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Three government security challenges solved with data diodes

Three government security challenges solved with data diodes

As government authorities are becoming more vulnerable to various types of cyberattacks, it is crucial to prioritize cybersecurity and implement systematic measures to protect against these threats. An important aspect of cybersecurity is selecting the appropriate solutions, such as data diodes, which are designed to withstand attacks and provide a high level of security for sensitive information. By utilizing data diodes, government authorities can effectively address a range of IT security issues and ensure the protection of data security.

The data Diode
A data diode is a cybersecurity solution that utilizes one-way-communication to exchange information. This hardware product provides high assurance in maintaining the integrity of networks by preventing intrusions, while also protecting sensitive information through maintaining network confidentiality. Data diodes are an important part of any comprehensive cybersecurity strategy.

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Data diode or Firewall?
When it comes to protecting sensitive or classified information from leakage or manipulation, one common solution is to completely disconnect it from other networks. However, there may be times when data needs to be transferred to or from the protected network. In these cases, a firewall may not be sufficient for improving cybersecurity. While a firewall can help protect the network by only allowing certain traffic through, a high assurance supplement in the form of a Cross Domain Solution (CDS) may also be necessary. A CDS, like a data diode, helps to maintain secure information exchange between domains with different security or protection needs. Data diodes, specifically, are a type of CDS that facilitate communication, sharing, or movement of information between domains while also applying validation, transformation, or filtering to the exchange.

Secure File Transfer
One use of data diodes for government authorities is secure file transfer. When transferring important information from a high-security system to a lower-security administrative office network, there is a risk of security breaches. However, by using a data diode to send the data from the high-security network to the lower-security network, the information can be transmitted safely while maintaining the integrity of the high-security network. The data diode ensures that no one can use the same connection to access the sensitive network and potentially manipulate it while also protecting the sending domain.

Learn more about the functions of data diodes here.

Using data diodes for traceability and logging in security-sensitive operations
Centralized log collection in security-sensitive systems can increase the risk of attacks. To mitigate these risks, a solution is needed that protects both log information and all connected systems.

Many IT systems generate logs that allow for troubleshooting and traceability. To maximize the usefulness of these logs, it is important to collect logs from as many systems as possible into a central system for storage and analysis.

If you have security-sensitive or zoned systems and want to implement centralized log collection, you must consider the inherent goal conflict. Logging benefits from having a common system for all zones/subsystems, but a common system increases the risk of various types of attack and the risk of information leakage between the supervised systems.

Data diodes can provide powerful protection for centralized log collection. Each zone that delivers log information is protected with a data diode. The data flow is unidirectional towards the log system. This allows for the use of a common log system, regardless of the number of zones that deliver data to it. 

Read more about logging and CDS here.

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Secure Updates
As the use of Windows and/or Linux based systems within ICS/SCADA has grown, the need to update these systems has become more pressing. This is because complex software often contains bugs that need to be fixed in order to maintain system stability and security.

However, if not done properly, the process of updating can itself pose a security risk. The integrity and availability of the systems must be maintained, and most system updates are not adequately evaluated in the environment in which they are used or in combination with the applications that are running.

One way to securely perform updates is by using a data diode to ensure one-way communication. The data diode is connected in such a way that information can be imported into the system, but since no traffic can be transmitted in the opposite direction, information leakage is prevented.

We know the in and outs of data diodes from a cybersecurity point of view. Please do not hesitate to ask us anything.

Book a demo or a meeting here.

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The NIS2 Directive

What is the NIS and NIS2 directive?

About the NIS directive (The Directive on security of network and information systems)
The purpose of the NIS directive is to heighten the security levels for critical infrastructure in the European Union.

link22 and the NIS Directive
The NIS Directive affects each company and organization differently, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to meet the requirements and stay efficient. It can be hard to assess whether or not the NIS Directive affects your company at all. We have helped governments, organizations and companies with challenges like this for 16 years and can be of use in many ways. It can seem complicated to determine what this means for you; what are you obliged to do or not to do? If you are unsure about this we suggest that you book a demo with us where we make an assessment together. Based on your situation we reason together and specify what you need to do to meet the new requirements and most importantly to secure what's valuable in your possession.

What does the term “directive” mean in this context?
It means that it can be incorporated differently in every member state to functionally harmonize with local legislation. In Sweden, the NIS-directive came into force on august the first in 2018 though The information security law.

Why does the NIS directive exist?
The NIS-directive was created to protect european citizens by heightening security around critical infrastructure within the member states. Specifically by improving information security related to critical infrastructure.

