TechWatch: Windows Security; Firewalls, Routers

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A look at what's exciting, interesting, new and just plain wacky in the products world. Please send your choice picks for review to a new address:

Virus Installitus

Some products you just know are trouble when you crack open a "quick start" guide that goes on and on through numerous steps. I really wanted to like the Trend Micro Network VirusWall 1200 product—a combination firewall, antivirus and intrusion-detection appliance—but the process of installing so many different parts, software and servers, not to mention doing a telnet session to set up the basic parameters via a command line, left me dazed and confused. Of note, the company has since cleaned up its documentation, so if you know someone who is patient enough, this still may be a worthwhile product. Me? I'll pass.

Trend Micro Network VirusWall 1200, Price: $6,000

Securing Windows Servers At Their Core

Yes, Windows is a security sinkhole. Yes, Microsoft is part of the Patch of the Week Club. No, you can't trust your customers to make sure they stay current. So here is the latest solution: a small piece of software that installs on Windows 2000 servers (other versions are forthcoming) that watches for security transgressions and stops them before some script kiddie takes over your payroll application. The software installs quickly (albeit with one strange user interface quirk that the company promises to fix) and defends IIS and general Windows OS services without stealing too many processing cycles from the rest of your server applications. I would give this even higher marks once the UI and documentation are improved.

SecureCore, Price: $1,000 per server

Wireless Disconnectus
I have probably looked at dozens of wireless residential broadband gateway/firewalls/routers during the past several years, but none has been more perplexing and confusing than SMC's router. The first sign of trouble was the null modem cable required to connect to a terminal session and a bunch of command-line parameters that are poorly explained in the manual. I guess this is what's known as security by obscurity. After an hour of fooling around with the device, I gave up. My advice? Steer clear of this one. You're better off sticking with the standards from Cisco, Hewlett-Packard and others, at least for now.

SMC EliteConnect Universal 2.4GHz/5GHz Wireless
Access Point Price: $440

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