It is easy to understand that many computers connected to the Internet are vulnerable even without installing a remote desktop solution. In fact, researchers say that an unpatched and unprotected PC connected to internet, may be infected within 30 seconds!
We at EXILLION share this concern with you and that’s why security is, and must always be, the #1 priority.
During the design and development of Netgotiator, security always prevailed over usability features.
As the availability of broadband Internet connections increases, more and more people have their computers always online. From the moment your computer gets online it becomes a prime target for hacker attacks.
How Netgotiator protects access to my Servers and Computers?
How Netgotiator protects the data transferred during a session ?
How secure is Netgotiator ?
How secure is the Gateway Application ?
How secure are Terminal Services and Remote Desktop?
How secure is VNC ?
How secure is ActiveX technology ?
|Q: How Netgotiator protects access to my Servers and Computers ?|
Netgotiator provides by default up to four distinct levels of authentication, being one of the most secure Digital Mediation solutions on the market:
1) Web-site logins.
When Web Site logins are performed, they are only allowed through SSL. Web-site passwords, when created, must meet specific complexity requirements before being accepted by the Mediation Servers. Passwords are never stored in our systems. Instead, a one-way cryptographic hash from the real password combined with specific user data is stored in the Database. This process ensures that not even EXILLION employees can recover the user's password, nor it can be brute-forced with computing resources available today. A three-strikes rule for web-site passwords is enforced every time a user tries to login.
2) Client's computer (supported) internal password.
When the Vortex "Supported" application is run in the Client's Computer, the System writes a special internal password (not seen by the user) in the registry of the Client's Computer. This is later used by the Vortex network technology for authenticating itself with the Mediation Servers. This authentication is mutual: the Client's computer in turn asks the Mediation Server for a proof that it knows the same exact password. Moreover special checks are performed by both parts to prevent any form of message tampering or special forms of attack, such as message replays. This happens for EVERY message exchanged between the Client's Computer and the Mediation Servers.
3) Access code.
Every time a new computer is added to a Netgotiator Master Account Clients list, the end user (usually the client) is requested to specify a private Access Code, that is only stored on the Client's Computer registry in an encrypted format, and that is mutually verified by both parts through a challenge/response mechanism, thus preventing the Access Code from being transferred as clear-text. Netgotiator Mediation Servers never even see this Access Code, which is only requested by any of the Netgotiator plugins to a Console User (Supporter) when initiating a new connection to that specific Client Computer. This Access Code is required to grant access to that computer and later, when the connection is established, it contributes to calculate the AES key used to encrypt the user data stream that travels through the internet.
4) Terminal Services or VNC password.
As the final password level, there is the specific authentication method used by the underlying technology used to access the remote servers. This is a username and password for a Terminal Services or Remote Desktop connection, and a VNC password, for a VNC Server connection, depending on the Netgotiator plugin used.
Besides this, users may want to use the One-Time Access Codes feature built in to the Client's Computer Application if they want to access their Console Control Panel from unsecure computers, where software or hardware password loggers may be installed. One-Time Access Codes are valid only for a session: as soon as they are entered and verified, they are immediately removed from the list of valid Access Codes for that particular connection.
|Q: How Netgotiator protects the data transferred during a session ?|
The user data stream is “end-to-end” encrypted with 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption in Cipher Feedback (CFB) mode (which is a strong industry-standard encryption method) as it travels through the internet, in a way that no one, but the Netgotiator Mediation servers, may decipher. In fact the AES keys used to encrypt/decrypt user data streams for a server are derived from the unique Code generated when that "Supported" device was added to the Master Account's Customers computer list, together with a random number and (optionally) an other "supported device" specific password. The unique Code is different from a user’s web-site password (which is only used to log in to the Netgotiator’s web site) and, most important, it is never seen by Netgotiator servers, thus guaranteeing top-level privacy and security. During the authentication phase, the unique Code is mutually verified by both parts through a challenge/response mechanism, thus preventing the unique Code from being transferred as clear-text.
|Q: How secure is Netgotiator ?|
Netgotiator is one of the most secure Digital Mediation solutions on the market.
