ISS and NAI team on new products, research

By Sam Costello, IDG News Service |  Security

Responding to the growing security threat of blended attacks like the Nimda and Code Red worms, Internet Security Systems Inc. (ISS) and Network Associates Inc. Thursday said that they will integrate a number of their products and research teams, as well as offer some new products, with an eye toward providing customers with more comprehensive security protection.

The three-year partnership will have the companies combine Network Associates' (NAI) Sniffer network detection and analysis software, McAfee antivirus software and ePolicy Orchestrator management system with ISS' RealSecure IDS (Intrusion Detection System) and SiteProtector management console to provide customers with better network analysis and security tools, said George Samenuk, NAI's chief executive officer during a conference call Thursday morning.

As a consequence of the integration, NAI will offer a series of new products based on a combination of the companies' offerings in 2003, Samenuk said. In the first quarter of 2003, the Santa Clara, California, NAI will ship a new IDS product built on Sniffer and RealSecure, which will integrate into the Sniffer management system, he said.

In the first half of that year, Network Associates will also ship a new version of ePolicy Orchestrator that will allow companies to identify and block blended threats through the coordination of policy, antivirus and IDS data using the McAfee antivirus software and RealSecure IDS, he said.

ISS, for its part, will integrate antivirus software from NAI's McAfee division into the RealSecure server and gateway sensors products, said Tom Noonan, chairman and chief executive officer of ISS, based in Atlanta, on the same conference call. ISS will also update its SiteProtector console to manage McAfee antivirus updates and distribute them to its RealSecure sensors, he said. Lastly, ISS will offer McAfee's antivirus protection as a managed service for gateways and desktops, he said.

In addition to cooperation on products, the two companies will also be coordinating the operations of their threat research and response teams, Samenuk said.

NAI's AVERT Labs and ISS's X-Force will work together to respond to emerging threats and will "create the largest private Internet threat response team in the entire world," Samenuk said.

The smooth compatibility of antivirus software and IDS is needed more than ever as hackers and virus writers are increasingly becoming the same group, instead of the two distinct groups they had once been, ISS's Noonan said.

"ISS has been really focused on the spectrum of threat convergence for a long time," he said.

Attacks like Code Red and Nimda, which had some of the hallmarks of traditional viruses and worms, also exploited security vulnerabilities in order to further their spread.

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