Nortel, Symantec team up to secure nets

Nortel Networks and Symantec are joining forces to beef up network security by using Symantec threat discovery technology in combination with Nortel network hardware to block attacks.

The alliance, which the companies describe as a deep-development relationship, should bear fruit next year in the form of software upgrades for Nortel gear and services from Symantec.

The two companies say they have a successful prototype that employs threat information gleaned from millions of customer endpoints and 20,000 sensors in the Internet. This information is pulled down by Nortel Alteon Application Switches, which inspect traffic going through them for signatures of attacks Symantec has identified. When they discover malicious traffic, the switches can turn off sessions or flows that contain the threat.

Nortel says over time it will integrate more of its hardware into this security model. A Nortel spokesman says there will be a management layer built on existing Nortel management platforms to handle these new capabilities.

The companies say they will announce specific products stemming from this alliance early next year. They would not say whether customers will have to deal with one company or both, but they would try to make it as easy as possible for customers to buy.

Nortel and Symantec say they have been collaborating on this security project for more than a year. They have cooperated before -- to enable Nortel's Tunnel Guard software to determine whether PCs trying to connect to VPNs have the correct version of Symantec anti-virus software, for instance.

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