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July 27, 2007

Why should P2P be a problem in the US Government?

Lock_down_p2p_3Wanted to write about the recent press around Wesley Clark's appearance before a US House Committee regarding the leakage of classified information via P2P applications. Jaikumar Vijayan has a good article up on Network World about it. It looks like my friends over at the 360 Security blog by nCircle beat me too it. However, let me give my two cents on it anyway. 

At first blush I thought this was just Clark pitching a company   he is on the board of called, Tiversa. Here is some of his testimony:

"There's all kind of data leaking out inadvertently," he told the commmittee, noting that the documents he cited were "simply what we found when we put the straw in the water. The American people would be outraged if they are aware of what is being inadvertently being disclosed on P2P networks."

Tiversa seems to have an enterprise solution/service around P2P leakage. I thought to myself, how powerful is retired General Clark if he can get a Congressional hearing on this stuff for a company he is on the board of? Crap, maybe we should get him on our board.  But after reading more it became obvious to me that this is a real problem and it is not just Lime Wire.  Though they appear to be the butt of the committee's wrath right now. 

The good news is, this is a relatively easy problem to thwart and I don't think you need a monitoring service.  The nCircle people talk about "continuous compliance". I guess that fits right into their recent acquisition of I forget the name of the company.  But there is more than one way to skin this cat.  Using StillSecure's Safe Access NAC solution, we can check every device coming on the network for the presence of any P2P application and not allow it on.  Using a good IPS like StillSecure's Strata Guard you can filter our P2P traffic and block it.  Of course the StillSecure products are not the only ones in their class to offer this. 

The bottom line is, any US Government IT manager who is not implementing one of the many solutions available to thwart P2P applications and traffic, in light of this testimony deserves what he gets.  Namely to be the next one to achieve 15 minutes of infamy due to sensitive information being leaked out of a network they are responsible for.

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