Justice states Ptech presents no security risk

In the aftermath of an early Friday search of software vendor Ptech Inc.'s headquarters, Justice Department officials say the government does not have any reason to believe any federal systems have been compromised.

'The search was conducted in connection with an on-going financial crime investigation,' U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Michael J. Sullivan said in a statement. 'Media characterizations of this as a terrorist investigation are premature.'

For its part, Ptech denied that that the search of its Quincy, Mass., offices constituted a raid and said it was cooperating with the investigation. 'The company categorically denies having any connection with a terrorist organization,' a company release said.

Sullivan said because Ptech had provided software to federal agencies, 'there have been questions raised concerning their products. All the products provided to the government were of a nonclassified nature. However, out of an abundance of caution, the affected government agencies, including the FBI, conducted a review of their computer systems.'

The General Services Administration said in a statement that Ptech has conducted about $3.3 million in work for the federal government under a GSA schedule contract.

The review had not uncovered any vulnerabilities in Ptech products, Sullivan said. 'There is also no evidence to suggest that the system is susceptible to compromise or poses any security risk,' he said.

Sources close to the company said it had never worked on any classified systems, and federal background checks of its employees had been carried out for other reasons, such as contact with sensitive information. Ptech said it had been told by government investigators that neither the company nor its officers and employees are the target of the government's investigation.

Ptech said company officials had granted federal investigators access to the company's premises. 'Moreover, Ptech has assisted the government in its investigation and intends to continue to do so,' the company said.

The investigation has drawn IBM Corp. into the fray as well because Ptech promotes an 'alliance partner' relationship with IBM on its Web site. IBM spokesman Jeff Gluck minimized the connection between the two companies. 'A lot of small companies like to play up the relationship with IBM. This is one example,' Gluck said.

Gluck confirmed that Ptech has worked with IBM's global services group to help map and model enterprise architectures. 'There are engagements where we're working together, [and] places where Ptech sold us their software,' he said. But there is no reason to suspect there's anything wrong with the software, Gluck said.

No law enforcement agencies have contacted IBM about Ptech, he said.

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