Kisco Bolsters Network Socket Security
October 10, 2018 Alex Woodie
IBM i shops that are serious about security should monitor all potential ingress routes into their computer systems, including network socket connections. Now Kisco Information Systems is supporting the latest network socket technology in IBM i 7.2 with its network security tool, SafeNet/i.
The Internet is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, the network itself and its array of supporting technologies allow companies to connect with customers on the other side of the world in powerful and potentially lucrative new ways. But on the other hand, the Internet also allow intruders on the other side of the world to impact your systems, as everybody from Google to the National Security Agency has found. Finding a happy medium between access and control can be tricky, but it’s necessary if any semblance of security is to be maintained.
On IBM i, much of the give and take in network security occurs with the various exit points that IBM built into the operating system to allow interaction through protocols like TCP/IP, FTP, and ODBC. It’s up to IBM i customers to monitor these exit points to keep hackers out, to keep internal users in, and to generally confirm that nothing untoward is occurring on the system.
Kisco Information Systems built one of the first network security products to monitor IBM i exit points. The company recently updated that product, SafeNet/i, with several new features that IBM i customers could find useful.
For starters, SafeNet/i Release 11 brings enhancements related to IBM i network socket connections. With IBM i 7.2, IBM added several new exit point capabilities for monitoring network socket connections. Specifically, it added exit point controls for TCP Accept, TCP Connect, and TCP Listen, which are critical stages in the network socket control diagram, according to IBM’s bestselling 2017 whitepaper, “Programming Socket programming.”
Kisco now supports these TCP socket exit point controls in the 11th release of SafeNet/i. Here’s how the company describes what it does:
“Release 11 of SafeNet/i logs all of these socket connections and lets you control them based on the source IP address of the system establishing the connection and the port number they are using for the connection,” Kisco says in a press release. “SafeNet/i gives you three levels of control over socket connections to allow the level of security you determine to be implemented.”
Kisco added several other new features with this release, including a new maintenance greenscreen interface and a new Web-based graphical user interface (GUI).
The new maintenance greenscreen interface gives an administrator access to “all aspects of access control that apply to a user,” the company says. There is no need to use any other screens to see the specific exit point settings that apply to a specific user. Kisco is confident that admins will like the new maintenance screen, but it’s still making the old one available in version 11.
All of the features that are available in the 5250 interface are available via the Web-based interface, called Web-Central, which runs on the IBM i’s integrated HTTP Server (the one powered by Apache), the company says. But there are also includes a pair of capabilities that are not available on the greenscreen.
The first feature that’s only available in the Web-Central GUI is a startup dashboard that gives the administrators a quick status review of the software. Security warnings are highlighted and current status information about the software is shown, Kisco says, and there’s a link to obtain a more detailed status report.
The second feature only available in Web-Central is a global review of all users currently registered within SafeNet/i. Kisco says the display panel shows users authorized for remote access along with quick links to the details for each type of access. “From here you can drill down to the details, remove the users completely or register new users using existing rules for a specific user,” the company says.
Kisco sells two versions of this product, including SafeNet/i Lite and SafeNet/i Basic. SafeNet/i Lite, which starts at $1,425, provides all of the security control and logging capabilities in the product, while Basic, which starts at $2,745 gives the admin more control over the files and libraries that network users can access.