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[liberationtech] Designing the best network infrastructure for a Human Rights NGO

anonymous2013 at anonymous2013 at
Thu Feb 28 06:21:03 PST 2013

Agreed, this kind of advice is what I was hoping to get on LibTech!

On Thu, 28 Feb 2013 14:16:56 +0000 cantona7 at wrote:
>Thanks excellent advice - much to think about.
>On Thu, 28 Feb 2013 14:09:39 +0000 "Tom Ritter" <tom at> 
>>On 28 February 2013 07:39,  <anonymous2013 at> wrote:
>>> Hi,
>>> We are a human rights NGO that is looking to invest in the best
>>> possible level of network security (protection from high-level
>>> cyber-security threats, changing circumvention/proxy to protect 
>>> address etc, encryption on endpoints and server, IDS/Physical 
>>> Software Firewall/File Integrity Monitoring, Mobile Device
>>> Management, Honeypots) we can get for a our internal network. I 
>>> wondering if people would critique the following network, add
>>> comments, suggestions and alternative methods/pieces of 
>>> (Perhaps if it goes well we could make a short paper out of it, 
>>> others to use.)
>>> -Windows 2012 Server
>>> -VMWare virtual machines running Win 8 for remote access
>>Windows doesn't scare me, full remote access scares me.  (I'm 
>>at how many people are saying "X is insecure" with no 
>>or why an alternative is more secure.) Obviously you'll need 
>>for remote workers, but see the next section...
>>> -Industry standard hardening and lock down of all OS systems.
>>Industry 'Standard' hardening isn't particularly good because
>>'Standard' is 'Standard' and 'Standard' is also hacked over and 
>>again.  Upgrading your RDP authentication level is a good idea 
>>'Standard' - but what you want most of all is separation of 
>> I don't mean "Bob the sysadmin is the only person who can 
>>the mailserver" I mean "Bob the sysadmin is the only person who 
>>administer the mailserver, and he can only do it from a separate
>>computer that's on a separate airgapped network and he doesn't 
>>Airgapping brings thoughts of crazy military-levels of paranoia - 
>>it's not all that difficult and it's getting more and more 
>>Get a couple cheapish laptops, a separate consumer-level 
>>connection, and run red cables plus blue to a few people's desks.
>>Think about it terms of compartmentalisation, both airgapped and
>>non-airgapped-but-separate-Domains/VLANs/Authorisation contexts. 
>>out your network, and then fill an entire section with Red - 
>>what the attacker controls.  How does he move to another section? 
>>data does he get?  Brainstorm this part heavily, consider putting 
>>up on a permanent whiteboard and referring to it every time 
>>comes in and needs access to X group's fileserver, or what-have-
>>> -Constantly changing proxies
>>I have no idea what you intend to accomplish with this.  
>>*more* logging of your employees, or not disabling WPAD sounds 
>>the opposite of what you'd want.  (And a note on the WPAD item:
>>disable IPv6 too.)
>>> -Sophos Enterprise Protection, Encryption and Patch management
>>> -Sophos mobile management
>>Uh, I guess.  I guess I shouldn't disparage something I've never
>>reviewed and haven't worked with... But my opinion of "Enterprise
>>Protection" products isn't too high until I've seen an 
>>security firm see how secure the product is and how much it 
>>surface it adds.
>>> -Encrypted voice calls for mobile and a more secure alternative 
>>> Skype via Silent Circle.
>>So I guess that's RedPhone?
>>> -TrueCrypt on all drives - set to close without use after a
>>> specific time
>>Bitlocker is a fine alternative, and probably easier to 
>>via Group Policy.
>>> -False and poison pill files
>>> -Honeypots
>>Ooookay.  This isn't a bad idea, but it's pretty damn complicated 
>>set up - you're moving more and more towards something that 
>>requires a
>>24/7 SOC (Security Operations Center) and further away from
>>"Architecting a secure network."
>>> -Snort IDS
>>> -Tripwire
>>And someone full time (or 2 people, really probably a team of 
>>operating 24/7) to monitor these?  Cause this stuff doesn't help 
>>if no one's looking at it.
>>> -Easily controlled kill commands
>>... Huh?
>>> -No wifi
>>Good luck with that.  I guess no one's going to have any 
>>meetings or use any MacBook airs, tablets, or phones for work
>>purposes.  (Unlikely.)  Having everyone use the cell towers isn't 
>>great idea either.  This sounds like you haven't done a 
>>gathering phase with your users.
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