Safend strengthens mobile security product

Data encryption, network bridging management and key logger protection added

Safend has made three improvements to its software for securing mobile and PC clients and their peripherals.

Safend Protector is a client/server application for setting and enforcing security policies on the use of USB and CD-ROM drives and other removable storage media on laptops and other devices. Version 3.1 announced this week, adds data encryption, prevents the client from connecting to wired and wireless networks at the same time, and disables PS/2-based hardware keyloggers.

Network administrators are devoting more efforts to secure laptops and other mobile computers, which run outside the traditional protections of a corporate office. Safend is one of a growing number of software vendors tackling various parts of this problem. Rivals include Centennial Software and Credant Technologies.

For the first time, Safend Protector can now encrypt data moved from an enterprise computer to a removable storage device, such as a USB driver or CD ROM disk. In the past, the software could only be set up so that users were forced to use specific drives encrypted by some other software product.

The software supports the 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm. Encryption policies are set for a given user or a given machine, but can't encrypt by file type. A program called the Home Decryption Utility can be loaded by authorized enterprise users on their home PCs: the utility lets that PC then access the encrypted data.

Another new feature prevents a laptop, once it plugs into the corporate LAN, from connecting at the same time over other network options: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, dial-up modems, IrDA infrared and 3G cellular networks.

Such a dual connection is called network bridging, which can occur by accident or design, opening a doorway for an attacker. Administrators can configure the Safend Protector client to block any or all of these connections when the Ethernet link is operational.

According to Safend, the new version is the only tool that can disable PS/2 key loggers, which are small, innocent-looking, inline hardware devices that are installed via a PS/2 connector cable between a PC and it's keyboard. As the name suggests, the key logger records the key strokes, which then are used to determine username/password combinations.

The previous version of Protector could detect USB-based keyloggers.

Safend Protector 3.1 starts at US$32 per client device with a minimum of 25 devices. At larger volumes, the price can drop to US$13 per device.

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