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      • Symantec Employees Provide 6,000 Hours and $41,000 to Causes in Need

        Oct 27 2017, 6:07 PM

        by Tess Hetzel 0

        Photo: @LRBed Blood donation event in Waterloo, Canada 

        At Symantec, the activism, advocacy, and passion of employees on the ground is what transforms our corporate responsibility strategy into tangible, real-world results. We’re committed to building a culture that enables employees to apply their time and talents to the issues they care most deeply about, and offer programs to maximize volunteer and philanthropic efforts.

        These include our Matching Gift; Dollars for Doers; Nonprofit Board Service; Symantec Service Time Programs, which provides employees with up to five paid working days for volunteering, and Global Service Week, a full week of service during which employees are encouraged to commit to at least 30 minutes (and up to eight hours) of community service with a charitable project of their choice.

        Starting October 9, 1,500 employees across the globe donated their time and talents to make Symantec’s second annual Global Service week a smashing success. With more than 70 events in 11 countries resulting in 6,280 hours with nonprofits and charities—we achieved a 57 percent increase from 2016 efforts. From Saudi Arabia to Reading, Johannesburg to Warsaw, Sydney to Tempe, employees worked together to make a difference in their communities. Global Service Week is one of the many ways we empower employees to help us meet our goal of reaching an average of four volunteer hours per employee by 2020.

        In addition to the hours spent playing games with kids at the Boys and Girls Club, teaching seniors about technology, building solar lights for those in energy poverty, participating in blood drives, donating and sorting clothing for low-income women starting their careers, and serving meals to the homeless, nonprofit recipients also received $41,420 through Symantec’s Dollars For Doers program, which provides a cash grant of $15 USD for every hour of volunteer service up to $1,000 per year per employee.

        Symantec employees chose projects and causes that spanned several different focus areas: 31 percent volunteered with an environmental cause, 19 percent volunteered with a cause that helps women, minorities and low-income populations, and 14 percent volunteered with a cause focused on STEM and equal access.

        Six Symantec sites, our Dublin, Dubai, Johannesburg, Reading UK, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore offices, built solar powered light bulbs in partnership with Solar Buddy. (Cape Town will be doing this next week) The light bulbs are on their way to Papua New Guinea (PNG) where only 10 percent of PNG residents are connected to the electricity grid, leaving seven million people forced to rely on dangerous kerosene, campfires, and expensive battery operated torches. Thanks to the volunteer support of Symantec employees these solar light bulbs will help give children and families living in energy poverty, access. Children will be able to do homework after dark, parents can continue to work on their small business, and women and girls can walk around their villages safely.

        Photo: @Jdeuria Puppy Cuddling in Sydney, Australia

        The majority of employees chose a hands-on project, like Mohsin Najmuddin in Pakistan, who planted fruit trees at a charity school named "Hilal Public School" located in a remote area far from Karachi and provided lunch for the students. “It was a great experience. We taught the benefits of tree plantation to the students and asked them to own those trees and to look after them. We also did a general knowledge question answer session with the students and distributed gifts among them,” Mohsin said.

         Photo: @LouiseRHanlon Solar Buddy event in Singapore

        For June Lee in Singapore, Global Service Week was the first time she heard of Beyond Charity, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children and youths from less privileged backgrounds break away from the poverty cycle. June helped deliver food to families in need and through the process she learned how much the charity did for the community. June had always wanted to volunteer but wasn’t sure where to spend her time or how to get involved. With Symantec’s support and through GSW she found the process to join simple. “I wanted to volunteer, but didn't know where and how. Global Service Week provides the opportunity to reach out to people and now I’m more aware that there are still many people who really need our help,” she said.

        Jeff Reitzes who volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity (HfH) ReStore in Concord, California, also chose a hands-on project. ReStore is a store that sells donated building materials, furniture, appliances, beds, mattresses and other household items, with the proceeds going to fund HfH projects. Jeff put together furniture for display, moved items from the trucks to the warehouse and the store, took sold items to customers' cars and did lots of other odd jobs. Of the experience he said, “I had a great time and worked with a lot nice people. It was VERY nice for Symantec to let me take the day off of work to do this volunteer work. I will definitely do it again outside of Global Service Week.” 

        In the United States, four Symantec offices partnered with Together We Rise, a non-profit that supports children in foster care. One of the organization’s main programs, Build a Bike, provides free bicycles to make the foster care transition a little easier. Symantec employees in Boxborough, Mountain View and San Francisco built bicycles for young foster children to experience the simple joys of childhood, and for foster teens to help get them to jobs and classes. The Washington, D.C. office also worked with Together We Rise, providing Sweet Cases to foster children – new duffel bags filled with essentials like a teddy bear, blanket, hygiene kit and more.

