Start-up SecureLogix Corp. is developing what it calls a "firewall for phone lines" that can monitor traffic through a private-branch exchange and prevent unauthorized use, such as using a voice line for fax purposes.
The product, called TeleWall, logs all calls and can determine the specific call type, something that traditional PBXs cannot do. Scheduled to ship by year-end, TeleWall will block unauthorized usage and alert network managers, who can set limits on the source, destination, time and duration of calls.
"You can implement an enforcement capability," says SecureLogix President Lee Sutterfield, one of the four founders of the San Antonio, Texas company. Co-founders include Rick Jordan, chief financial officer, Todd Beebe, chief information officer and Craig Heilman, chief operating officer. Sutterfield and Jordan enjoyed success as the founders of security firm WheelGroup, which built the intrusion-detection product NetRanger.
Cisco bought WheelGroup about a year ago for US$124 million and is incorporating intrusion-detection capabilities into its routers and switches.
TeleWall is also expected to provide log reports that will help companies reconcile their phone use with phone billing statements.
Bob Gabriel, senior telecommunications engineer at Cornell University, says TeleWall will be handy in managing PBX usage.
Gabriel points out that, while PBXs cannot monitor for content, they can block access to specific phone numbers. Some universities, for example, use that feature to block access to adult chat lines, but Cornell does not impose any line restrictions.
SecureLogix has yet to announce a price for TeleWall, which is the company's second product.
The first is a scanner called TeleSweep Secure that locates unauthorized modems or unaccounted-for phone lines within a large enterprise.
TeleSweep, which shipped last week, is an $18,000 security tool that comes bundled as a rack-mountable PC loaded with a remote-dialer application and four modems. In the phone room of a corporate office, it can conduct a security configuration audit of remote access servers and sweep phone numbers on a regular basis to see whether lines are being used for phone, fax or data. The tool can spot unaccounted-for lines that were presumed to be inactive.
In security circles, it's well-known that the existence of unauthorized modems, in particular, often provides an entry point for hackers.
The TeleSweep dialer sends the results of its investigation encrypted over the Internet to a central console, which can compile reports from multiple TeleSweep dialers.
Even as start-ups are widening the security-tools market, the computer industry's established giants are also eyeing this terrain. And sometimes they buy security start-ups to get a foothold.
Such is the case with Hewlett-Packard's network systems test division, which this week will announce its first security product: a systems scanner called SFProtect.
HP didn't develop SFProtect in-house. Earlier this month, for an undisclosed price, HP bought security start-up Security Force Software, which was developing the system-security scanner.
The product runs on a PC and looks for holes in Windows NT 4.0, Microsoft's Internet Information Server and SQL Server 6.5 through host-based agents that can be remotely managed. SFProtect performs myriad tasks, including ensuring that passwords meet policy guidelines and reporting failed logons after business hours.
"It audits the system's security by comparing the configuration against the policy put forward by the systems administrator," says Joe Koon, the security business team manager in HP's network systems test division.
SFProtect will cost $995 per server when it ships this week. Koon says HP will be marketing several other security tools along these lines in the next few months.
It's easy to see why HP is eager to jump into the security business. According to a report released this month by International Data Corp., the intrusion-detection market, which includes systems scanning, should grow from about $136.5 million in 1998 to $977.9 million by 2003.