Symantec Takes On Network Security

The security vendor Monday said it will soon begin shipping its first network intrusion-prevention appliances"the Symantec Network Security 7100 series. The products are expected to be available in August, said Sandeep Kumar, director of product marketing. "This is our entry into the network security space," he said.

The three new appliances represent Symantec's inline network security strategy: multifunction hardware that detects intrusion by tapping critical network traffic paths. The 7100 series products are optimized when networks deploying them have a firewall as well as client- and server-based security tools in action, said Kumar.

"The appliances are part of a complete in-depth intrusion-prevention program," he said.

The 7100 series doesn't actually scan network traffic, but rather relies on "statistical techniques" to detect worms, rogue network scans, buffer overflow attempts, mass mailers, viruses, denial-of-service attacks and attempts to exploit application vulnerabilities. "Since we are in the network path, we can build statistical models to detect intrusion," said Kumar.

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Symantec has dubbed this statistical method Imune, an acronym for Intrusion Mitigation Unified Network Engine. All three 7100 series models incorporate Imune, which employs protocol anomaly detection, vulnerability attack interception, signature recognition, denial-of-service and scan detection, and IDS-evasion detection, said Kumar.

Network administrators can customize security policies on each appliance and "can control the logging and blocking behavior on a per-threat basis," he said. The appliances can also be set to automatically update themselves to the latest virus definitions and threat information by tapping Symantec's Deep Site alert service.

Deploying the 7100 series at multiple points across the network is recommended, said Kumar.

The four-port, 50-Mbps Model 7120 starts at $7,995. The eight-port 250-Mbps models 7160 and 7161 start at $23,995 and $26,995, respectively, according to Symantec, Cupertino, Calif. Each price includes licensing and a one-year Gold Maintenance coverage agreement.