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The IT Center’s IT Security Measures

September 2nd, 2022 | by
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With technological progress and the increasing digitization of processes, the topic of IT security is gaining more and more importance. The risks associated with digitalization affect us all. Improper behavior and naivety in dealing with information technology can have serious, costly consequences. That is why the security awareness of users in particular should be actively encouraged. IT security also plays a major role at the IT Center. In this blog, for example, we repeatedly draw your attention to security risks and explain how you can be more aware when using information technology. In this post, we would like to give you an overview of the IT security measures that have been implemented at the IT Center, for both yours and our protection.

Firewalls

A firewall is used to protect a computer from unauthorized access. Its task in a security concept is to restrict the accessibility of services in such a way that vulnerable or sensitive services are only available to the extent permitted by the security policy. For this purpose, the IT Center operates a high-performance firewall in the RWTH network, on which the worldwide accessibility of the most important services is controlled in binary form. The IT Center also operates another firewall layer on the routers in front of the networks of university institutions. In this way, these can also be protected from threats within the university network. In addition, firewalls also play a major role in monitoring and early detection of threats.

Boxcryptor

Boxcryptor is a file encryption software, especially for cloud storage and network drives. It encrypts and decrypts data for the user locally on the computer. On the cloud storage, however, they are stored exclusively in encrypted form. This is referred to as end-to-end encryption. This encryption is file-based. Access to the encrypted files can also be shared and the encrypted files can thus be shared. Neither the manufacturer of the software nor the operator of the storage service can access the file contents.

Free virus protection with SOPHOS

The threat of viruses, worms or similar is constantly increasing. To protect against these threats, good anti-virus protection is absolutely vital. In June 2006, RWTH Aachen University joined the state contract between NRW and the company Sophos GmbH. Since then, the IT Center provides the virus scanner Sophos Anti-Virus (SAV) free of charge to all institutions of RWTH Aachen University, FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences and all members of these institutions. You can also download this virus scanner free of charge for private use. You can find the link on IT Center Help.

VPN server

VPN stands for Virtual Private Network and describes the possibility to establish a protected network connection using public networks. With the VPN, the IT Center offers users the possibility to access the RWTH network from outside in an encrypted and secure way. As soon as a user’s computer has established a VPN connection, an encrypted “tunnel” exists between the computer and the VPN server. All data traffic into the RWTH network passes through this encrypted tunnel. In the process, the user is assigned an internal RWTH IP address for the duration of the connection. Thanks to VPN, access to internal resources is also possible from external locations.

Certificates

A digital certificate is an electronic credential that verifies the identity, as well as other properties, of a person, computer, or organization. They confirm to whom a public key belongs. This cryptographic key then serves as a digital signature. Certificates are thus the basis for digital signatures. They help to identify the originator of the information and ensure that the information has not been changed in the meantime. The originator can be a person, a group or an IT system. Certificates are also used at RWTH to ensure authenticity, integrity and bindingness. The RWTH certification authority is part of the DFN-PKI (Public Key Infrastructure). User certificates for mail addresses as well as server certificates for servers from the rwth-aachen.de domain can be applied for.

Blast-o-Mat

Attackers often use port scanners to detect possible access points for infiltration into a network. The Blast-o-Mat is a program designed to detect these port scans by RWTH computers. The sending of spam by RWTH computers is also detected by Blast-o-Mat. If such a circumstance is detected, the corresponding admins or users are notified directly by e-mail. If the problem originates from an institute computer, the IP of the computer is usually blocked automatically.

 

However, this list does not represent all IT security measures implemented in the IT center. There is also, for example, the IT Center’s general vulnerability management. This includes numerous processes and strategies for identifying, assessing and remediating security gaps. The availability of services such as Sciebo helps to increase IT security even more. In addition to all these measures, you too can help, of course. Under the tag IT security, we regularly report about security risks and how to behave properly when dealing with information technology and in case of an incident on our blog. So be sure to check it out for more information about IT security.

 

Responsible for the content of this article is Stéphanie Bauens.

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