Websense adds 'criminal encryption' detection to security gateway

Also, new feature adds way to detect stolen data transmitted as images

Websense has added new capabilities to its Web Security Gateway, including a way to detect "criminal encryption" and data theft that might be done in images instead of document formats.

"Criminals are looking at new ways to go undetected so they can harvest information from companies," said Patrick Murray, senior director of product management at Websense. With Web Security Gateway Version 7.7, there's a way to "detect the presence of non-standard encryption methods" that criminals may use to try and send stolen data back using botnet command-and-control systems, he said.

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Murray says the Websense security gateway is not going to be able to decrypt the non-standard encryption used this way but will block it.

In addition, the updated gateway now has a data-loss prevention (DLP) capability that lets it look for confidential information transmitted in images, as opposed to document files. Data in images might be sent as screen shots or fax copies of checks, for example. If a malicious insider is taking photos of sensitive data in image form, the Websense Security Gateway could detect that.

The gateway is also doing a better job watching for "low and slow data theft" in which criminals try to send out stolen information in small quantities at a time to avoid detection, Murray said. Companies using this would need to set a policy guideline that would watch for possible data loss according to time frame.

Websense is also improving the gateway's defenses against email-delivered malware that comes as a hyperlink to trick the recipient into going to a site loaded with dangerous malware. Criminals are crafty and often don't put the malware on the hyperlinked page in question until after they know it's gone through a spam filter, where they know it gets checked. Instead, they load the malware up a little later when they know the intended victim is likely to open their mail. So to combat this trick by criminals, Websense is now wrapping the hyperlink in a kind of URL sandbox so no matter where it's opened by the recipient, it's going to be checked through the Websense gateway first.

The updated security gateway capabilities are available now in the Websense V5000, which starts at $6,000 and the V10000, which starts at $16,000, with additional costs based on per-user pricing per year.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security.

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