For authentication and privacy information, please refer to the previous FAQ answers in this page.
|Q: How secure is the Netgotiator Vortex network technology?|
The Vortex technology was developed with security in mind. It encrypts the user data stream as it travels through the internet (in a way that no one, but the Netgotiator servers, may decipher) and allows access only to those "supported devices" explicitly added to its Master Account's Customer computer list and only to those people explicitly authorized by you (your Secondary users). This list is stored on the Mediation Servers in an encrypted format, not modifiable or writable from the outside.Data Encyption:
The SSL/TLS standard defines a wide choice of cipher suites such as RC4 and 3DES, and some implementations offer more advanced suites such as AES as well. RC4 operates on 128 bit keys, 3DES uses 168 bit keys. AES can support 128 or 256 bit keys.
Vortex uses 256-bit AES encryption. The "supported device" and the Mediation Server will agree on the strongest cipher possible. This is done by the "supported device" sending to the Server a list of ciphers it is willing to use, and the Server choosing the one it prefers from this list.
The SSL/TLS standard does not define how the Server should choose the final cipher. In Vortex technology, the Server simply selects the strongest available cipher suite that the supported device has offered. This method allows both the supported device and the Server to decline the use of specific data-encryption algorithms without the need of updating both components, should an algorithm be deemed as broken or insecure by research.
Netgotiator Security Mechanisms:
Due to the nature of the Netgotiator architecture several extra security measures were taken in addition to the Vortex mechanisms already in place.
- Mediation Server Authentication
The Mediation Server needs to prove its identity both to the "Supported" Computer and to the "Supporter console" before it can be trusted with access codes. Each one of them, when making a connection to the Mediation Server, will check its SSL certificate to make sure it is indeed connecting to one of the Netgotiator servers.
- Supported Computer Authentication
The Mediation Server verifies the Supported Computer's identity when it accepts an incoming connection using a long unique identifier string which is a shared secret between the two entities and is issued by the Mediation Server when the Supported Computer makes its first connection.
This unique identifier is only communicated over an SSL-secured channel, and only after the Supported computer has verified the Mediation Server's identity.
- Supporter's Console Authentication
Supporter's Consoles need to be authenticated by both the Mediation Server and the Supported Computer. When a Supporter logs on to the Netgotiator Servers, a double way verification is performed. First, the Unique console ID (encrypted) is checked by the Mediation Server and second, the specific Supporter's User Name and Password is communicated through the already established secure channel (SSL). Users are advised to enable one or more of the extra security options that Netgotiator provides. One of these (more advanced) options is a sheet of printed One-Time-Passwords (OTPs). When the Supporter enables the OTP option, he is required to print out a list of 9-character random passwords generated by the Mediation Server. Once this is done, subsequent logins to the Netgotiator Servers will require the entry of any one of the passwords on the sheet that has not been used before. Before the Supporter runs out of OTPs he is required to print another sheet – at which point in time any unused passwords on the previous sheet are invalidated.
|Q: How secure are Terminal Services and Remote Desktop applications used in Plugins ?|
Terminal Services and Remote Desktop sessions are always high-encrypted, regardless of the use of Netgotiator. The Terminal Services ActiveX client from Microsoft (used in the Netgotiator Control Panel) always uses RSA Security's RC4 cipher with a key strength of 40-, 56-, or 128-bit, as determined by the computer to which it is connecting.
Please consider that Terminal Services/Remote Desktop’s encryption is independent from Netgotiator encryption based on session generated keys, so, when using Netgotiator with Terminal Services/Remote Desktop, there are actually two distinct levels of encryption protecting user data streams.
Standard VNC Servers don’t support any type of native encryption of the keyboard/video data transmitted and received. However, this is not a problem with Netgotiator, because the VNC plug-in uses its native encryption system that generates session keys and provides a VPN-alike secure tunnel between the NETGVNC client and the NETGVNC server (our compiled library), thus protecting the privacy of the communication over the internet.
Also, UltraVNC - whose base code we follow - features an extension mechanism that allows to integrate independent encryption Plugins both in the client and in the server, in order to implement encryption of VNC data streams as Terminal Services and Remote Desktop natively do.
|Q: How secure is ActiveX technology ?|
Netgotiator uses ActiveX and Authenticode technology in order to provide its remote control features directly from inside the Supporter's Console. Every ActiveX plug-in used in conjunction with Netgotiator is digitally signed with a certificate issued by Comodo, a Digital Certificate Issuer company. Moreover, any ActiveX content from Netgotiator is developed in a way to check the identity of the caller every time, thus preventing the ActiveX components from being called from any other entity than the Mediation Servers.