4 Ways GSI’s Cyber Whitelisting Service Makes Your Network More Secure
Hackers finished 2022 on a hot-streak!
Over 15 million data records were exposed in the third quarter of 2022 alone. Despite advances in cybersecurity techniques and technology, many hackers remain a step ahead.
But with cyber whitelisting, IT pros can keep cybercriminals out of your networks, computers, and email system by restricting who or what has access. While cyber whitelisting sounds — and is — extreme, it’s just what the doctor ordered for many companies to keep their digital assets healthy.
What Is Cyber Whitelisting?
Cyber whitelisting refers to creating specific lists of people, email addresses, applications, and IP addresses that are cleared to interface with your network and/or connected devices. It’s the digital equivalent of a guestlist and a bouncer rolled into one.
Here’s how cyber whitelisting works:
- You create a list of approved emails, applications, or IP addresses. For instance, you might only allow emails sent from addresses your IT team has issued to your employees. Or you make a short list of approved, safe applications that employees can install on your organization’s devices.
- Whenever a bad actor tries to get something or someone not on your whitelist into your network, the system rejects the request.
- You can choose to have your whitelist solution send you an alert every time someone makes an illegal access or installation attempt.
Here are some of the top benefits of cyber whitelisting.
1. Cyber Whitelisting Dramatically Shrinks Your Attack Surface
If your company’s data is connected to the internet in some way, hackers are probably trying to access it right now. If they find the correct port, spoof up an authentic-sounding email, or trick one of your employees into clicking the right link, you may have a breach. But with cyber whitelisting:
- Only the applications you specify can be installed on your computers.
- You can limit emails that enter your inboxes to those from specific addresses.
- You can ensure that employees only access a limited list of websites.
2. Cyber Whitelisting Can Be More Effective Than Blacklisting
When considering whitelisting vs. blacklisting, many companies opt for the latter instead of the former. With blacklisting, you designate specific sites, applications, and IP addresses that you block from interfacing with your system. This works very well for organizations that want to deny access to distracting websites like Facebook or YouTube, but it comes with some significant challenges. For example, it’s relatively easy for a hacker to create a website that’s not on your blacklist. Or if your blacklist is an IP address, an attacker could use another server and get through.
On the other hand, with whitelisting, if it’s not on the list, it gets dismissed. For example, you could set up your email system so that it only receives communications from those within your organization. Then, you could set up multi-factor authentication controls, so those who log into email must prove their identity several ways before sending a communication.
Suppose a hacker has to not only steal credentials but somehow figure out the answers to security questions, hack a verification email address, and/or steal a target’s phone or another physical device. In that case, they might move on to an easier target.
3. Cyber Whitelisting Is a Powerful Way to Fight Malware
Malware is only effective if it can worm its way onto a computer in your network. Instead of relying only on periodic scans that check each device for malware, you can whitelist the following, only choosing the safest options:
- Websites your employees can visit
- Applications your employees can download
- Email addresses from which your employees can send and receive messages
For instance, suppose you limit your customer service employees to installing only Microsoft Office, your CRM solution, and your internal email client software. If one of them were to accidentally download an executable file by clicking on what looked like an innocent image, the system wouldn’t let it install on their computer. As a result, ransomware, spyware, adware, or whatever else was in the file’s payload wouldn’t be able to get into their computer.
4. Cyber Whitelisting Makes It Easy to Limit Administrative Privileges
Some organizations may have kiosks with which visitors can interact. Others may distribute laptops to temporary or seasonal workers. And many companies have workstations that nearly anyone could walk up to and start playing around on. If these computers allow someone administrative access to any of your systems, your network could be in imminent danger. Specifically, someone could use administrative privileges, even if they’re relatively limited, to sneak into sensitive areas of your network.
But with cyber whitelisting, you can surgically select which devices and user accounts have administrative privileges. This frees you up to issue as many laptops as you’d like simply because none of them will be on your whitelist.
You can also speed up the process of provisioning computers or access credentials to remote employees without worrying about whether they—or an opportunistic hacker—can quickly gain administrative access.
On the other hand, if you had to blacklist every new device you provisioned, you could add hours to an already full workweek.
How Threatlocker by GSI Can Help
Using Threatlocker by GSI, you get a whitelist provider that helps you whitelist just enough apps, addresses, and IPs to support your business workflows without introducing unnecessary threats. Threatlocker provides granular control over your whitelisting system so that you can tweak it however you need to ensure employees have the resources they need to excel—while staying safe.
Connect with GSI today to learn more about how Threatlocker can safeguard your network.