        Photo: @NatalieBlackwel Giving the gift of light in Dublin

        We’d like to congratulate our event organizer winners who each won a $500 award for their efforts: Amber Tarin, who brought a team to the Utah Food Bank, and Benjamin Cook, who organized a blood drive in Melbourne, Australia. Our Twitter Photo Contest winners this year are Charlie Cam, Maqbool Khan, Ajay Kumar, Saad Sheikh, and Nina Singhal, and we’d like to thank all of the employees who shared their experiences with us on Twitter.

        Global Service Week was a fantastic opportunity for employees around the world to come together with old friends and new, to volunteer with a cause they care deeply about. We thank all of our organizers, executives, and employees for their efforts this year and are proud of the tremendous impact made in communities across the globe. 

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      • A Safe and Secure Shelter

        Oct 13 2017, 1:21 AM

        by Tess Hetzel 0

        Product donation is Symantec’s largest mechanism to support the nonprofit community and help nonprofits fulfill their missions. In partnership with TechSoup, each year we provide cybersecurity solutions to more than 25,000 organizations across 55 countries worldwide, allowing them to secure their most important data wherever it lives. Since launching the software donation program in 2002, Symantec has helped more than 93,000 nonprofits solve today’s biggest security challenges and protect against the ever-evolving threat landscape.

        Founded in 1976, Citizens Against Physical and Sexual Abuse (CAPSA), works to provide safe, caring, and confidential shelter, advocacy, and support for victims of physical and emotional domestic violence and sexual assault; and to reduce incidents of abuse through prevention education. Serving a small community in Northern Utah, the organization is up against significant odds—nationally one in four women, and one in seven men, will experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

        CAPSA is an organization that continually has more needs than resources in trying to help those suffering from abuse. Even with limited resources and funding, the nonprofit is able to provide advocacy, counseling, safety planning, and both temporary and long-term shelter for almost 1,000 people each year. The group also educates thousands of youth a year, channeling tens of thousands of volunteer hours towards this cause.

        Above: CAPSA owned housing, built by volunteers and clients, which help keep clients safe as they begin the process of rebuilding their lives.

        Data security is critical for CASPA

        With this type of work, CAPSA has some demanding computer, network, and information system challenges and needs. According to James Boyd, CAPSA’s Development Director, “The feeling of safety and security is something we’re trying to provide our clients. We’re dealing with people who sometimes come in afraid for their lives, afraid someone will find out their location. In fact, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention put out a study that indicates when someone leaves an abusive relationship, the chances of being killed increases significantly. We have a safe and secure shelter, we teach people safety planning, and as an organization, we need to know our data is secure. Maintaining the security and safety of our confidential and sensitive data is a big part of what we need, and a big part of what we need to be able to provide our clients.”

        James went on to describe how a data security breach would affect the grants that sustain the organization financially. “If our data was breached, I’m confident that most, if not all, of our grants would pull out. That would mean immediately losing services for clients—thousands of people each year wouldn’t get support or services they need,” he said.

        CAPSA began using Symantec's Endpoint Protection (SEP) for small businesses a couple of years ago after experiencing considerable downtime as workstations became compromised. Due to limited funds, in the past they used free or trial versions of anti-virus software, and were continually hit with malware attacks. Their email accounts were hacked, sending out private information and spam emails, negatively affecting their reputation, and more importantly, putting lives in danger.

        Their part-time information systems manager David Sullivan spent multiple days after each attack reinstalling a clean version of the operating system and software. This tedious and time-consuming process also left employees without their computers for several days. David then started looking for a solution that would protect their confidential information, keep the organization running smoothly, and could be both deployed and maintained easily.

        David chose SEP, through Symantec’s software donation partnership with TechSoup. “Symantec’s Endpoint Protection has done a superb job of keeping our sensitive and confidential information safe, preventing malware and other issues that cause down time in our computers and systems. The ease in which I was able to deploy SEP, and the way it can be centrally managed through an online portal has been wonderful. It has helped our staff stay focused on the individuals and families they support, and has helped me focus on providing the information systems improvements that help them best do their jobs.”

        Saving lives one-by-one

        James also estimates that through SEP, each year the organization saves $1,000—which directly equals sheltering one more individual per year. That one person is someone like the young mother who walked through the snow and slush barefooted with her two children last winter to escape abuse. “Luckily she ran into a stranger who knew about us and was able to get her to CAPSA. We helped her work to overcome barriers that often times cause people to go back to violent situations. We helped her get a job, helped her get housing, and gave her and her older child therapy. She’s now living in a CAPSA-owned house and she’s doing well. To see that whole cycle is amazing,” says James.

