Top Layer releases Attack Mitigator appliance

Continuing its strategy of releasing use-specific appliances, Top Layer Networks Monday announced the general availability of its dedicated tool to fight denial of service attacks, the Attack Mitigator, which was announced in November 2001.

The Attack Mitigator is a 2U high (approximately 9 cm or about 3.5 inches) rack-mountable appliance that sits on a corporate network between the firewall and the router, according to Bob Bradley, senior director, product line management at Top Layer. The Attack Mitigator is the second of Westborough, Massachusetts-based Top Layer's dedicated appliances, following on the IDS Load Balancer, released in November. The company's first product was an all-in-one device, the AppSwitch.

The Attack Mitigator is designed to protect networks from denial of service (DoS) attacks and distributed denial of service attacks, and ships preconfigured to block fifteen of the most common such attacks, Bradley said. The device is designed to block attacks through a combination of packet filters, connection counters and threat-assessment technology.

In addition to stopping DoS attacks, the Attack Mitigator also offers connection limiting and rate limiting features, to allow administrators to block or manage the bandwidth allocated to specific connections, protocols, applications or port, he said.

The box's management console is modelled on Windows Explorer with an eye towards making it easy for nonexpert users to operate, Bradley said. The Attack Mitigator also ships with a function-limited copy of Top Layer's SecureWatch software that allows users to generate reports based on data gathered through using the box, he said. Though the Attack Mitigator management software does not offer extensive alert capabilities, events recorded by the system can be passed into syslogd and Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.'s management console, he added.

The box comes in two versions, sporting eight 10/100 Fast Ethernet ports or eight gigabit Ethernet port, Bradley said.

One beta tester of the box, Steve Doolittle, was pleased with its functionality. Doolittle, county administrator for McCracken County, Kentucky, has had the box installed at his 500-node network since January and said that the Attack Mitigator has aided his two-person IT staff, who are not experts in anti-DoS techniques.

Doolittle had considered purchasing a managed intrusion detection service, but said he no longer feels that to be necessary with the device. The Attack Mitigator offers expert, easy-to-understand classifications of attacks and withstood all the attacks he and his staff ran against it, he said.

Doolittle intends to buy the Attack Mitigator, saying, a purchase is "kind of in the no-brainer category."

The Attack Mitigator is immediately available worldwide at a starting cost of US$8,995.

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