File access control

The challenge with designating file system permissions

With the copious amount of sensitive, confidential information harbored within private networks, it's imperative to form a methodical approach to granting file access permissions. File access control is the technique of assigning or restricting user access to certain files. It ensures that sufficient information is provided for authorized users, but is kept safe from malicious intruders attempting to launch file-based attacks or instigate data breach incidents.

Why is file access control necessary?

File access control mechanisms are necessary to prevent exploits that can result in an intruder assuming full control of a network. Let's take a look at an example featuring the Read It Twice! attack, which occurs through the illicit use of USB devices. In this attack, once an infected mass removable media device is connected to a computer, it can alter that system’s file contents and hijack control over the entire data reservoir of that system. For cases like this, file access control is also an effective approach to ensuring any unauthorized removable media device, along with the malicious users trying to access your systems, are promptly detected and stopped.

How to implement file access control with Device Control Plus

The information within an organization is often categorized into varying degrees of sensitivity. While some data can be made publicly available for purposes such as sales and advertising, most other information is typically privatized and secured in company-hosted hardware strongholds, such as highly protected servers. This file access system is implemented since the exclusive information could consist of intellectual property, trademarks, and personal and company-related customer profiles.

Read-only file access

This file access permission is the most basic level of access, and is recommended for ordinary employees. A read-only option still allows team members to obtain the knowledge they need without altering the data or its location. By allocating file access permissions to constitute a read-only file system, admins can maintain an organized file structure while simultaneously ensuring vital information is kept intact. This also prevents data leakage, as well as attacks that stem from relocating legitimate data and interspersing it with malicious information, such as cross-site scripting.

File creation in USB devices, and subsequent modifications of copied file

If the file creation option is enabled, devices can extract data from the computer and transfer it to their peripheral devices. If needed, the user can also modify the data within the device. Rest assured that the original data can still be preserved through file shadowing, a security feature that produces copies of transferred data, which is then stored in a protected network share.

File movement from USB devices to a computer

Within Device Control Plus' file system permissions, there is also a setting for enabling the movement of files from the device to a computer. This option should be allowed only for highly trusted users; if not, it's possible for malicious scripts and malware to be discreetly tunneled into the computer. This can have negative ramifications on the hardware and software, which in turn can obstruct the proper functioning of the machine.

Example of a use case for enabling file movement permissions

If users are recognized as staff members, they should be given file movement permissions for activities like consolidating data into a safe space. This could include customer data obtained through marketing events or programs, files created in remote workstations, etc.

What are the benefits of file access control?

Create systematic, repeatable assignment of permissions

Creating policies for file access control is a quick and easy process. General templates for file access policies can be created for each type of employee tier. This is one of steps in implementing role-based access control (RBAC), which is a technique to assign users access based on user roles and tasks and can be done using Device Control Plus. Whenever a new user is introduced, their computer can be easily added to a custom group, and the policy template can be duplicated, modified for their specific requirements, and then deployed without a hassle. This approach ensures that a clear and concise file access security protocol for each user is followed.

Operational efficiency

Since members of an organization can continuously obtain new information and perform versatile duties, file access permissions should be adjusted to match their new data access requirements. Device Control Plus ensures that everyone's needs can be met in a timely fashion, as permissions can always be edited in just a few minutes whenever necessary.

Keep potential data breaches at bay

With Device Control Plus, the majority of users can easily be given just read-only access, while higher privileges such as file creation in devices can be granted temporarily on an ad-hoc basis. As for the policies with a higher level of access, they can be granted to a few highly trusted users, such as administrators and leadership staff. By granting permissions based on the reputations and tasks of the users, insider attacks due to privilege escalation scenarios can be deftly avoided.

Avert file based exploits with an effective file access control software, download a 30 day, free trial of Device Control Plus!