to protect your computer, you get infected. The cure is worse than the disease in these cases. Automated systems - Some hackers have developed tools that use search engines such as Google to scour the Internet and locate vulnerable sites they can exploit. This is a fast and easy way for cybercriminals to locate hundreds of exploitable sites in a short amount of time.

Creative Malware - Malware attacks via USB sticks are a new phenomenon to consider as well as attacks using social networking sites, which will continue to manifest in 2009. With the vast number of Facebook and Myspace members, it isn't hard for hackers to find sites in which they can plant malicious code. The Best Solution

Protecting your organization from emerging threats in 2009, may look like a daunting task. There is no doubt it will require extreme vigilance and preparation if you are to keep your networks safe.

A vital component of your network security strategy must be an effective Internet filter. The iPrism Web Filter with robust, onboard anti-virus is the award-winning appliance-based solution that combines software and hardware to deliver unrivalled protection from both established and emerging Internet-based threats. By combining software and hardware in a completely self-contained unit, iPrism offers security advantages, such as its own hardened and optimized OS, you won't find in software-only solutions. When you add iPrism and its four-factored, dynamic anti-virus to your current anti-virus security, you add an additional layer of protection. The iPrism Web Filter, with its ease-of-use, low acquisition and renewal pricing and powerful h-Series appliances, offers the best possible combination of defenses to keep your organization free from the emerging Internet threats forecast for 2009.

Web security starts with a comprehensive Acceptable Use Policy, Write the perfect AUP for your Company. Download a guide with free templates.

WServer Third Party News

Do You Know What to Expect in 2009?

Here are some top predictions for network security in the coming year:
  • Malware Grows Up
    Malware is continuing to grow and expand and attacks are expected to become more complex as new methods for bypassing traditional virus-detection software are developed. Legitimate websites are expected to be targets and the goal for most attackers is password and identity theft.

  • Phishing in a Down Market
    Opportunistic Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the economic crises with scams targeted at users concerned about unemployment and financial stability. In the midst of the news about struggling financial institutions, there will likely be an increase in emails appearing to be offers of credit from lending institutions and banks. Other messages may claim that a financial institution has closed, and require the user to provide their account credentials to transfer funds or verify account information. These attacks are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from legitimate communications.

  • Easy Targets - Malware Gets Social
    With the increasing popularity of sites such as Facebook and Linkedin, users are more at risk for having their information exploited for attacks that target their lists of friends and contacts. Malware writers are also replicating social networking sites and spoofing known contacts in hopes that users will unwittingly click on messages that appear to be from a familiar source.

  • Best Value Solutions
    Solutions offering value and affordability will lead the pack in 2009. As budgets and resources are slashed, IT staff will also be looking at ways to adopt technologies with multiple functionalities. Facing increasing pressures to consolidate, businesses will be trading in their plethora of point products for a few affordable, easy-to-install, and easy-to-manage devices.

  • Inside Threats
    In the midst of a worsening economy, as businesses are forced to reduce overheard and layoff workers, an unfortunate byproduct is typically increased data loss and theft. Disgruntled employees may take proprietary information with them when they leave, and large layoffs often result in access issues, open accounts and confusion that leave companies vulnerable to attacks.

  • Compliance Requirements
    Credit Card companies are imposing strict regulations on businesses to secure customer data. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards compliance deadlines have forced many businesses to improve their security infrastructure to ensure that credit card data is adequately protected. Failure to comply with the deadline can result in heavy fines or loss of credit-card processing privileges. This has created an increased emphasis in the marketplace on data loss prevention, encryption technologies and auditing and reporting tools. (10 Security Predictions for 2009 By CRN ChannelWeb December 05, 2008)
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WServer Fave Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff.

Product of the Week

iPrism Delivers Simply Powerful Internet Filtering

The iPrism Web Filter delivers secure, accurate filtering for any size organization by providing comprehensive web filtering delivered via the powerful h-Series appliances. As a completely self-contained solution, iPrism offers award-winning filtering, antivirus, IM and P2P blocking and dynamic anonymizer defense with no additional software or hardware ever required. Software-only Web filters like Websense can tax your resources with their complexity and added cost.

iPrism has won many awards including SC Magazine's highest rating - 5 stars across the board. iPrism existing and planned features can fulfill your Web security needs today and defend against emerging threats as they develop:
  • Easy setup and zero day-to-day maintenance
  • Powerful h-Series Appliances with blazing throughput speeds of 10 to 100+ Mbps
  • Anti-Virus Protection at no additional charge
  • Dynamic unrivalled anonymizer defense
  • 100% human-reviewed iGuard URL database
  • Comprehensive on-box reporting
  • Daily URL database updates - hourly for security categories
  • New features and product upgrades at no charge
iPrism offers ease-of-use, value and performance that's made it a success since it was first introduced in 1995. With thousands of customers worldwide and a 95% renewal rate, iPrism continues to lead the field in providing superior Web defense and the lowest TCO on the market.

To receive a Quick Quote and find you how much you will save with iPrism, click here.