Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Plutora Blog, Adrian Bridgwater, Harry Trott

Related Topics: Microservices Journal, Wireless, Web 2.0, Security

Microservices Journal: Article

Social Media Brings New Challenges to Government Security Administrators

The use of social networking sites and BYOD mobile devices at work brings new threats of data leaks to government agencies

Government agencies in the United States and around the world are increasing their use of social media to enhance the quality of government services and to encourage more citizen engagement and dialog. When used properly, social media can build trust and develop more efficient communications between government agencies and those looking for information. But, as beneficial as this approach is becoming for government and citizens alike, agencies must also be aware of the multitude of security problems that can be introduced when social media tools are used by government staff.

Personal use of social media by government employees while at work can introduce lost productivity, misuse of network bandwidth, exposure to unmanaged/inappropriate content, malware threats from clicking links and downloading infected content, and most important, the danger of confidential data leakage.

In addition to the many threats to government networks just mentioned, including the threat of confidential data leaks when staff members use social media on government computers, advances in personal mobile technology at work such as smartphones, MP3 players, tablets, and laptops demonstrate an even bigger more fundamental problem: the consumerization of government IT computing.

Use of mainstream public-cloud applications and personal mobile technologies from inside network security perimeters of our government networks represents a brave new world of risks for security administrators. Personal wireless devices are by-definition completely outside the control of IT security professionals, yet in many cases they are becoming approved for business use anyway due to IT budget cuts and social pressures. The fundamental fuel for this "bring your own device" (BYOD) phenomenon is the a growing percentage of employees want to remain active in social media during the work hours, monitor their personal email, and use their own "latest-greatest" personal devices rather than whatever may have been issued or approved by their government employer.

Combined, the use of social media and mobile devices increases the threat level to any government agency's network exponentially. We are seeing hackers writing code directly to attack mobile devices that can easily infiltrate the agency's networks once downloaded. Keyloggers, Trojans and other forms of malware released onto the network can be used to disrupt network operations and steal confidential government data. When logged into social media sites, government employees can post or upload (either accidently or intentionally) confidential information, and once released it can quickly spread or be passed down the line secretly to the wrong eyes.

The arsenal of Firewalls, AV, NAC, IDS, IPS, and other security tools can help mitigate the threat of malware and hacker threats on the network. Unfortunately, as the social media and BYOD culture grows, the new risk of "data leakage" must be addressed with new tools and approaches.

How can government agencies address these new threats?

Best Practice - Acceptable Use Policies
Government agencies should initially establish a thorough acceptable use policy for social media and BYOD for their employees. Depending on positions and responsibilities, employees may obtain different permissions. A well-thought-out use policy will help the agency enforce and secure social media and BYOD use, which also helps protect the agency from legal liability and compliance violations.

Best Practice - Technology and Security Solutions

In addition to policy development, technology solutions must also be deployed to ensure a successful and legally defendable policy. Complimentary technology should be flexible and allow the agency to automate the policy's enforcement. Even if an employee may not be aware of the policies, the software provides an added level of protection. For example, some security software can be used to block access to social media services and mitigate downloads from endpoint devices.

Unfortunately, we live in a time where there is no security silver bullet. But technologies that simultaneously help secure data leaks while also informing the employees in real time that their actions have been blocked because they violate use policies go a long way to create a culture of policy awareness and obedience. These "block and inform" technologies can be powerful tools because they educate staff in the exact moment of policy violation and put them on notice. For employees looking to use their own devices, written policies can limit their use or they can be required to allow security software to be installed by the IT staff.

Social media challenges arise with how to secure certain channels without blocking social media websites and services entirely. The solution requires the ability to differentiate between personal, corporate, public and confidential information in social media exchanges, so it must be data-centric and content-aware. In addition, for employees who are in positions that have legitimate reasons for social communications, this activity, in accordance with the acceptable use policy must not be affected.

Best Practice - Data Leak Prevention
Among the myriad of IT security technologies that are available, one that satisfies this set of requirements is Data Leak Prevention (DLP). A DLP solution used in conjunction with security and risk-management technologies already in place provides a critical layer of complementary protection.

With any technology, requirements for a DLP solution can be different for every agency/office and should be based on the needs, size of deployment, and associated risks. It is well documented that most data leaks originate from the inside or on a government owned machine that has been removed from the network. The added pressure of unmanaged BYOD only multiplies the threat. DLP solutions are able to stop the problem of data loss right at the source - at the workstation and mobile device. This "stop data leaks at the source" strategy offers the broadest DLP coverage precisely because it follows mobile endpoints like employee laptops outside of the network where traditional security solutions such as firewalls and content security gateways typically do not reach.

Conclusion
Government agencies should consider applying DLP technology on laptops and other endpoint devices to help eliminate the threat of data loss while addressing compliance regulations. The combination of a written, well-communicated acceptable use policy for social media and BYOD, coupled with DLP technology that includes pop-up educational warnings when a policy is being violated can reliably prevent data leaks while helping maintain compliance.

