Appliances keep security refreshed

TippingPoint says its UnityOne appliances protect against 850 types of viruses, worms and other attacks before any damage occurs.

The company's threat management center monitors virus alerts and distributes filters.

Appliances and services designed specifically to supply ongoing security measures are hitting the marketplace.

Three network-intrusion prevention appliances from TippingPoint Technologies Inc. of Austin, Texas, automatically download new patches, called Digital Vaccine, as a recurring service on a maintenance contract, said John McHale, chief executive officer of the company.

Every week there are '50 new vulnerabilities reported, only 10 percent of them meaningful' in terms of enabling exploits, McHale said. 'But they're growing way in advance of IT's ability to keep up.'

Updates from Digital Vaccine, which automatically distributes attack filters, travel over an encrypted connection to TippingPoint and do not require a reboot. The company's threat management center in Austin monitors reports from groups such as the SANS Institute in Bethesda, Md., and the CERT Coordination Center at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to identify threats before distributing filters.

McHale said the company has six analysts who spend one day per week ranking the importance of newly discovered vulnerabilities, as a service the company supplies to the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center and the SANS Institute.

The company's UnityOne appliances come in four sizes, for small enterprises up to very large ones. TippingPoint claims they can protect against 850 types of viruses, worms, distributed denial-of-service attacks and bandwidth hijackings before any damage occurs. The company also says the units can support 1 million concurrent sessions and 25,000 new sessions per second.

The four UnityOne appliances, priced from about $43,000 to $100,000, have varying numbers of 10/100/1,000-Mbps Ethernet ports for throughput of 400 Mbps up to 2 Gbps.

Running under Microsoft Windows, Unix and Linux, they are manageable from a Web interface or from Hewlett-Packard OpenView and IBM Tivoli management consoles. McHale said they default to Layer 2 switch functionality if some of their hardware or software fails.

Contact TippingPoint Technologies at 888-648-9663.

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