Basics of rogue device detection & prevention

The devices involved in bring your own device (BYOD) policies, along with the ports these devices connect to, have multiple communication pathways. Ensuring these devices—as well as their pathways—are detected, evaluated, and managed instantly when they enter your organization's network is crucial, as unmanaged devices could easily become a security risk. However, adding many devices at once across an entire enterprise network is tough work. ManageEngine OpUtils  ,being the rogue detection software, simplifies this process by automatically tracking all devices in your network and alerting you when a rogue or unauthorized device enters your network.

Introduction to rogue devices

Rogue devices are just plain malicious by nature. They exist for the sole purpose of stealing sensitive information like credit card numbers, passwords, and more. They harm your network and, in the process, can harm your company's reputation. In rare cases, rogue devices can even permanently damage systems, if there is no rogue device detection tool in your company.

Types of rogue devices

Rogue devices can be wireless access points (sometimes referred to as rogue APs) or end-user computers (rogue peers). If left connected, either type of rogue device can pose a security threat. Rogue APs can be further classified into web robots (bots) and sniffers:

  • A bot is a system that performs a repetitive task. Malicious bots can be used to send email spam or cause denial of service (DoS) on a network. Bots can also be formed into a collective of zombies and used to carry out even more powerful attacks.
  • A sniffer is an eavesdropper that passively sits on the network and stealthily inspects traffic. Sniffers can be maliciously used for the reconnaissance of valuable data.

Ways in which rogue devices connect with your network

The best way for the prevention of rogue access points and unauthorized devices from connecting to your network is to scrutinize each device that joins your network as a potential threat. There are multiple ways rogue devices can connect to your network, including through:

  1. Employee-owned devices: BYOD policies can be convenient for workers but a nightmare for network security. Unmanaged BYOD policies can easily turn into a conductor for rogue devices. There's also the possibility that these devices can be lost or stolen once they leave the office.
  2. Third-party vendors: Third-party vendors often have access to sensitive information or data from their client companies. If you're the client of a third-party vendor and they don't monitor their networks, rogue devices may be able to access your information through that third-party vendor's systems.
  3. Shadow IT: Shadow IT is any unauthorized use of IT assets in an enterprise, including employees working around inefficient IT systems. Shadow IT systems are likely to be more vulnerable to rogue devices because they are not actively protected by the IT department.
  4. Lack of device visibility: Lack of device visibility is the biggest issue a company can face concerning rogue device access. If you don't know what's on your network, you can't tell whether your network security is at risk or not.

The subtle art of detecting and preventing rogue devices

Wireless networks are inherently less secure than wired networks. With traditional (non-wireless) networks, data flows over physical and continuously-monitored circuits. On the other hand, in wireless networks, data is transmitted using radio signals. Because your IP network is designed to provide distributed access, it’s porous and intended to be accessible by many types of devices. Therefore the objective of IT administrators should be to limit access to only authorized devices. Controlling which devices can connect to your network is crucial for ensuring the privacy and integrity of corporate assets and data. For rogue network device detection, a network must have at least three things.

  1. Periodic scanning: One popular method of rogue device prevention from having unrestricted access to your network is to scan your office for wireless devices on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
  2. Continuous monitoring: If you periodically scan your office, you will probably find many wireless devices that belong to your company, your neighbors, and your guests. Every time a scan is done, new sets of devices will be found. Continuously monitoring your network allows you to maintain a list of known devices so that you can tell when a new one shows up.
  3. Immediate alerting: If a new device is discovered in your network or the status of a device changes suddenly, an IT engineer needs to be informed immediately. This is why you need a comprehensive alerting system in your network, especially if it contains a large number of devices.

Detecting and preventing rogue devices on the network  - ManageEngine OpUtils

ManageEngine OpUtils - Rogue wireless detection software

To avoid a security breach and protect your organization against pervasive rogue devices that could cost your business everything, try ManageEngine OpUtils. OpUtils can:

  • Help in rogue detection and rogue prevention with powerful switch port management capabilities so you can gain control over who and what is connecting to your network.
  • Quickly find a computer or user—as well as track down lost or rogue devices—with a simple search on usernames, IP addresses, hostnames, and MAC addresses.
  • Provide historical data of a device's last known location.
  • Immediately shut down ports, mitigate threats, and alleviate network performance issues.

All these can be done from a simple point-and-click web interface such as OpUtils (Rogue System Detection software), which will constantly detect and alert any threat to your network.