What Is Whitelisting and How It Works?
Whitelisting restricts users’ activity on their computers due to restrictions put in place by the administrator. This is an effective cybersecurity strategy that focuses on approving applications that can be accessed on a computer or mobile devices, rather than identify and block malicious code. Simply put, users are given limited functionality, including what they can access, as deemed appropriate by the administrator.
Whitelisting may be considered too extreme a measure to prevent cyber threats, but its effectiveness cannot be denied. To learn more about whitelisting, how it works, and more, read on.
Whitelisting vs. Blacklisting
A lot of people tend to confuse whitelisting and blacklisting to be the same, but they are entirely different.
Blacklisting involves blocking things that may prove to be dangerous to a computer or mobile device. For instance, anti-malware and anti-virus programs serve as blacklists that jump into action when a computer or mobile device needs to be protected. A major problem with blacklists is that they need to be updated constantly.
On the flip side, a whitelist is the complete opposite of a blacklist. Here, everything is blocked except for what is considered safe. This may seem like a great idea since it protects against emerging malicious code, but it does have its drawbacks. Users are restricted to use their machines to their fullest potential, and a lot of effort goes into developing a whitelist.
Benefits of Whitelisting
Apart from granting access to safe applications, websites, etc. what other benefits does whitelisting have to offer? Whitelisting has a couple of other benefits, which should it make it worth considering for those individuals and businesses that want to prevent hacking attempts, data theft, and so on. Those other whitelisting benefits are as follows:
- Software Inventory
Applications will only be whitelisted if they are completely transparent. This kind of transparency makes it easier for administrators to create a software inventory. They will have records of applications and their different versions installed on every system. With this kind of information, security teams will find it easier to detect unauthorized applications and incorrect versions of software on systems. Additionally, this information will also come in handy in forensics when modified, unauthorized, and unknown applications have to be investigated.
Other benefits of software inventory include efficient resource allocation, budgeting, and accounting. For instance, if you have 50 copies of a program, but only 10 are in use, the remainder can be removed from the equation to cut down on costs.
- File Monitoring
There are a ton of whitelisting solutions out there, and most of them allow you to monitor any and all changes made to applications and their files. Whitelisting solutions have different capabilities, but some could flag changes and even prevent them from taking place automatically. This allows security teams to stay up-to-date about malicious or suspicious activity, and thus allow them to optimize their security policies and update their whitelists if the need arises.
- Incident Response
Whitelists could prevent the spread of malware in organizations. When a breach occurs and malicious files are discovered, whitelisting applications could check other computers and devices to determine if they have been compromised or not. Once infected devices have been identified, malicious files can be removed from the network.
Best Whitelisting Software
As mentioned earlier, there are numerous whitelisting software options out there, but not all of them are great. This makes it important for you to stick to the best whitelisting software. To find the best whitelisting software, here are a couple of tips worth considering:
- Get a whitelisting software that has an excellent reputation. Check reviews to know what you are getting yourself into.
- Get whitelisting software that is compatible with your devices.
- Avoid using free whitelisting software. If the whitelisting software provider is not charging you, they are definitely misusing your information or selling them to third parties.
If you are looking for top-notch whitelisting applications, then feel free to check out the following options:
- Dell Authority Management Suite
- Kaspersky Whitelist
Note: Please keep in mind, it is advisable you thoroughly investigate each of the aforementioned whitelisting software before you commit to one.
Whitelist a Program on Windows 10
If you do not want to commit to certain whitelisting software, you do have the option to whitelist programs using Windows Firewall on Windows 10. To manage the whitelist on Windows 10, follow these instructions:
- Click Start
- Type Firewall
- Click Windows Firewall > Allow an App or Feature through Windows Firewall
- Click Change Settings
- Now, tick or untick the box next to the item you want to allow or block entirely. Make sure the Public and Private columns are ticked on the right.
Whitelist a Program on Mac
You will be pleased to know that you can whitelist programs on Mac in a couple of steps, just like Windows 10. All you need to do is to use the Allowed Apps settings located in the Parental Controls System Preferences Control Panel. Here, you can whitelist apps as per your needs and requirements.
Whitelisting IP Addresses and Emails
You may be wondering if you could whitelist IP addresses and email as well. You need to understand the same concept of whitelisting applications does not apply to IP addresses and emails. When it comes to IP addresses and emails, the term whitelisting refers to taking steps to ensure certain IP addresses are not blocked, and an email does not land in the spam folder.
If you are concerned about your privacy and security, at home or at work, then you could bolster your security even further by using a VPN for Windows or a VPN for Mac. Once you download VPN for Windows or download VPN for Mac, you will be able to mask your IP address. Since your IP address is masked, it will be next to impossible to be hacked or fall victim to identity theft.
A VPN for Windows and a VPN for Mac also offer countless other features like Military Grade Encryption, IPv6 Leak Protection, Secure DNS, and more. With these features, you will get unparalleled security and anonymity, which is exactly what you need to secure your system at home or several systems at work.
If you want to benefit from a VPN for Windows or Mac, just make sure you stick to a reliable VPN. Ivacy VPN, for instance, offers the best possible online security you can get your hands on. At the same time, you will also be able to get true internet freedom and overcome ISP throttling. Seeing how much Ivacy VPN for Windows and Mac has to offer, there is absolutely no reason you should not give it a try.