Sophos has announced that the application control feature of Sophos Endpoint Security and Control has been extended to give businesses the option to block remote connection tools, such as RealVNC and Radmin, that enable employees to access remote-based PCs or laptops from any other computer via the Internet.
Remote connection tools represent a loophole in many businesses' computer usage policies. Enabling office-based staff to remotely access home computers while at work allows them to visit any website – including those that are banned by the company.
Similarly, connecting to work PCs from remote locations raises security concerns for IT departments, which cannot verify whether it is an employee who has connected to the network or if a hacker has taken over the machine and is trying to access confidential corporate data.
They also present a security risk as they allow the easy transfer of data or files between corporate and non-corporate computers and provide a backdoor for hackers to gain access to company resources. In a recent Sophos poll, 80% of systems administrators indicated that they considered remote connection tools a threat to corporate security. With some users installing illegal software or games on home PCs, administrators need to avoid unwanted applications finding their way onto the business network.
"While remote connection tools can make life easier for employees who need to work from the office, from home and on the road, their use can be a security risk for systems administrators," says Brett Myroff, CEO of master Sophos distributor, NetXactics.
"If home PCs aren't properly protected, they can help malware and hackers break into the corporate network.”
More and more firms are also banning productivity-sapping sites like Facebook and eBay, but the use of remote connection tools means that staff can easily circumnavigate corporate rules.
“With Sophos' latest application control features, employees no longer call the tune and systems administrators can recapture control of the corporate network,” Myroff says.