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5 ways to make sure you aren't the next Wikileak

By Chris Knotts, VP of technology and innovation at Force 3
February 15, 2011 10:41 AM ET

Network World - This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

Government and intelligence officials around the globe have been caught off guard and in many cases embarrassed and compromised by disclosures of documents on the Web site WikiLeaks.

For security and IT professionals, these leaks serve as an important wake-up call to improve policies, procedures and safeguards. Here are five key tips to help your government agency or enterprise avoid being the source of the next Wikileak.

UPDATE: WikiLeaks' Assange awaits extradition decision

I. Security Policies and Procedures. Every government organization or enterprise must have policies in place to define who gets access to what information, and when. These policies and procedures must be actively maintained and updated and properly communicated. Then, the security policy can be administered by leveraging technology and putting the proper tools in place to secure, enforce, and mitigate risk to the organization.

In the October 2010 WikiLeaks case in involving some 400,000 U.S. military documents about the Iraq war, policy could have limited access to the systems that contained the sensitive information to those that had a "need to know."

In highly sensitive information environments the policy should require strict management, monitoring and control of access only to people who have a legitimate need to know. Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) tools allow organizations to automate some aspects of this task by overlaying security policies and controls over corresponding data sources from switches, routers, security platforms, servers, end points and applications, for a real-time view of their state of compliance.

However, no policy can be 100% effective, and many organizations will experience someone on the inside who has met the policy requirement, does have a legitimate need to know, but has illicit intentions. In these cases the security technology should provide the next layer of defense to meet these internal threats.

II. Implement Host-Based Security Solutions. Host-based security solutions include tools that allow an organization to protect and control laptops and desktop computers. Examples would be anti-virus/anti-malware products and software that prevents a user from using a USB drive or writable CD drive on a computer on a classified network.

Essentially, host-based security protects and limits what users can do at workstations. Host-based controls can disable, for example, simultaneous wired and wireless network capability, which can act as an entry point for a hacker.

Host-based security solutions can also be integrated with network access control (NAC) systems to create a first line of defense for systems that regularly go on and off of the network, such as laptops. If a laptop is infected with a virus, or misses an important security patch while disconnected from the organization's network, the host-based security solutions, in conjunction with the NAC solutions, can assure that effected systems is quarantined, and cleaned of the virus, or receives the proper security patch before it is allowed onto the network.

Originally published on www.networkworld.com. Click here to read the original story.
Reprinted with permission from NetworkWorld.com. Story copyright 2012 Network World, Inc. All rights reserved.
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