        Domestic violence happens more than we realize: according to CAPSA half of all homicides in the U.S. are domestic violence related. In Utah, CAPSA relies on Symantec to keep their systems and their clients’ information secure, while the organization and its volunteers work tirelessly on their mission of providing safe, caring, and confidential shelter for victims of abuse, ultimately saving people’s lives.

        Learn more about some of the many nonprofits utilizing Symantec products through Symantec’s partnership with TechSoup:

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      • How does SSL work? What is an SSL handshake?

        Sep 15 2014, 10:24 AM

        by Robert Lin 0

        A special request was made today: "How does SSL work? What is an SSL handshake?"

        Here are some quick info.

        SSL/TLS are protocols used for encrypting information between two points. It is usually between server and client, but there are times when server to server and client to client encryption are needed. For the purpose of this blog, I will focus only on the negotiation between server and client.

        For SSL/TLS negotiation to take place, the system administrator must prepare the minimum of 2 files: Private Key and Certificate. When requesting from a Certificate Authority such as Symantec Trust Services, an additional file must be created. This file is called Certificate Signing Request, generated from the Private Key. The process for generating the files are dependent on the software that will be using the files for encryption.

        For a list of the server softwares Symantec has, have a look at: Symantec CSR Generation

        Note that although certifcates requested from Certificate Authorities such as Symantec are inherently trusted by most clients, additional certificates called Intermediate Certificate Authority Certificates and Certificate Authority Root Certificates may need to be installed on the server. This is again server software dependent. There is usually no need to install the Intermediate and Root CA files on the client applications or browsers.

        Once the files are ready and correctly installed, just start the SSL/TLS negotiation by using the secured protocol.  On browser applications it is usually https://www.yourwebsite.com.

        Remember to use your secured website address. Above is just a sample address.

        That will start the SSL/TLS negotiation:

        Keys and Secrets during RSA SSL negotiation

        The following is a standard SSL handshake when RSA key exchange algorithm is used:

        1. Client Hello
          - Information that the server needs to communicate with the client using SSL.
          - Including SSL version number, cipher settings, session-specific data.
           
        2. Server Hello
          - Information that the client needs to communicate with the server using SSL.
          - Including SSL version number, cipher settings, session-specific data.
          - Including Server’s Certificate (Public Key)
           
        3. Authentication and Pre-Master Secret
          - Client authenticates the server certificate. (e.g. Common Name / Date / Issuer)
          - Client (depending on the cipher) creates the pre-master secret for the session,
          - Encrypts with the server's public key and sends the encrypted pre-master secret to the server.
           
        4. Decryption and Master Secret
          - Server uses its private key to decrypt the pre-master secret,
          - Both Server and Client perform steps to generate the master secret with the agreed cipher.
           
        5. Generate Session Keys
          - Both the client and the server use the master secret to generate the session keys,  which are symmetric keys used to encrypt and decrypt information exchanged during the SSL session
           
        6. Encryption with Session Key
          - Both client and server exchange messages to inform that future messages will be encrypted.

        (Wikipedia: Transport Layer Security)

        Tools such as OpenSSL can be used check the SSL/TLS negotiations:

        OpenSSL s_client -connect www.symantec.com:443 -state -ssl3
        Loading 'screen' into random state - done
        CONNECTED(000001C0)
        SSL_connect:before/connect initialization
        SSL_connect:SSLv3 write client hello A
        SSL_connect:SSLv3 read server hello A
        depth=2 C = US, O = "VeriSign, Inc.", OU = VeriSign Trust Network, OU = "(c) 2006 VeriSign, Inc. - For authorized use only", CN = VeriSign Class 3 Public Primary Certification Authority - G5

        SSL_connect:SSLv3 read server certificate A
        SSL_connect:SSLv3 read server done A
        SSL_connect:SSLv3 write client key exchange A
        SSL_connect:SSLv3 write change cipher spec A
        SSL_connect:SSLv3 write finished A
        SSL_connect:SSLv3 flush data
        SSL_connect:SSLv3 read finished A
        ---
        Certificate chain
         0 s:/1.3.6.1.4.1.311.60.2.1.3=US/1.3.6.1.4.1.311.60.2.1.2=Delaware/businessCategory=Private Organization/serialNumber=2158113/C=US/postalCode=94043/ST=California/L=Mountain View/street=350 Ellis Street/O=Symantec Corporation/OU=Corp Mktg & Comms - Online Exp/CN=www.symantec.com

        There it is. SSL and SSL Negotiation summarized. Mission complete.

        Now! Do Not Forget To Back Up Your Private Key and Certificate in a Secure place in case of system issues!

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