People who value both convenience and privacy, which means almost all users – depend on instant messaging (IM) applications to communicate in all aspects of their personal lives. Every time we open a new chat, WhatsApp, for example, reassures us: “Messages and calls are end-to-end encrypted. No one outside of this chat, not even WhatsApp, can read or listen to them.
Instant messaging is the way we talk today
Instant messaging has quickly become the preferred tool in our business communication toolkit as well. While formal interactions still require emails, simple and effective chat apps are increasingly used for quick consultations and interactions. Slack and Microsoft Teams (and their many competitors) are widely used within organizations. But when it comes to communicating with third-party vendors, customers, and other contacts for business purposes, as well as family and friends during the workday, instant messaging apps like WhatsApp are often the solutions of choice.
The numbers tell the story: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram and Snapchat together have more than 4 billion active users, of which 2 billion are on WhatsApp alone. 50 million of these WhatsApp users are business accounts. Weixin / WeChat and QQ have nearly 2 billion additional users, mostly in China.
What is hiding in your cat?
This all explains why their favorite instant messenger web client is one of the very first tabs that many – maybe most – open at the start of the workday and the one that is used most frequently throughout the day. daytime.
Instant messaging web clients, however, can pose a real threat to network security. A single click on a ransomware infected file sent via a chat – whether maliciously or inadvertently – can bring an entire organization to its knees.
The same end-to-end encryption that protects user privacy makes secure web gateways and next-generation firewalls that organizations depend on to scan websites for malicious content, unable to “see” if a file or link instant messaged to a user The instant messaging web client contains ransomware or other malicious software. Therefore, if a chat contains a link to ransomware or an infected file, it will not be blocked. When the user opens the file or clicks the link, malware can instantly travel from the endpoint’s browser to and across the corporate network.
It’s not hard to imagine scenarios where cybercriminals share militarized images in an IM group, submit an infected resume in response to an opening ad, or send a sales request that contains a malicious link. One click by a user, and the damage is done.
Many organizations simply block instant messaging web clients, preventing their use. But in countries where chat apps are widely used for business and personal purposes, blocking instant messaging web clients annoys users – to the point of revolt, in some countries! – and results in a negative impact on the productivity of the organization.
Instant Messaging Threat Protection
ZTEdge instant messaging isolation uses Remote Browser Isolation (RBI) to protect against threats transmitted through chats. All web client content is opened in a virtual browser located in an isolated container in the cloud. Only secure render data is sent to the browser-based client on the user’s device, where users chat as they usually do. Any malware or ransomware stays in the isolated container, away from endpoints and networks, and is destroyed when the user stops chatting. Files sent through the instant messaging client are opened in isolation and cleaned of any malicious content before being sent to the endpoint.
ZTEdge instant messaging isolation is included in ZTEdgeMT, Ericom Software’s complete Zero Trust SASE platform for midsize and small businesses.
Instant messaging is a valuable tool. Taking the right safeguards can enable your users to use it productively, while preventing the spread of cyber threats.
*** This is a Syndicated Security Bloggers Network blog by Ericom Blog written by MENDY NEWMAN. Read the original post on: https://blog.ericom.com/instant-messaging-could-take-down-your-network/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=instant-messaging-could-take-down-your-network