IBM, Sun, others showcase security wares

With a record 13,000 attendees at this week's RSA Conference, vendors on the exhibit floor had every reason to pull out all the stops. And so they did, with IBM, Sun Microsystems, Computer Associates International and many more using RSA as their stage to highlight new products and services.

IBM said it is expanding its biometrics offerings to include a USB fingerprint reader for use with any PC to authenticate the user's identity.

IBM is working with German software provider Utimaco Safeware to offer a free license for file and disk encryption software with any IBM PC. In addition, IBM is teaming with Absolute Software, which offers a service for locating stolen or lost PCs through the CompuTrace software that can identify where the PC is by dialing out.

"The CompuTrace retrieval will be built into the BIOS of the new [IBM] T43 ThinkPads," says Clain Anderson, director of wireless security solutions at the IBM Personal Computing Division.

Companies that want the search-and-rescue service would need to sign up with Absolute Software, which promises to pay US$1,000 if it can't find a missing laptop in 30 days.

Sun says it's partnering with both Symantec and MessageGate to add virus and spam protection to its Java Messaging System. Sun also is supporting the S/MIME encryption protocol in its Communications Express Web client for digitally signing and encrypting messages. And in other upgrades, the Sun Java System Messaging Server now supports the NFS protocol, which will enable integration with NFS-based products from Network Appliance for storage security for e-mail.

Shavlik Technologies took the wraps off the fifth version of its patch-management software, adding an e-mail reporting function to a designated security auditor for sending a message out every time a patch assessment is done. "Customers wanted this for reporting as part of the trend in complying with Sarbanes-Oxley," says Shavlik president and CEO Mark Shavlik. "This way, status reports go out automatically."

Shavlik also plans to ship a spyware-detection engine by the end of the first quarter.

Computer Associates used its presence at the RSA Conference to unveil eTrust Identity and Access Management 8.0, identity management software for establishing single sign-on, access and control for network use by employees or trading partners.

Bill Mann, CA's vice president of eTrust Identity Management, said the four-module software suite can be used as separate modules, but they now all share a common interface and support the SAML 2.0 standard. In addition, the provisioning component in version 8.0 has added workflow functions based on business requirements.

Russell Artzt, executive vice president and co-founder of CA, highlighted the function is an on-stage demo as part of his keynote presentation at the RSA Conference. "You need to have your human resources systems integrated with your provisioning systems," Artzt said.

Minneapolis-based New Boundary Technologies Inc., which competes against ConfigureSoft, Pedestal and St. Bernard in configuration-management software, was showing off a new product called Policy Commander during RSA.

The software for desktops and servers is intended to continually monitor and enforce security policy compliance based on templates that cull ideas from the National Security Agency, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team and the SANS Institute. Kim Pearson, president and CEO of New Boundary Technologies, said Policy Commander 1.0 will ship at the end of the quarter at an expected price of US$22 per desktop and US$395 per server.

Though Cisco Systems' announcement of intrusion-prevention systems may have stolen the thunder in IPS this week, Sourcefire wasn't to be left out.

At the RSA Conference, Sourcefire is demonstrating the IS5800 Series of appliances for blocking attacks at up to 5G bit/sec. Pricing for the IS5800 Series begins at US$89,500 and is available for evaluation, with general shipping planned for June.

And though Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Symantec CEO John Thompson may have stolen the spotlight with their keynote presentations related to anti-virus and spyware, McAfee also had new services and products it highlighted with less fanfare at RSA.

Vincent Gullotto, vice president of McAfee's research arm AVERT Labs, said McAfee is now offering daily anti-virus signature updates to protect against viruses not considered high risk because they aren't in the wild, or for other reasons. "We would usually provide these updates weekly because it's a cost to companies to have to be downloading these every day," said Gullatto. But since customers are now requesting to have these lower-risk virus updates every day, McAfee will make them available.

In addition, McAfee is establishing a portal called MyAVERT to stream RSS feeds to any Web site for free, with content, such as reports and news, that duplicates what's available on McAfee's Web site. "We expect to be able to do this by late March, and it will be free to the general public," Gullatto said.

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