Our hassle free & secure Managed Guest Access solution allows you to offer more than just Wi-Fi access. Captive portal allows you to actively engage with your users and guests, build your brand and promote your future services. Take a look at our latest webinar for an overview of our Managed Guest Access solution. Our secure, scalable and customisable solution delivers a seamless Wi-Fi experience on location. Rich reporting and analytics allow you to build your brand.
With the rise in systems being breached and major brands such as Target, LivingSocial & The New York Times falling victim to hackers, it is clear that the need for strong multi-factor authentication has never been more urgent. Companies of all sizes are increasingly adopting modern SMS based technology instead of hard tokens to authenticate their users. Is it time for you to evaluate the benefits as well?
By Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant, Netutils
Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Malcolm Orekoya, Senior Technical Consultant, Netutils. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.
As most of the United Kingdom is being bombarded by storms and hurricane-force winds resulting in flooding in several parts of the country, it is understandable that most of our attention is on this bit of news.
However, some of you in the IT world will have also heard of another flood hitting the headlines this week – the massive NTP reflection attack that exploited a vulnerability in the NTP protocol, a widely used protocol on the internet, which is used for clock synchronisation between computer systems.
Hackers seem to have taken the floods caused by the weather as a go ahead to press the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) button on their keyboards to launch a massive flood of their own on the internet. The attack was first revealed on Twitter by CloudFlare’s CEO Matthew Prince on Monday 10th January 2014, saying “Very big NTP reflection attack hitting us right now. Appears to be bigger than the #Spamhaus attack from last year.” The attack has been recorded in Europe as the biggest DDoS attack to date reaching 400Gbps at its peak.
So with flaws in protocols such as NTP and DNS, that were not built with security in mind being continually exposed and with the world wide use of such protocols across the internet attracting more malicious hackers, what should you do to mitigate these denial of service attacks?
Well in my opinion, for starters administrators and organisations need to be proactive about keeping abreast of the latest security alerts, news, blogs and trends.
There have been several organisations, such as the US-CERT and Team Cymru’s Secure NTP Template page, that have released alerts and mitigation techniques regarding flaws in NTP as well as other protocols. Proactive enterprises would have already taken steps to mitigate the specific NTP threat, but also sought general DDoS protection for their business critical web facing systems.
In addition to looking into DDoS protection vendors and services, it is important to understand the differences in the plethora of protection solutions and vendors available on the market. For example solutions like Juniper Networks DDoS Secure product, provides DDoS protection against in-bound as well as out-bound traffic, which is a unique selling point in comparison to some other vendors in the same space.
Finally, it’s important for organisations to know where their strengths and weaknesses lie and lean on the experts where necessary. A lot of enterprises do not have a SOC or the human resource (in helpdesk or administrators) to proactively manage their security. This should be recognised and the use of expert security consultants to work alongside the on premise teams should not be avoided, not for financial or “it won’t happen to me” reasons. Because at the end of the day, every organisation that has at least one point of contact with the World Wide Web is susceptible, and in almost every attack situation, the end customer and the organisation will end up feeling the brunt of the consequences of any ignorance or neglect.
We have already helped customers who have been affected by the recent NTP attack and urge you to get in touch with us even if you’d just like some advice to help assess the level of vulnerability in your organisation.
So when we find useful content we like to pass it on and this whitepaper from our friends at Exinda contains some great tips to help you provide consistent access to corporate apps, reduce network operating costs and enforce appropriate use of the network.
Download the ‘5_Tips_To_Prevent_BYOD_Pitfalls’ whitepaper and see how easy it is to manage mobile traffic and make key apps perform better. We hope you find it useful.
The Winter Olympics are here – is your network ready?
By Dean Goldhill, Network & Security Specialist, Netutils
Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Dean Goldhill, Network & Security Specialist, Netutils. These views are his own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.