More Stories By Vincent M. Schiavo

Vincent M. Schiavo joined DeviceLock as Chief Executive Officer in September 2011. A veteran of the computer industry for more than 30 years, most recently Mr. Schiavo served as the Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales for LogLogic, a San Jose based security information and event management provider. Prior to LogLogic, he was the Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales and Marketing for Secure Computing, a San Jose based web information security company which was acquired by McAfee in 2008.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
While great strides have been made relative to the video aspects of remote collaboration, audio technology has basically stagnated. Typically all audio is mixed to a single monaural stream and emanates from a single point, such as a speakerphone or a speaker associated with a video monitor. This leads to confusion and lack of understanding among participants especially regarding who is actually speaking. Spatial teleconferencing introduces the concept of acoustic spatial separation between conference participants in three dimensional space. This has been shown to significantly improve comprehe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
Buzzword alert: Microservices and IoT at a DevOps conference? What could possibly go wrong? In this Power Panel at DevOps Summit, moderated by Jason Bloomberg, the leading expert on architecting agility for the enterprise and president of Intellyx, panelists will peel away the buzz and discuss the important architectural principles behind implementing IoT solutions for the enterprise. As remote IoT devices and sensors become increasingly intelligent, they become part of our distributed cloud environment, and we must architect and code accordingly. At the very least, you'll have no problem fil...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Since 2008 and for the first time in history, more than half of humans live in urban areas, urging cities to become “smart.” Today, cities can leverage the wide availability of smartphones combined with new technologies such as Beacons or NFC to connect their urban furniture and environment to create citizen-first services that improve transportation, way-finding and information delivery. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Laetitia Gazel-Anthoine, CEO of Connecthings, will focus on successful use cases.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sean Lorenz, Technical Product Manager for Xively at LogMeIn, demonstrated how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
Sensor-enabled things are becoming more commonplace, precursors to a larger and more complex framework that most consider the ultimate promise of the IoT: things connecting, interacting, sharing, storing, and over time perhaps learning and predicting based on habits, behaviors, location, preferences, purchases and more. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tom Wesselman, Director of Communications Ecosystem Architecture at Plantronics, will examine the still nascent IoT as it is coalescing, including what it is today, what it might ultimately be, the role of wearable tech, and technology gaps stil...
One of the biggest impacts of the Internet of Things is and will continue to be on data; specifically data volume, management and usage. Companies are scrambling to adapt to this new and unpredictable data reality with legacy infrastructure that cannot handle the speed and volume of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and president of Infobright, will discuss how companies need to rethink their data infrastructure to participate in the IoT, including: Data storage: Understanding the kinds of data: structured, unstructured, big/small? Analytics: What kinds and how responsiv...
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) are increasing at an unprecedented rate. The threat landscape of today is drastically different than just a few years ago. Attacks are much more organized and sophisticated. They are harder to detect and even harder to anticipate. In the foreseeable future it's going to get a whole lot harder. Everything you know today will change. Keeping up with this changing landscape is already a daunting task. Your organization needs to use the latest tools, methods and expertise to guard against those threats. But will that be enough? In the foreseeable future attacks w...
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS – software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.
Cloud is not a commodity. And no matter what you call it, computing doesn’t come out of the sky. It comes from physical hardware inside brick and mortar facilities connected by hundreds of miles of networking cable. And no two clouds are built the same way. SoftLayer gives you the highest performing cloud infrastructure available. One platform that takes data centers around the world that are full of the widest range of cloud computing options, and then integrates and automates everything. Join SoftLayer on June 9 at 16th Cloud Expo to learn about IBM Cloud's SoftLayer platform, explore se...
The explosion of connected devices / sensors is creating an ever-expanding set of new and valuable data. In parallel the emerging capability of Big Data technologies to store, access, analyze, and react to this data is producing changes in business models under the umbrella of the Internet of Things (IoT). In particular within the Insurance industry, IoT appears positioned to enable deep changes by altering relationships between insurers, distributors, and the insured. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Sick, a Senior Manager and Big Data Architect within Ernst and Young's Financial Servi...
15th Cloud Expo, which took place Nov. 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, expanded the conference content of @ThingsExpo, Big Data Expo, and DevOps Summit to include two developer events. IBM held a Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held a Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of Bluemix, its services and functionality and provide short-term introductory projects that developers can complete between sessions.
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo – to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – is now accepting Hackathon proposals. Hackathon sponsorship benefits include general brand exposure and increasing engagement with the developer ecosystem. At Cloud Expo 2014 Silicon Valley, IBM held the Bluemix Developer Playground on November 5 and ElasticBox held the DevOps Hackathon on November 6. Both events took place on the expo floor. The Bluemix Developer Playground, for developers of all levels, highlighted the ease of use of...
In the consumer IoT, everything is new, and the IT world of bits and bytes holds sway. But industrial and commercial realms encompass operational technology (OT) that has been around for 25 or 50 years. This grittier, pre-IP, more hands-on world has much to gain from Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and principles. But adding sensors and wireless connectivity won’t work in environments that demand unwavering reliability and performance. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ron Sege, CEO of Echelon, will discuss how as enterprise IT embraces other IoT-related technology trends, enterprises with i...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...