Mi5's Not-So-Secret Weapon

New Web gateway promises to control botnet infections as well as Web-borne malware



First, there were email gateways, those multifunction devices that help screen out messaging-borne malware. Then there were unified threat management (UTM) tools, designed to bring multiple security capabilities to small offices in a single piece of hardware. Now, according to Mi5 Networks, there's Webgate.

"You could call us a hybrid between an [intrusion prevention system] and a proxy," says Doug Camplejohn, founder and CEO of Mi5, a new company that introduced its first products last year. "Our goal is to provide deep inspection of traffic, protecting the enterprise from multiple threats via a single platform."

Although it offers antivirus and anti-spyware capabilities, Webgate is not a UTM device, Camplejohn says: "UTMs tend to focus on small offices and small businesses, but we're going after medium and large businesses. We're building a gateway that can really make a difference in how secure your organization is from Web-based threats."

One of the things that makes Webgate different is its ability to spot botnet threats, Camplejohn explains. Using a combination of signatures and heuristics, the hardware can identify likely botnet activity in the network, even if the involved devices are not interacting with a known botnet "command and control" device, he claims.

Webgate can do a type of "confidence scoring" on the traffic it sees, giving administrators a warning when botnet activity is suspected. It can also identify the source of the activity -- such as spyware or a keylogger -- and it can block malicious traffic or URLs.

Camplejohn recognizes that the new product's capabilities overlap with those offered by many currently available appliances, including popular products offered by Websense and Blue Coat. "Larger enterprises are probably going to make a gradual transition to the type of multifunction product that we offer, but we think there are some customers who will say, 'Let's do it all at once,' " he says.

Webgate is available now in a broad range of models, starting at $3,495. The hardware carries a one-time price; software updates are available on an annual subscription basis.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • Blue Coat Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BCSI)
  • Mi5 Networks Inc.
  • Websense Inc. (Nasdaq: WBSN)

    Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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