McAfee.com boosts firewall service with IDS

McAfee.com Corp.'s Personal Firewall service will soon offer intrusion-detection capabilities and, in the Pro edition, a new traceroute feature, the company announced here at Comdex Monday.

In addition to standard firewall features such as port blocking, McAfee.com Personal Firewall 3.0 notifies users when an attack on their firewall is under way and allows them to view information generated from that attack in detail, said Atri Chatterjee, vice president of marketing at McAfee.com, the online services division of Network Associates Inc. The Pro version of the service also includes McAfee VisualTrace, a traceroute application with a graphical interface that gives users the ability to trace the computer addresses of attackers, he said.

The McAfee.com Personal Firewall is targeted at consumers and small and medium-size businesses and will be available in about 45 days, according to Chatterjee. The service will cost US$29.95 per year for the entry-level version or $39.95 for the Pro edition that includes VisualTrace.

Also new in version 3.0 is integration with HackerWatch.org, a McAfee.com-owned Web site that collects data on hacker activity worldwide. Though the integration will not be fully active until the first quarter of 2002, users will eventually be able to agree to have the data from their firewall sent to the site for collation and analysis, Chatterjee said. This data will allow McAfee.com to study attack trends and trouble spots and provide that information in real time to its users, he said. Some data on the site will be available to the public at large, though more in-depth data will be offered to subscribers, he said.

McAfee.com "has a vision of this (service) evolving into an immune system" that will enable security to be proactive, said Joe Pantuso, director of engineering at the company.

Though the newly released Windows XP offers a built-in firewall to users, Chatterjee and Pantuso are not concerned. Chatterjee called XP's firewall "the NotePad of firewalls," while Pantuso said that it is "the absolute minimum of firewalls."

The first quarter of 2002 will see a series of important new releases for McAfee.com, Chatterjee said, including an update to the company's privacy service and a transition of its offerings to Microsoft Corp.'s .Net Web services infrastructure. The company is also looking to new services, which may include identity management and services that move off of the desktop and toward the perimeter of the corporate network, he said.

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