Archive for category General

DropBox is Easy But is it Good for Business?

Posted by on Thursday, 9 October, 2014

In the October issue of IBM Systems Magazine, Linoma Software chief architect, Bob Luebbe, raises concerns about the use of cloud-based file sharing apps in a business environment.  In the Technology Showcase, Luebbe questions the practice of trusting sensitive documents to consumer-grade software.

dropbox is easyThese file sharing services – like Dropbox – are popular for exchanging photos and documents between family and friends.  The simple and seemingly magical propagation of files through the Internet to dozens of computers and devices makes it ideal for personal use.

In the article, Luebbe talks about the appeal of these free, or low-cost, file sharing services and the real risk they pose to an organization.  He also presents a secure alternative called Managed File Transfer (MFT) that delivers the same results but with greater control, encryption at rest and in transit, and detailed audit logs.

To learn more, check out Bob Luebbe’s Showcase in the October 2014 issue of IBM Systems Magazine or explore the on-premise MFT solution GoAnywhere™ at GoAnywhere.com.

What GoAnywhere customers should know about Shellshock

Posted by on Friday, 26 September, 2014

On September 24th, vulnerability CVE-2014-6271 and CVE-2014-7169, also known as Shellshock or the Bash bug, was found in the widely-used Unix Bash shell. The vulnerability allows Bash to execute commands from environment variables unintentionally.

GoAnywhere Director, GoAnywhere Services, and GoAnywhere Gateway run on a JVM which is invoked from within a Bash shell.  While GoAnywhere is not directly affected by this bug, the GoAnywhere startup process utilizes the common JAVA_HOME and JRE_HOME environment variables during the initialization of the JVM.  It is thus possible that a compromised environment variable on a vulnerable Linux and Unix system could cause the startup and shutdown process of GoAnywhere to unintentionally execute other commands and programs.

Linoma Software recommends that our customers who deploy GoAnywhere to Linux and UNIX servers be aware of this security bug and apply the appropriate patches as they become available from your operating system vendor.

OpenPGP, PGP and GPG: What is the difference?

Posted by on Thursday, 18 July, 2013

With privacy capabilities of encryption methods such as PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), data security can be heightened and privacy can be achieved.  There are various approaches, however, and various elements of comparison for each of these acronyms.  This article will explore the differences between PGP, OpenPGP, and GPG (GNU Privacy Guard), offering brief histories of their creations and summaries of their capabilities.

PGP (Pretty Good Privacy)

The company, PGP Inc., owned the rights to the original PGP encryption software.  This software was developed by Phil Zimmermann & Associates, LLC and released in 1991 to ensure the security of files that were posted on pre-internet bulletin boards.  From 1997 until 2010, the software changed hands several times until it was acquired by Symantec Corp., who continues to develop the PGP brand.

PGP encryption uses a combination of encryption methodologies such as hashing, data compression, symmetric-key cryptography and public key cryptography to keep data secure.  This process can be used to encrypt text files, emails, data files, directories and disk partitions.

OpenPGP

Automate OpenPGP EncryptionZimmerman, one of the original PGP developers, soon began work on an open-source version of PGP encryption that employed encryption algorithms that had no licensing issues.

In 1997 he submitted an open-source PGP (OpenPGP) standards proposal to the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force), to allow PGP standards-compliant encryption vendors to provide solutions that were compatible with other OpenPGP-compliant software vendors.   This strategy created an open and competitive environment for PGP encryption tools to thrive.

Today,  OpenPGP is a standard of PGP that is open-source for public use, and the term can be used to describe any program that supports the OpenPGP system.

GPG (GNU Privacy Guard)

GnuPGP was developed by Werner Koch and released in 1999 as an alternative to what is now Symantec’s software suite of encryption tools.  It is available as a free software download, and is based on the OpenPGP standards established by the IETF so that it would be interoperable with Symantec’s PGP tools as well as OpenPGP standards. Therefore, GPG can open and unencrypt any PGP and OpenPGP standards file.

GPG provides a graphic user interface when integrating into email and program systems such as Linux.  Some software solutions for encryption utilize GPG coding, while others encrypt using command line functions in a menu-based Perl script.

A variety of popular solutions have developed their PGP encryption products following the OpenPGP standards.  Some of these products include GoAnywhere OpenPGP Studio and GoAnywhere Director.

Summary

OpenPGP is the IETF-approved standard that describes encryption technologies that use processes that are interoperable with PGP.  PGP is a proprietary encryption solution, and the rights to its software are owned by Symantec.  GPG is another popular solution that follows the OpenPGP standards to provide an interface for end users to easily encrypt their files.

As the need to encrypt and protect data becomes ever more critical, organizations will continue to develop software based on these three systems.

 

Daniel Cheney

Daniel has been the IT Director at a healthcare company for the last 12 years and a longtime beneficiary of GoAnywhere Director and the IBM i platform. He is also a technical analyst and writer for various technical and social media projects with Humanized Communications.

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Top 4 Email Security Challenges and How to Solve Them

Posted by on Monday, 29 October, 2012

Sending information to others via email has become one of the easiest and most ubiquitous ways of sharing data.  However, there are some important caveats to sharing files this way, as explained by Bob Luebbe, Chief Architect of Linoma Software in a recent webinar entitled, “Ad-Hoc File Transfers Using GoAnywhere Secure Mail.”