Digitalization gave rise to NIS and NIS2
The number of hacker attacks from criminal organizations and nation states has increased significantly. Attacks are more sophisticated and so are the motifs. Hackers are not just in it for money, elections and national security is also at stake. Cyberwar is a fact. There is good reason to prevent and prepare for attacks to keep critical infrastructure intact. The NIS and NIS2 directive is ultimately meant to serve european citizens.

The NIS directive affects certain industries
Energy, health care, transport, finance, water supply and digital infrastructure are considered critical according to the NIS directive. Companies and organizations within these sectors are obligated to secure their information according to the NIS directive.

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The NIS directive in reality
The NIS directive means generally stricter security requirements around information security. Concerned entities must consider people, process and technology when securing information. They need to classify information and systems. These entities must also prepare for the eventualities that an attack may lead to and specify action plans to increase resilience. Continuous knowledge gathering by incident reporting is mandatory with the purpose of always becoming more prepared. Companies and organizations are expected to direct their NIS-related actions towards network and information-systems

To oblige- and benefit by the NIS-directive
The NIS directive is a useful place from which to start making valuable cybersecurity improvements. Best practice in this case may be to first create an overview of the organization as a whole and then extract potential and useful changes in order to improve information security. Some processes are crucial for core functionality, some individuals have access and responsibilities that make them targets for extortion and some parts of the technical infrastructure are more vulnerable than others. This is properly complemented by an external assessment of the external cybersecurity landscape, specifically what kind of attacks that are common and what kind of attacks that may become common in the future. Information transfer between security domains and/or networks are, for example, one of the most exposed and vulnerable situations in cybersecurity today. Implementation of data diodes, countersign and encryption are three actions that will make a significant difference for many organizations in the coming years. Separate domains for different security levels is a good idea that can be implemented when one has specified what information is more important than the other. A clear information hierarchy is necessary to maintain efficiency and security.

The NIS-2 directive to improve the NIS directiveThe NIS directive includes continuous review to ensure incremental improvements and adaptations to meet the change rate of the digital world. This has resulted in NIS 2.

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Identified weaknesses

  • European companies do not have sufficient ability to defend themselves against cyber attacks
  • European companies do not have sufficient ability to stay operational during a cyberattack
  • European companies do not have sufficient ability to return to normal functionality after a cyberattack
  • Some sectors and states are significantly stronger than others, the European digital landscape has obvious weaknesses
  • The cyber threat awareness among EU member states is low
  • There are no common crisis management practices regarding cyberattacks within the EU

Improvements through the NIS 2 Directive
The NIS directive has been extended to further enhance security. Here are some of the most important add ons:

  • New sectors have been added
  • Increased minimum security and reporting requirements
  • Stricter supervisory measures for nation authorities
  • Stricter compliance requirements for nation authorities
  • Administrative fines has been made possible
  • Increased cooperation and increased information sharing between Member States' authorities

The NIS2 Directive affects more entities
NIS2 covers more sectors and more companies and organizations within each sector. The original NIS-directive considers energy, healthcare, transport, finance, water supply and digital infrastructure as critical for a functional society. With NIS2, public administration, pharmaceutical production, critical medicine technology and space has been added to the list.

The NIS2-directive also affects sectors in the periphery of critical infrastructure, these include; waste disposal, chemicals, post service, food, motor vehicles, production of medical machines, computers and electronics, machine equipment and digital suppliers

The majority of affected entities are medium and large enterprises within the above mentioned sectors but some small companies may also be affected depending on their profile.


link22 and the NIS Directive
The NIS Directive affects each company and organization differently, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to meet the requirements and stay efficient. It can be hard to assess whether or not the NIS Directive affects your company at all. We have helped governments, organizations and companies with challenges like this for 16 years and can be of use in many ways. It can seem complicated to determine what this means for you; what are you obliged to do or not to do? If you are unsure about this we suggest that you book a demo with us where we make an assessment together. Based on your situation we reason together and specify what you need to do to meet the new requirements and most importantly to secure what's valuable in your possession.

Click here to book a demo.

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secure access client

New version of Secure Access Client

New version of Secure Access Client

secure access client

It is with joy and excitement we announce Secure Access Client v 1.6.

– This application replaces the ordinary Windows user interface with a kiosk application that shows applications and virtual desktops the user is entitled to. Examples of new features in this edition are more customization for the administrator and an improved user experience, says CTO Andreas Karström at link22.

Read more about Secure Access Client here:
Access Client – link22

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