Open Haus: Graphical User Interface

Not long ago, the old aphorism “look but don’t touch” applied to computers and mobile devices. There were no touch screens, no tapping or pinching, no complicated gestures a user could issue with their fingertips. All that touching a screen would do was leave behind fingerprints. That all changed in 2007, when Apple brought touch screens into the mainstream with the first-generation iPhone, back then a first-of-its-kind touch-screen smartphone. Since then, keyboards have all but vanished from smartphones, and touch screens are now replacing or augmenting keyboards on larger devices. Global shipments of touch-screen displays are expected to double from 1.3 billion in 2012 to 2.8 billion in 2016. Already, touch-screen displays have moved from smartphones to tablets to, increasingly, desktops and laptops. Even as far back as 2013, one in 10 laptops were already equipped with a touch screen. Given this landscape, any program that runs on smartphones, tablets or computers now needs to be touch-screen compatible – that is to say, it requires a touch-screen compatible, graphically intuitive display that can also be scaled to whatever device the user has. Users demand this functionality, and users of NCP engineering’s remote access VPN clients now have access to just that for employees working on-the-go on a range of devices. How It Works Enhanced touch-screen compatibility is a core update to the latest version of the NCP Secure Clients that is intended to improve the user experience on touch-screen devices, such as Windows tablets and smartphones. Displays within NCP VPN clients are also intuitive and easy-to-use. Independent of the device or operating system, all remote access VPN clients provide...

How Far Does Your Cybersecurity Umbrella Extend?

Network administrators: No matter how impenetrable you think your network defenses are, there are always going to be remote access vulnerabilities that threaten the integrity of your walls. Often, it’s a threat that originates from outside the immediate range of your defenses, and it’s one you may not have any visibility into. Recently, these threats have started to originate from third-party partners – a company’s vendors, suppliers, agencies, firms and other outside service providers. These are often smaller companies with less sophisticated remote access defenses that, when they become a target of cyber crooks, provide a path for an attacker right into the heart of another company’s network. Target found this out the hard way, after its network was breached when attackers gained entry by acquiring network credentials though a third-party HVAC vendor. So did Lowe’s, after one of its vendors backed up customer data on an unsecure server and unknowingly exposed the information to the broader Internet. Goodwill, too, suffered a breach because of a vendor, this time a retail POS operator that acknowledged its managed service environment “may have experienced unauthorized access.” While it may seem odd for big-name companies to provide such privileged access to third parties and, in the process, put themselves in harm’s way – either deliberately or inadvertently – it’s actually quite a common situation. As Brian Krebs reported in the aftermath of the Target breach, large retailers often provide HVAC and energy vendors with privileged network access so they can alert retailers around-the-clock in the event something goes wrong in one of their buildings. As a source told Krebs, “Vendors need to...

Open Haus: Updated VPN Clients and Server

Of all the factors that would prevent an organization from launching a comprehensive remote access security strategy – limited budget, unfamiliarity with emerging threat vectors, lack of employee buy-in – the remote access tools themselves should not be the reason that a strategy has trouble gaining a foothold within an organization. The experience of using a remote access VPN needs to be an easy one – it should be straightforward for network administrators to centrally manage, and simple for users to deploy without interrupting their workflow. As Citrix’s Kurt Roemer recently told eWeek, “The industry needs to preconfigure for security and employ services that keep security settings optimal and balanced against user experience.” In the last month, NCP engineering has issued three product updates, all intended to improve remote access security for enterprises by enhancing administrator features and the end-user experience: NCP Secure Clients, Version 10.02 This update supports users of Windows 10, and is the first IPsec VPN Client compatible with Microsoft’s newest operating system. For users, Version 10.02 of the NCP Secure Entry Clients offers: Optimized Internet of Things (IoT) configuration Alerts when the preferred network is no longer available Improved user experience through a touchscreen-compatible interface The option to eliminate dual network connections Password- and PIN-free logon with machine certificates Meanwhile, administrators benefit from improved troubleshooting, through enhanced search log functionality, and immediate configuration updates. NCP Secure Client – Juniper Edition, Version 10.02 For users who access network connections through Juniper VPN gateways, Version 10.02 of the NCP Secure Client – Juniper Edition offers many of the same enhancements above, while providing seamless and secure remote...