Symantec: Blended security threats on the rise

Attacks on corporate computer systems will continue to get more sophisticated, simultaneously targeting several areas of vulnerability in "blended" attacks, according to executives from security vendor Symantec.

"Security threats today are extremely nimble," said Leigh Costin, Asia-Pacific regional product manager for Symantec's enterprise solutions range. "There are toolkits out there now which enable rapid virus development and multifaceted attacks. Security systems often don't have enough integration between firewall, antivirus and intrusion detection."

Costin was speaking at the Asia-Pacific launch of Symantec's Gateway Security appliance, which aims to integrate various security aspects into a single hardware device to be placed at the edge of a company's network. The appliance, which costs from S$21,222 (US$11,562), combines firewall, antivirus, intrusion detection, content filtering and VPN (virtual private network) capability.

A key market for Symantec in Asia-Pacific will be SMEs (small and medium-size enterprises) and branch offices of larger companies.

"There are often a lot of enterprise-class security products at head office, but not at the branch offices," Costin said. "A lot of high-profile attacks on companies have succeeded by attacking their branch offices."

As a single appliance covering all aspects of security, companies can deploy the system without needing a lot of skilled security staff, an important feature for small companies in Asia-Pacific, Costin said.

"SMEs in Asia don't have serious IT skills, and so they can use this appliance rather than trying to cobble together some protection in the separate security areas," he said. "It is targeted at protecting companies from blended threats."

Management of the appliances is carried out through Microsoft Corp.'s Management Console, which can be configured to accept live updates of virus signatures and other security-related information.

The product, which was launched in the U.S. in February, will be available through resellers around Asia-Pacific within the next few weeks, Costin said.

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