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McAfee Associates Inc is extending its security and anti-virus software offerings by launching what it is billing as the first network security suite, NetShield. The move sees the company developing technology from its enterprise offerings, for integration with its existing security and anti-virus products. It says the complete suite is designed to offer security protection for application servers, Internet gateways and groupware environments. The Santa Clara, California-based firm says the development of the all-in-one offering was prompted by companies’ need for multiple lines of defense with anti-virus and security software that works over several environments. It says the new product will address the demand for more comprehensive security management capabilities, which has been prompted by the growing number of large and increasingly complex number of company-wide installations. The new offering comprises six components bundled with a common administration console. Designed to protect application-to-application communications, NetCrypto automatically encrypts all TCP/IP traffic between protected Windows NT and Unix servers. WebShield is billed as a means of protecting Internet gateways from virus attack by scanning internet e-mail and file transfer. It also has GroupShield, an anti-virus application for Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes servers which boasts native applications to scan and clean messages. VirusScan Unix scans personal computer files stored on Unix servers and NetShield provides anti-virus server protection for NetWare, Windows NT and DEC Alpha for NT. Completing the package is WebWall, a firewall which can be used against external hackers or to segment departmental data within an intranet.

For your eyes only

Gene Hodges, McAfee’s director of marketing for anti virus products worldwide, says it is the only company with such a broad offering. He describes Dr Solomon’s anti-virus software as quite competent but claims it doesn’t offer a comparable range of security capabilities. Hodges also maintains that arch rivals Symantec Corp made a strategic mistake by selling its Network Business Unit to Hewlett Packard Co. He said: Network systems management is becoming a key part of the market – now they just have a single desktop product, for your eyes only. He adds: If you’re going to be involved in a pricing tussle, it’s beneficial to be the most profitable company with the most cash in the bank. Meanwhile McAfee predicts the key product issue over the coming year will be the emerging security threat posed by ActiveX and Java applets. ActiveX is a particular danger, says Hodges, because it has a more flexible architecture and is therefore easier to write destructive programs on. The company says it is working on new functions in the area of password control and intrusion detection and will shortly be announcing partners who will be contributing further technology for integration into the new offering. The NetShield Security Suite costs $12 per user for a 1000-user site and will be available from September 9th.

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CBR Staff Writer

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