Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


08:30 AM
Connect Directly

eEye Offers Free IPS Client

eEye Digital Security has quietly begun distributing a free Blink home version, which also lets the company gather attack data

eEye Digital Security this week began quietly offering a free version of its intrusion prevention system (IPS) client, called Blink Personal, to consumers.

Marc Maiffret, CTO and chief hacking officer of eEye, says the company is still putting the final touches on the Blink Personal rollout, which will go public next month.

Maiffret isn't coy about eEye's motives for sending out the free IPS client. "It's definitely a marketing ploy," he says in response to similar charges by critics. "From a business perspective, it will help get the Blink brand out there... And the more home users we have telling us what we need to work on, the more we can improve and make our commercial product more solid."

eEye's freebie strategy for kick-starting its new security tool is nothing new in the security space -- McAfee did it many years ago, ZoneAlarm does it with its IPS tool, and StillSecure gives away StrataGuard. "Virtually every host or end point security product with any traction has a 'free' version," says Thomas Ptacek, a researcher with Matasano Security.

Aside from the marketing perks, eEye plans to gather attack data from customers as well, something that may not sit well with some users. "We're not looking to collect information about your browsing habits," Maiffret says. "We want attack information so we can make Blink the best we can, and one way is to make as big a honeypot as possible."

Maiffret says eEye will track attack trends -- such as zero-day attacks like those currently targeting IE and PowerPoint -- and then make that data public while also using it for Blink product development.

Unlike an automated honeypot that requires a user to click a link before you can see an attack, this approach captures what happens after a user takes an action, while at the same time protecting the client, explains Ross Brown, CEO of eEye in his blog, where he first announced Blink Personal. The data is "sanitized" to protect confidentiality, he says.

"We only get an IP address and attack info, no packet captures or other things that could -- if the attack was right and the moon aligned with Mars -- contain personal info," Brown writes.

Michael Rothman, president and principal analyst of Security Incite, says gathering this kind of data is beneficial. "Data makes everyone smarter. Is there a risk that the vendor will misuse the data? Sure," he says. "But I think it's minimal and the benefit of sharing the data is greater."

The Blink home version is similar to the commercial product, with a few exceptions –- it doesn't include the spyware scanning feature like eEye OEMs, nor can it be remotely managed. The lack of remote management capability should make it more difficult for businesses to pirate it, according to Maiffret.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • eEye Digital Security
  • Matasano Security LLC
  • ZoneAlarm Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

    Recommended Reading:

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 8/3/2020
    Pen Testers Who Got Arrested Doing Their Jobs Tell All
    Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  8/5/2020
    New 'Nanodegree' Program Provides Hands-On Cybersecurity Training
    Nicole Ferraro, Contributing Writer,  8/3/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Cartoon Contest
    Current Issue
    Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
    This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
    Flash Poll
    The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
    The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
    This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
    In JetBrains YouTrack before 2020.2.6881, the markdown parser could disclose hidden file existence.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
    In JetBrains YouTrack before 2020.2.6881, a user without permission is able to create an article draft.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
    JetBrains YouTrack before 2020.2.8873 is vulnerable to SSRF in the Workflow component.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
    In JetBrains Kotlin before 1.4.0, there is a script-cache privilege escalation vulnerability due to kotlin-main-kts cached scripts in the system temp directory, which is shared by all users by default.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-08
    In JetBrains TeamCity before 2020.1, users with the Modify Group permission can elevate other users' privileges.