Challenges

There are four big challenges that companies need to be aware of when transmitting files using email.

  1. Email is sent “in the clear” meaning that it is not encrypted, therefore can potentially be read by anyone seeing the traffic being sent across an internal network or the Internet.
  2. Large files are most often not permitted by the email provider or the company email server. There is a good reason for this as disk space is very quickly consumed by unlimited use of email attachments and especially when “cc:” is used to send to multiple recipients.
  3. Some file types may not be permitted.  The reason that some file types are restricted, especially on company email servers, is to protect additional attacks from virus and spyware programs that are disguised behind the .zip, .exe, or .dat file types.
  4. There are no good audit trails for the email transaction.  Many companies are required under compliance regulations and other constraints to provide a detailed record of where their information is going, where it changed hands along the way, and whether it arrived at the intended destination. With email systems, this capability is either difficult to use or is non-existent.

Secure Options

Again, the most critical reason for not sending information via email is that it is not secured.  This can be addressed in several ways including these four common encryption methods.

  1. PGP – Using OpenPGP to first encrypt the file before attaching it to an email can be used to send the file securely.  This does not encrypt the body content of the email itself, just the file that is attached.  The recipient needs to create a Public Key and get it to the sender before sending the encrypted file as this key will be needed to decrypt the file. Of course, the recipient must also have the OpenPGP software and the training to create these kinds of electronic keys.  Then the sender would need to install and encrypt the file using this specific recipient’s Public Key. Finally, the recipient would need to decrypt the file with their corresponding Private Key.  This method cannot be used to send files to multiple recipients.  Most users do not have the knowledge to perform this kind of secure file exchange and will usually resort to finding other easier though non-secure methods.
  2. Zip – Compressing the file using some freely available zip software can be used to secure the file as long as it has encryption capabilities such as AES included. After the file is zipped and assigned a password, it can be attached to an email and sent. The password would need to be sent separately perhaps by phone call or another separate email.  The recipient would also need to have software with the same encryption capability to decrypt and unzip the file.  A downside of this method is many corporate email systems block .zip attachments for security reasons.
  3. S/MIME –This encryption method requires that both the sender and the recipient email systems support S/MIME communications. The sender will need to create a certificate and send it to the recipient. The recipient would then need to know how to import the certificate into their email client.  Once the certificate is in place, a secured email can be sent, received and decrypted.
  4. Secure FTP – This method does not use email for sending the file but encrypts the file and sends it directly across a network or the Internet using secure file transfer protocols. The sender needs to have a secure FTP client installed and the recipient needs to have a Secure FTP server setup.  The recipient needs to set up a user ID and password for the sender.  The sender can then log in with their secure FTP client and transmit the file.

While each of these methods certainly allows the sender to assure that the file is secure, it doesn’t address some of the other challenges of file types being blocked and audit trails being easily obtained.  The inconvenience of using these methods prevents their widespread use and make users reliant upon experts to implement, which explains why much of the data flowing in and out of our network is still unsecured.

Solution

There are solutions available that combine the ease of using email together with the option to secure both the file and the text of the email. These solutions are generally referred to as secure mail or secure ad-hoc file transfer.

Secure email uses the common Outlook email client in the form of an add-on utility and/or web client using secure HTTPS protocols.  The sender simply creates the email using the email client with which they are already familiar, while the add-on feature provides a separate “Send” button that’s designated for sending the file using secure methods. Done. It’s a very simple one-button solution.  The recipient gets the email with a link that redirects them to an HTTPS-secured web page with the files available to download.  There are no certificates, electronic keys, or additional software combinations required for the sender or the recipient. Any files remain on the sender’s secured network and there are no file size limitations.  A very detailed and easily accessible audit log is kept for every single secured email transaction. As Bob Luebbe puts it in the webinar, “it’s as easy as pie.”

To listen to the whole webinar on secure mail, click here.

Daniel Cheney

Daniel has been the IT Director at a healthcare company for the last 12 years and a longtime beneficiary of GoAnywhere Director and the IBM i platform. He is also a technical analyst and writer for various technical and social media projects with Humanized Communications.

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GoAnywhere Director Version 4.0 Released

Posted by on Tuesday, 3 January, 2012

There’s no better way to kick off the new year than with a new release of Linoma Software’s GoAnywhere™ Director, our popular managed file transfer software.

managed file transfer, secure file transferGoAnywhere Director is the flagship component of the GoAnywhere managed file transfer suite, and it’s used by thousands of enterprise customers who need to initiate secure file transfers as part of their daily workflow.

Whether exchanging data with trading partners, vendors, customers, or even other servers, GoAnywhere Director is the preferred solution for our clients in both the IBM Power Systems environment as well as Linux, Windows, Solaris and others because it simplifies, automates and secures file transfers efficiently, while still remaining affordable.

Director 4.0 has added a variety of features to improve the user experience, including enhanced job controls, custom add-ons, new options for holiday calendars for scheduling, and more than 30 additional advanced functions.

For more details, check out our latest announcement, or dig deeper by reviewing the software release notes.

If you’ve been considering a different solution for handling your secure file transfers, we invite you to begin 2012 by investigating GoAnywhere.  Learn more about our managed file transfer solution, or simply request a free trial.

Susan Baird

Susan is the Marketing Manager at Linoma Software, helping promote our secure file transfer and encryption solutions. Her specialty is content creation and social media marketing.

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