Whitelisting Explained


Whitelisting is an effective cybersecurity measure that restricts only approved applications, remote destinations and IP addresses from accessing servers and endpoints. Although this requires more active involvement from security teams, whitelisting provides effective protection from malware attacks as well as unknown threats.

However, the whitelisting method isn’t foolproof and an improperly managed whitelist may halt critical processes and create an overwhelming support ticket backlog for IT staff.

What is Whitelisting?

Whitelisting is a strategy used by IT administrators to quickly and easily protect computers against cyberattacks by authorizing certain emails, IP addresses, domain names and applications while disapproving all others. Whitelisting provides IT administrators with an efficient means of helping protect them against potential threats.

Application whitelisting should not be seen as a security panacea; rather, it forms part of an overall defense landscape. Aside from antimalware and endpoint protection tools, organizations should also implement perimeter defense systems in order to detect anything application whitelisting may miss.

Influencer whitelisting allows both brands and influencers to work together on paid social ads on Facebook and Instagram. This allows brands to reach like-minded audiences while giving influencers the chance to connect with new, engaged audiences while building trust between themselves and them. Furthermore, creator licensing provides both parties with opportunities for testing campaigns they run – making creator licensing a win-win situation! For successful influencer whitelisting agreements between all parties involved; contracts should clearly outline access levels, durations, frequencies payments as well as editing rights.

What is Blacklisting?

Blacklisting, on the other hand, involves blocking devices, applications and remote destinations from accessing networks. Although this requires additional effort from security teams and administrators, this approach can result in enhanced levels of network security.

Companies can protect themselves from malware or phishing scams by creating a list of reliable applications, which automatically gain network access permissions; any others must first earn trust from management and show they are safe for use before being granted network access permissions. In this way, malicious threats will have more difficulty getting through.

Whitelisting also facilitates monitoring and auditing employee devices and software – an essential step towards cybersecurity, since human error is the leading cause of cyber breaches.

Blacklisting is illegal in most states as it interferes with an employee’s ability to work. If you believe you have been blacklisted, it is crucial that you consult an employment lawyer immediately.

Whitelist vs. blacklist

Whitelisting can be an effective way to protect your system against malware and other threats by only permitting access to services deemed safe. Think of it like having an electric fence around your property to deter intruders or an email filter which ensures emails from family and friends don’t automatically become spam.

Maintaining an exhaustive list of safe applications and services can be challenging, but as software updates arrive and new tools become available, your team may need to make exceptions from time to time.

Blacklisting is often employed alongside whitelisting as a secondary security measure, providing your security with another level of defense against new threats as they emerge and then block them with automatic updates. Or you could try taking an alternate approach: using your whitelists primarily, shutting down microservices when they break or exceed certain parameters.

How to Implement Whitelists?

Whitelists reduce the likelihood of malware and ransomware entering company networks, by only permitting administrator-approved programs access. They also help prevent unapproved apps from spreading and thus helping protect against cyber attacks.

However, hackers can still bypass whitelists with clever use of naming conventions or by placing malicious code in trusted locations, so it is critical that each potential attack method be thoroughly assessed. Furthermore, whitelists must be regularly updated in order to prevent future infiltration attempts into an organization.

Step one in creating application whitelists is identifying which programs and software are essential to your business operations, which will allow you to prioritize which applications to include on the whitelist while preventing security risks. From there, either make an authentic list from scratch or copy one already devoid of non-essential programs as a model for other lists.

Some companies also opt to expedite the approval process by creating dynamic whitelists, which allow administrators to fast-track programs known to be safe more quickly. Others choose an application whitelist based on publisher identity, assuming that programs from reliable developers tend to be safe.

IP Whitelist

IP Whitelisting allows a business to grant access to specific devices and addresses, ensuring only trusted users can utilize its software and tools. This increases security while positively impacting automated security measures as well as making blocking potential threats simpler.

An IT team could allow remote employees to utilize SaaS applications or email systems by adding these apps and programs to a list of “whitelisted” applications and programs, preventing malicious code from infiltrating IT systems or data storage environments.

However, this approach has some drawbacks; for instance, companies would need to manually add all employee IP addresses manually onto a list, an ongoing and laborious task. Additionally, frequent address changes can make it challenging for employees to work productively from either their home or work location, requiring companies to abandon IP whitelisting in favor of more long-term and sustainable solutions for their remote workforces. GoodAccess business VPN employs a unique security model that automatically maintains and updates a centralized multifactor authentication (MFA) list across all applications on its network without requiring manual configuration of each individual device or app.

Email Whitelist

Email whitelisting occurs when subscribers add a specific sender to their approved list, so their emails don’t end up in their spam folder automatically. Email marketers should encourage subscribers to whitelist them in welcome emails, upgrade emails and promotional campaigns in order to keep their messages at the top of their inbox and avoid being sent into their spam folders.

If you receive emails from brands you enjoy from Gmail, adding them to your safe senders list lets Gmail know that they should appear in your inbox without becoming spam. This tells Gmail you want their messages there rather than spamming the system with them.

To do so, open up an email you have received and click on the icon labelled “Add to VIPs/Safe Senders”. This will add them to your list and ensure their future emails reach their inbox – taking this simple step can make all the difference in engagement metrics and email conversion rates.

Application Whitelist

Application whitelisting allows administrators to restrict which programs users can run on a computer, providing an effective cybersecurity measure and helping lower help desk costs by eliminating the likelihood of users installing software that interferes with an approved program and leads to system failure or slowdowns.

However, application whitelisting must not be seen as a security panacea and should be implemented alongside other measures. While application whitelisting might stop some malware that has been released into the wild, malicious actors could still change file names to bypass its effectiveness.

Therefore, it is crucial that applications be classified using multiple attributes and used together for an in-depth system. One such attribute could include file size; however, hackers could potentially resize files and introduce malware that replicates original file names in order to bypass protection systems. Therefore, it may be more prudent to combine file path verification and cryptographic hash verification verification instead.

Benefits of Whitelisting

Whitelisting can help reduce help desk costs by preventing users from installing software that could interfere with other applications on a host system. Furthermore, it allows IT staff to control which versions of approved applications users can run, making it simpler and more secure updates are allowed onto user systems.

Application whitelisting also offers another advantage: providing visibility into which applications and processes are running on every endpoint or server. This information can prove particularly valuable for forensic investigation of unknown or unapproved software programs.

Influencer whitelisting can bring mutual benefits for brands and influencers. Brands can reach more targeted audiences with social media ads, while influencers gain increased exposure among their followers and deeper engagement with their content. It should be noted, however, that whitelisting should only ever be combined with additional security measures like anti-malware/ransomware/endpoint protection to provide adequate cyber defenses against current cyber threats. Furthermore, updating and maintaining a whitelist as needed to stay secure from new cyber threats should always be performed.

Sam is an experienced information security specialist who works with enterprises to mature and improve their enterprise security programs. Previously, he worked as a security news reporter.