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Vendors Tighten Up Security

NetIQ, MessageLabs, and Proofpoint roll out new products, market data at Gartner summit

WASHINGTON -- Gartner IT Security Summit 2007 -- Messaging security and security administration are two key themes this week as vendors roll out new products and data here.

MessageLabs published the results of its latest security research, while Proofpoint and NetIQ unveiled next-generation software. Microsoft demonstrated its Forefront security technology and discussed its new Stirling security management strategy, which was unveiled yesterday. (See Microsoft Unwraps Security Platform.)

In its new report, MessageLabs raised alerts on several new spam exploits detected last month. One of the most serious is the emergence of "spam spikes," in which a single domain is attacked over a short time.

"In one spam spike that lasted only 11 hours, more than 10,000 spam messages were attempted, accounting for more than 75 percent of the total messages received by the domain," MessageLabs reported.

Spammers also are becoming more sophisticated in their use of images, MessageLabs said. "Rather than embedding images in the body of an email message, spammers are now hosting images on sites that do not require registration, and include links to those sites or an HTML image in the email message," the report states.

Overall, though, the volume of spam dropped slightly in May, to 72.7 percent of all email, MessageLabs said. Phishing and email-borne viruses both increased during the month. The company is also tracking an increase in targeted attacks.

Proofpoint, meanwhile, rolled out Proofpoint 5, its appliance for protecting against inbound spam and viruses. The new appliance also integrates new outbound security capabilities, including leak prevention and policy-based encryption, the company said yesterday.

Proofpoint 5 includes multiprotocol scanning, which makes it possible for organizations to detect and restrict the use of some types of messaging and file downloads, the company said. The new appliance also includes policy-based methods for encrypting outgoing messages.

Analysts say they like Proofpoint's approach to appliances, which allows users to reduce the hardware requirement by deploying "virtual appliances" or software only. Proofpoint 5 is "an early example of a new form factor for security appliances that IDS expects to pick up steam over the next few years," says Brian Burke, research manager for IDC's Security Products service.

Proofpoint 5 is available now for $6,750 and up, plus annual user license fees.

While MessageLabs and Proofpoint were focused on email, NetIQ debuted its Security Manager 6.0, a new security information management (SIM) product that now offers user and access monitoring, real-time auditing of system changes, and threat detection for the Microsoft Windows platform.

The NetIQ SIM line, which focuses almost exclusively on Windows, may eventually face competition from Microsoft's Stirling, which is expected to go into beta testing at the end of this year.

NetIQ SM 6.0 leverages Microsoft's file system filter drivers to do server monitoring, enabling it to deliver better audit trails, real-time alerting of dangerous activities, and a much smaller performance footprint than native Windows auditing, NetIQ said.

The new software also lets security pros detect changes to data down to the file level, and it offers user access monitoring and a proprietary, file-based log server technology that scales better than relational or object-level databases, NetIQ said.

NetIQ's new software will be more flexible than previous versions, which is important in the rapidly-shifting security space, said Todd Tucker, director of product marketing at NetIQ. "Organizations can no longer predict where the next threat to their data will come from, nor can they feel confident that today’s regulations and mandates will not evolve to require additional data safeguards."

NetIQ SM 6.0 will be available next month for prices starting at $800 per managed server.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • Gartner Inc.
  • MessageLabs Ltd.
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)
  • NetIQ Corp. (Nasdaq: NTIQ)
  • Proofpoint Inc.
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