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Safe SOHO surfing
March 2012, Cyber Security

Being online is an extreme sport these days as hackers, malware and all sorts of unsavoury characters try to exploit (with success much of the time) unsuspecting users, even those not doing anything untoward on the Internet. For home and small businesses, the threat of all these dangers is all the more serious as the cost of effective protection is often too high for these environments.

Cyberoam has a solution to this problem in its NetGenie range of UTM (unified threat management) devices aimed at the home and small office. NetGenie is a small device, about the size of an ADSL router that sits between the people you want to give Internet access to and your ADSL router (or modem). It monitors all Internet traffic and automatically protects you via its firewall, antivirus and intrusion prevention system. In other words, it does enterprise-level protection for the small office or home, including offering VPN access.

As a bonus to those who use 3G services to access the Internet, you are able to plug a 3G modem into the NetGenie and have the same level of protection – although we had some trouble setting it up. The antivirus updates itself automatically, although we recommend you run a manual update when the system is first installed.

The NetGenie creates its own wireless network for others to log into, ensuring all Internet access is protected.

Of course, simply preventing malware is only one aspect of keeping yourself safe on the Net today. The NetGenie also offers an easy-to-use browser interface from which administrators can control the Websites and applications their users use. For example, if a company wants to limit access to social networks, the administrator can block access to these sites by choosing the list of social sites that comes with the system, or by choosing specific sites that the company wants banned.

This blocking can be done on a universal basis, preventing everyone from accessing social media (or sexually explicit, political or a host of other categories pre-programmed into the system), or on a per user basis. For example, you may allow your marketing manager to access YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, but nobody else.

Alternatively, the administrator can allow access to these sites only at specific times. If you do not want to set the surfing limits according to NetGenie’s categories, you can also manually enter specific sites that are blocked or have limited access.

The simplest setup will see the administrator simply choosing a level of protection, from a whitelist through to minimal restrictions at the click of a mouse.

With NetGenie in place, users will be presented with a login screen each time they open their browser. Their login name will automatically assign them rights and manage the process, which includes access to applications.

The system allows you to draw reports on usage, including measuring each user’s bandwidth consumption in a set period.

The default settings ensure your network is secure as soon as you plug it in, also asking the administrator to choose a new password.

For more information contact Lynton Lubbe, Cyberoam, South Africa, lynton.lubbe@cyberoam.com, www.cyberoam.com


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