Category Archives: Networks

Computer networks are not as secure as you might think. There are always security vulnerabilities and this always makes ink in current issues.

5G and its risks

Like many innovations before it, 5G is at the heart of controversies, hopes and fears.

Whether it's data health and privacy, as well as the fear of espionage, 5G will have been talked about even before it's deployed.

This article will also interest you: The Chinese giant Huawei is defended by Bouygues Telecom which has referred the matter to the State Council for the annulment of the law preventing it from deploying its 5G antennas on French territory

In a survey given by Oracle in collaboration with Odoxa last September, more than half of French people surveyed on the issue felt that before any deployment of 5G in France, it would be necessary to ensure that its health and environmental impact is controlled on all levels. 74% of people approaching during the study put their fears about the possibility of using the new technology for malicious inventions such as hacking personal data for example.

In short, the position on 5G is clearly mixed and in the history of mankind it is not the very first invention to be so much criticized even before its entry into the scene.

In a sense, people who fear much more than antennas to relay the network where multiply in France. "As a first step, we will install 5G equipment on existing 4G antennas. There will therefore be no new antenna for several years, apart from those planned under the "New Deal Mobile" explained Nicolas Guérin, president of the French Telecom Federation.

In another sense, the question of the health effects of the waves emitted has not yet been resolved. However, in October 2019, the health agency, Anses, submitted its preliminary report on the health risks associated with the 5G network."Few publications have studied the effects of exposure to frequencies between 3 and 6 GHz, already used for satellite connections or Wi-Fi for example," the agency noted at the time.

At the moment, he said there are no specific health effects that can be caused by the 5G network. But questions are raised as to whether extrapolation of the data "up to 2.5 GHz out of the 3.5 GHz" is possible. With the switch to 5G, "we're going to go from a relatively stable exposure in space and time to a situation where antennas will be able to focus emissions, with variability in time and space," says Olivier Merckel, head of the risk assessment unit for physical agents at Anses in NextInpact.

It should also be noted that the latest report on the subject is the result of "the work carried out by the mission at the national and international level during July and August 2020, in particular on the basis of a questionnaire distributed to the regional economic services of 22 countries and relayed by WHO to its 40 radio frequency correspondents." A recent report, published in September 2020, note that "there are no known short-term adverse effects on tissues in the general public or among workers, according to the consensus of natio[…]nal and international health agencies."

Clearly, the authorities are still in some way in the idea that there are no real specific health effects that can result from the deployment of 5G, when one is below the limit values of exposure

In addition, let's talk about the other problem related to 5G according to the various fears: cyber espionage. We can say that this is the main fear that is affiliated with the 5G network. Because of this, several states have decided to ban the use of equipment supplied by Chinese telecom giant Huawei. One of the main reasons, and the military past of the founder of the society and his obvious membership in the Chinese single party, the Communist Party. Moreover, Huawei's unsparable corporate culture has further increased Western suspicions about it. While in France, for example, Chinese society is not banned at all, the fact remains that domestic operators are generally asked to choose other OEMs to supply themselves with this technology.

On the industrial enterprise side, the threat is pervasive and challenges many. With the broadband that 5G will offer the Internet user, which is also an advantage for companies in terms of the use of several computer tools, the fact remains that computer hacking without will find easier.

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The usefulness of VPN on smartphones

For some time now, private virtual networks or VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) have become increasingly popular.

Same main feature that is to facilitate the security of internet connections with other benefits has made it quite popular. Especially on smartphones, on which the bulk of internet traffic is received today. This phenomenon causes hackers to attack these portable tools even more. Despite this, private virtual networks are still poorly known to many users who still have trouble grasping the importance of this computer program.

This article will also interest you: VPNs to bypass the geographical blocking, the pros and cons of these tools

Remember that the VPN network is not intended only for computers. Many users mistakenly believe this. While smartphones also have their version. The market starts you can call to flood offers in this area. With the great tendency of cyber criminals to take to smartphones because of the huge data they host on a daily basis, installing a VPN on your smartphone can be beneficial especially when you connect to public Wi-Fi or when you are constantly connected to the Internet.

But above all, let's answer this question: what is a private virtual network or VPN?

A private virtual network is digital private network tunnel. The objective of this tunnel is to encrypt the user's connection between the device used (computers and smartphones) and the server. This protects your sensitive information by securing your access and applications when you visit certain websites. However, it should be known that all VPNs are not effective in the same way. It will then have to make the right choice against a multitude of VPN offers today. Today, there are a few essential features that a VPN offer should include, including:

– Protecting your privacy: no matter which smartphone is used and its operating system (Android or iOS), it is almost impossible to access the Internet and conduct its activities anonymously. For this to be possible, a VPN network will have to be used. Because as soon as you access the web, your data is collected. This is despite the application of the General Regulation of Personal Data (RGPD) or even the existence of private browsing modes present today in a multitude of browsers. In other words, to obtain anonymity, it would be essentially necessary to equip. Otherwise, all programs deployed on websites such as cookie geolocation tracers, IP address collection and activity tracking tools are constantly enabled to siphon your data. And that's for commercial purposes. Tracking is accentuated and dangerous when using a public network.

