Kisco Maintains Session Integrity, Security with ScreenSafer/400
November 29, 2005 Alex Woodie
iSeries servers are used to maintain sensitive information. That should not surprise you. But you may not be aware that the majority of security breaches are the result of people inside the organization. It is at the confluence of these two facts that Kisco Information Systems offers ScreenSafer/400, a security-enabled 5250 screensaver. This month Kisco shipped a new version of ScreenSafer/400 that brings enhancements in the areas of support for long passwords and dealing with periods of extended inactivity.
When office workers at OS/400 shops leave their work spaces to attend a quick meeting, use the facilities, or grab a bite to eat, they may have unknowingly created a security risk by staying logged onto the iSeries server. In some cases, there are no good alternatives to simply getting up and walking away, because logging out of the session could interrupt an important job, or cause them to lose their place in the middle of a complicated transaction. In other cases, users may have simply forgotten to log off when they went home for the day, which can cause other complications.
In either case, leaving a workstation where there is an active 5250 emulation session open can have serious security consequences. Not only is the information currently on the screen at risk from the casual passer-by glancing at the idle screen, but there is the possibility that an unscrupulous employee (we know you’re out there) could sit down and avail himself of the open session to do his mischief.
ScreenSafer/400 protects against all of these scenarios and workplace characters–the rubbernecker and the miscreant, the forgetful and the power user running a long job. The utility kicks in after a set period of inactivity, and scrambles the contents of the screen. When the authorized user returns to his workstation, he can resume his session by entering the password he uses to log onto the server. Perhaps most importantly, the software works without logging a user out of his session or disconnecting them, which could corrupt files in the database.
In previous releases, the software was limited to passwords with a maximum of 10 simple characters. With this release, ScreenSafer/400 is brought into parity with recent releases of OS/400, which allows passwords up to 128 characters long, with mixed upper and lower case and blanks. This is an important feature because ScreenSafer/400 uses OS/400 system passwords, and removes a barrier for those OS/400 shops moving to adopt the stronger password formats.
The other major addition is a new secondary timeout feature to help administrators deal with sessions where users have apparently abandoned their posts, not merely gone to the loo. After a session has been inactive for a set period of time, ScreenSafer/400 will cause the interactive session to be terminated. Kisco says this new controlled shutdown feature was added to make it easier for customers to do a clean backup of their systems. Performance of the product has also been improved, the company added.
ScreenSafer/400 3.0 is available now. Licenses for an unlimited number of users cost $895. For more information, visit www.kisco.com.