During the London 2012 Olympics, 60% of all corporate Internet traffic was utilised by streaming video and mobile devices to access live sporting events. The Olympic Games whilst being a unique event, in some instances, had the effect of highlighting network problems that already existed. The result being that some company networks just simply couldn’t cope with the increase in network traffic as users tried to stream video of the games or use personal applications at work and business critical applications suffered as a result.
But the issues highlighted by the games should not just be seen as isolated events; there are many other reasons why your network may experience a bandwidth spike and downtime can be costly and time consuming. So with the Winter Olympics now in full flow and to ensure Sochi 2014 streaming doesn’t jeopardise your key apps take a look at this blog where we walk you through a typical example of a company who experienced network issues during the 2012 Olympic Games.
Background: The set up at this branch office allows employees to work from one branch and connect back to the servers in their own branch offices. So for all these users all traffic, mail server, Intranet, SharePoint etc. all has to go via the VPN/Internet.
When the Olympic Games started, users started complaining about slow, unreliable service for business critical applications.
And it wasn’t immediately as the games started, it was as the word spread around the building, and more and more people started watching the games online. Normal business service just got worse and worse until about the middle of the first week when users started reporting that they pretty much couldn’t work at all. The issue affected about 100 users in total and that’s quite a loss of productivity!
The challenge for this company was that they had a lack of network visibility, they couldn’t see what was causing the issue and they had no control over how to fix it.
Solution: Following our initial site inspection and investigation we discovered that the issue was that internet bandwidth was being chewed up by people watching the Olympic Games online.
Another factor which made a solution trickier was that the broadcaster streaming service used for the games coverage does not use the video streaming protocol like most other services. Instead it transmits over the regular HTTP (port 80) so the affected company’s proxy server which is configured to stop regular users using video streaming services, was not stopping any users from streaming content like the games.
Furthermore, it was very difficult to block the streaming services because the broadcaster use a large number of IP addresses for load balancing, and we also did not want to be to block the service from the broadcaster altogether.
We successfully managed to find the actual URL for the video streaming servers and blocked it via their proxy servers. This effectively stopped the vast majority of users from streaming the games.
But the point here is that ideally, we don’t want to block these services by using URL’s, we want to block them by using a product that understands the traffic at the application layer (layer 7) and is able to block (or control) them irrespective of where the traffic is coming from or what protocol is being used to deliver it. Regardless of whether your company applications are network or cloud based your network is likely to face performance challenges often exacerbated by events like the Olympic Games or BYOD.
As a result more & more companies across a variety of industries are investing in online tools, resources and portals that deliver continued control, actionable performance insights & user driven application optimisation. To ensure Sochi 2014 streaming doesn’t jeopardise your key apps, download our whitepaper ‘5 best Practices to Prepare Your Network for the Sochi Olympics’ and get 5 tips to help you keep your network running.
- Assess the impact of sport and social traffic on your business network
- Build easy policies to manage internet traffic for groups of users
- Control the amount of social internet and peer to peer on your network
By Vanessa Cardwell, Marketing Manager, Netutils
Views expressed in this post are original thoughts posted by Vanessa Cardwell, Marketing Manager, Netutils. These views are her own and in no way do they represent the views of the company.
A big thank you to Norma Paynton, Programme Manager at Torbay Development Agency who talked to us about how using our Managed Guest Access Solution allowed Torbay Development Agency to boost the Wi-Fi service at Cockington Court for the benefit of the tenants and the many tourists and day visitors to the craft centre.
We are really very pleased with the solution and tailored service Netutils have provided. The interface was quick to set up, straightforward and easy to use. The fact that we can now promote the Wi-Fi service to potential visitors is an added benefit and really brings Cockington Court up to date.
If you have responsibility for Guest Wi-Fi Services at your organisation than please get in touch with a solutions experts from our team for more on our Managed Guest Access Solution. You can also join our webinar at 11am on Wednesday 5th March 2014 for an overview. Register Here: Webinar: Wi-Fi Guest Access Made Easy
We made a short video with a handful of our valued customers. We hope you enjoy it. Take a peek to find out why our customers come back again and again. A big thank you to everyone who took part for their time and their positive words.