Hardware and software to stop malicious code

With hacker attacks and spam mail inundating users and networks at an alarming rate, FireTrust, a spam catcher software vendor, will move its MailWasher solution from client to server at the end of the month.

At the same time, Tech Laboratories will offer a hardware solution, DynaTrax, that it calls a digital matrix cross connect switch. The switch fits between network devices, like hubs, switches, and routers, and end-user devices such as desktops and printers and can be used to electronically reroute malicious code.

"DynaTrax allows an any-to-any connection without a tech having to going to the wiring closet to rewire. It is done electronically," said Bernard Ciongoli, president of Tech Laboratories.

Instead of sending traps to the network administrator the DynaTrax solution takes information and sends a trap, a coded script, to DynaTrax which moves a connection electronically.

Once the code is disconnected from the network it reconnects it to a decoy server and then reconnects to the network for a continuous flow of safe data.

Based on system management software, like Hewlett-Packard OpenView or Tivoli, the system can look for false positives and reroute good data back into the network. Once the decoy server has the malicious code it can also track and trace the code back to its source.

"It becomes a back-hacking device," said Ciongoli.

DynaTrax is shipping now and its first customers include Blue Cross/Blue Shield of South Carolina and Florida and the Allied Irish Bank in New York.

Ciongoli also said that with the right spam catcher software DynaTrax could be used to stop the flow of unwanted e-mails as well.

Devoting full time to that chore is another start up, FireTrust.

FireTrust started by offering a free download of its MailWasher Pro software. MailWasher Pro stops spam from reaching desktops by letting users view and delete e-mails while still on the corporate server.

MailWasher Server, which is currently in beta, identifies and filters out spam messages using a number of different approaches.

Statistical content filtering uses lexical analysis to evaluate the probability that a message is spam, evolving as it learns what an organization considers spam.

The system also uses what it calls real-time black hole list servers to check incoming SMTP server IP addresses against Domain Name Server and Real-Time Black Hole Lists.

The software is also connected to a global spam database, FirstAlert, which already claims 16 million verified spam messages in its database.

Janice Yee, a market analyst at Radicati Group said that programs such as MaiWasher that use a multi-tiered approach to filtering spam are best.

"As it goes through the various filters, more and more spam mail gets weeded out. One type of filtering alone won't work," said Yee.

MailWasher Server will be available at the end of June. Pricing will be announced at that time. MailWasher Pro is available to single users as a free download and for multiple installations at US$37 per install.

Tech Laboratories DynaTrax is shipping now. A 108-port by 108-port basic device with software starts at US$15,000.

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More about Blue Cross/Blue ShieldHewlett-Packard AustraliaRadicati GroupTivoli

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