– Protection against DNS piracy or crooked sites: the private virtual network also protects the user and his terminal from certain cyberattacks. Indeed it will have the direct impact of avoiding malicious scripts to track your crypt browsing in your internet connection, causing it to pass through a remote server.

– Having access to content from around the world regardless of location: for Internet regulars, it will be that certain content is only available in a specific space and geography. In other words in some countries it is impossible to have access to particular content while in others this is totally possible. With a VPN network this is totally possible to meter but these geolocation bans. This is possible because the private virtual network allows the user to connect through the server of another state. This allows him to keep his IP address anonymous and his location by is done. What has easily benefited from all netflix content available at the same in the United States while you are in Europe.

In short, the use of VPN is very important today. With the explosion of cybercrime and internet targeting in an ongoing way, the Internet user must keep a low profile as much as possible. For this its connection must be encrypted and protected. For smartphones with VPN offers, it is possible to secure its activity on the internet to avoid being constantly tracked. And to do that, you'll have to make the right choice to a multitude of offers.

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The security of increasingly complex industrial networks

For several years now, industrial networks and systems have been targeted by computer attacks of all kinds.

The work of securing computer networks is becoming more and more complicated for the specialists responsible for ensuring it. This is the reason for this is the complex nature of computer parks, which are themselves more complex to manage.

This article will also interest you: Less than half of IT security managers are effective in their work

Let us remember that in 2010, an Iranian industrial system was hit by the Stuxnet virus. A special program combining the features of a Trojan horse plus that of rootkit. It was discovered by a company specializing in Belarusian computer security. This virus made it clear that the world's industrial networks were not really immune to computer attacks. In our case, it should be noted that the virus was introduced into the factory system via a corrupted USB stick or a trap terminal transported by an employee. "It was Stuxnet who introduced the concept of cybersecurity into the industry. Prior to its appearance, the RSSI (Chief Information Security Officer or CISO) was confined to the IT part. After 2010, industrialists realized that the risks were transverse. Today, RSSI has authority over the cybersecurity of industrial networks and video surveillance systems," says Ceo Co-Founder of Holiseum (a cybersecurity consulting and services company), Faiz Djellouli. According to Edward Snowden, the source code for this malware was co-written by the Israeli secret service and the US NSA. The objective was clearly to slow down Iran's nuclear program. But today we realize that the effects of this virus go beyond the original framework. Several cases of industrial network attack were then reported, based on viruses of the same kind as Stuxnet.

This problem can also be addressed in the sense that industrial sites are much more targeted by cyber-warfare attacks than many states engage in. Because all this can be a significant means to destabilize the opponent or the competitor. "After Stuxnet and Industroyer, now is the time for the Ekans ransomware. Designed to attack industrial facilities, specifically software that controls automatons and runs Windows, this malware takes its victims hostage and demands a ransom in return. Given the context, the slightest paralysis can be very expensive, leading victims to pay," says Fabien Lavabre, a Cybersecurity specialist at Seclab, a Montpellier-based company specializing in cyber protection of industrial systems.

Moreover, the vulnerability of industrial networks is essentially based on their digital transformation. Before, if all infrastructures were managed separately from IT, with the idea of convergence, we had to observe a significant rapprochement. There was an obvious gain to do so. Firstly, in terms of efficiency but also in terms of information processing time. Unfortunately, the downside has been to expose it even higher in the face of cyberattacks. They are increasing considerably, and so are the vectors of attacks. "Digitalization has forced them to borrow solutions from the IT world, but the cycle is not comparable because after about 5 years, an OS is no longer supported while in the industrial world, the life cycle is more important (between 15 and 20 years)," noted Faiz Djellouli.

In addition, the industrial sector is increasingly exploiting connected objects to make it optimal to automate its services in order to increase its productivity. Yet the Internet of Things is already known in the computer security sector as being very vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Finally, a large part of the equipment, turning Windows in the industrial sector (30%) operating under a version of the software that has not even been supported by Microsoft for quite some time. And this is a mine of vulnerability that cyber criminals will not hinder to take advantage of. "Simple measures (human, organizational, technological and physical) – such as hardened passwords, network segmentation, access control – and a risk-use approach cover most threats. You don't have to have a prohibitive budget," says Faiz Djellouli.

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IT security managers in France face the challenges of network security and performance

The Juniper Networks report very recently presented an international survey of the different traditional approach to network computer security.

According to the study, the practitioner of the material poses a real compliance problem. On the other hand, the budgetary issue is still sensitive. With the context of telework due to population containment and coronavirus, the organization of work becomes more and more complex.

This article will also interest you: The issue of maintenance and its adaptation

It is also necessary that the study focused on the loan questioning of 1000 IT managers responsible for the security of their organizations. The study was conducted in Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Israel, France, the Netherlands and the United States.

