VeriSign to Launch Wireless IPS Service

VeriSign to team up with AirMagnet to offer WLAN managed security service

Call it the TJX affect: VeriSign today will roll out a new wireless intrusion prevention service aimed at securing corporate WLANs.

The new VeriSign Wireless Intrusion Prevention Service (IPS) is based on IPS and WLAN monitoring technology from AirMagnet, VeriSign's partner in the new offering.

VeriSign's service rollout comes on the heels of a major leadership shakeup last week. The company appointed a new president and CEO, William Roper, to replace longtime VeriSign chief Stratton Sclavos. (See VeriSign's CEO Signs Off.)

VeriSign's wireless security service represents one of the key growth areas Roper plans to focus on, according to Mike Denning, vice president of security services for VeriSign. "In particular, enabling mobile transactions and enabling a mobile workforce," Denning says, including PCI compliance.

But the new service is obviously well-timed, coinciding with recent revelations that the TJX breach was caused by hackers' interception of data from a WLAN in a Marshalls clothing store via a rogue wireless antenna.

The new Wireless IPS service falls under VeriSign's Managed Security Services offerings, which previously had been dedicated to wired networks. WLAN technology isn't new to VeriSign, however: The company also has separately offered "WLAN enablement services" as well as wireless security consulting.

"What we're trying to do on our managed security services is, for the first time, integrate IPS on the wireless side with the same visibility you have on the firewall on the wired side of the enterprise," Denning says.

The service correlates both wireless and wired data, and includes 24/7 manned support as well as consulting services for WLAN deployment and testing, the company says.

WIPS is based on AirMagnet's Enterprise, a sensor-based system that handles intrusion protection as well as WLAN performance monitoring. The sensors "sniff the air for rogues and provide intrusion prevention defense... and connect clients to the proper access point," says Chris Roeckl, vice president of marketing for AirMagnet.

That data is then fed into the VeriSign portal, which provides a custom view of the AirMagnet Enterprise reporting functions, such as the connected devices and rogues.

"The cool part about this is the customer doesn't have to get involved with the underlying complexity" of WLAN security and monitoring it, Roeckl says. "The important thing is there's a team of folks in the NOC worldwide watching on behalf of the customer. And an enterprise manager can also look at [the data] if he wants to."

Denning says the service basically provides a holistic view of wireless vulnerabilities in a corporate WLAN.

But since it's a corporate WLAN security service, it doesn't address securing the mobile worker who logs onto the WiFi network at his local coffee shop or at a trade show.

VeriSign is targeting financial services, healthcare, and retail companies, as well as the public sector, Denning says. WIPS is priced at under $100 per month per monitored WLAN device.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • VeriSign Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN)
  • AirMagnet Inc.