Following the company's analysis, we can simply note that COMPUTER security is a real headache for all organizations. Especially in a context where telework is a risky professional standard. "This situation is compounded by network performance issues, an inability to upgrade the entire network, and day-to-day maintenance tasks that hinder innovation. Added to this is the fact that security is often seen as a drain on resources rather than as a real commercial advantage. To overcome these challenges, IT managers aspire to greater visibility within the network. It would provide them with more contextualized information that would improve the speed of security tools, the level of automation and facilitate the widespread implementation of policies. In parallel with increasing needs, this approach would allow teams to consistently and reliably identify the most useful information, while avoiding additional costs and freeing teams up to pursue more strategic projects. said Vanson Bourne, who led the study.

The main points can be used from the study:

97% of respondents acknowledged that they faced ongoing challenges in securing their organization's network;

100% of IT decision-makers in France felt that they had faced this kind of pressure;

89% of IT managers in France and 86% globally said it was necessary to make their organization's network performance even more reliable. Especially in a situation where remote work has experienced a significant boom;

48% of French IT teams spent half their time on efforts to maintain the network, which was a significant obstacle to innovation;

86% of French professionals and 87% worldwide admitted that they were looking for a computer security solution that would allow them to have better visibility on existing applications as well as to reduce false positives while improving response times to computer attacks;

68% of French professionals and 63% globally do not see cybersecurity as an asset for me to generate value but rather as a centre of expenditure;

91% of French IT managers 95% globally say they are working with several security solutions providers to achieve their cybersecurity target. We are talking here on average of 4 suppliers per organization in France and 500 global points of view.

In response, Samantha Madrid, Vice President of Business and Security Strategy at Juniper Networks commented: "It security decision makers are clearly convinced that network security is extremely important, and that failures pose a growing risk to their organization. For me, the most convincing statistic is that 99% of them (100% in France) agree that a network aware of the threats would bring benefits to their organization. As employees work more decentralized and threats become more sophisticated, security professionals are facing new challenges that expose companies to even greater risks than before. Businesses need networks that are aware of the threats that bring speed and agility to the security of the company. They must be associated with a connected security strategy that allows all elements of the network to work together to provide increased visibility and action capacity where it matters most. The old way of thinking about security is no longer enough for companies to combine with a new normal. ».

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VPNs to bypass the geographical blockage, pros and cons of these tools

Today, the need is increasingly felt in the level of being able to surf the Internet without its geographical position influencing what one can access or not.

The computer tools used to meet this need include the VPN. Today, however, the most relevant to the needs of Internet users is becoming increasingly scarce.

This article will also interest you: These VPN networks that have not kept their promises to their users

It should be noted that the VPN (Virtual Private Network) private virtual network allows the user to connect by logging around a geographical position from our space, because the tool relocates the IP address by transiting it through various servers located all over the world.

Today the VPN has become democratized, utility varies according to sectors and needs. Yet they are still interested to know if it is appropriate to use it at any time. For example in the context of work?

Jean-Marc Bourguignon, a computer security specialist who is also a trainer and co-founder of Nothing To Hide (Association whose goal is to provide courses on distance learning safely) responds to the problem in the negative. He states: "The value of using a VPN without having sources to protect or professional login credentials is limited, if any (…) And the argument that a VPN is essential when connecting to a public Wi-Fi serves to legitimize the subscription to consumer VPN services… without this model of threat to the all-coming still really exists."

Moreover, it should be mentioned the fact that in the past private virtual networks have been at the heart of several problems several times because of their unreliability. For example, in 2015, through research by cybersecurity researchers, it was discovered on several VPNs, security vulnerabilities that allowed to collect important information such as users' IP addresses. Already in 2018, 115 VPN networks were accused of collecting and keeping their user's personal data as well as the sites visited by them as reported by the French newspaper Figaro.

"The security problem is actually being deported from web browsers to VPN providers of which little is generally known," explains Jean-Marc Bourguignon.

Last July, seven Hong Kong-based private virtual network providers were still accused of disclosing personal information of its users, including IP addresses, login credentials, passwords and payment-related information.

The usual advice in the area is clearly to avoid the best VPNs offered free of charge. Because, their remuneration, as we know, draws on the collection and provision of the personal data of Internet users. On the other hand, there are services that offer total encryption that allow users to protect their data without forgetting that they do not store it. These include NordVPN, Surfshark, ProtonVPN.

In addition, the usefulness is that VPN can be conceded and allowed to circumvent the geographic blockage. In some states, such as China, where Internet access is controlled with an iron fist by the government, Private Virtual Networks allow access to content that is in fact prohibited in the particular geographical location. This is also the case with the famous streaming channels Netflix, or Disney – where content varies depending on the geographical location. In this context VPN use will fit into a somewhat illegal framework. "VPNs also come to find a lesser-known use for more attractive prices online. Airfare booking sites may, in some cases, vary their prices depending on the country. The VPN will also prevent a user from being recognized during a second visit of a site, and to see prices fluctuate according to his interest in a particular booking. Again, these tools find a specific and strictly delineated use. Elsa Trujillo, BFM Tech Journalist.

As computer tools, their values and some but you will have to be careful.

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