AppRadar detects database intruders

A new intrusion-detection system from Application Security Inc. could help agencies prevent database break-ins and protect sensitive information.

The company recently unveiled AppRadar, software that monitors and protects enterprise databases against security threats from outside an organization or from internal employees. Application Security also introduced new management capabilities for AppDetective, the company's network-based vulnerability assessment scanner.

Many intrusion-protection systems are designed to detect and respond to attacks on networks, but they don't necessarily understand attacks against databases, said Ted Julian, vice president of marketing at Application Security. AppRadar consists of software agents that reside on the database and continually look for suspicious activity. When they find such activity, they alert database administrators or security operators via e-mail. Using the company's new Web-based AppSecInc Console, administrators can also monitor security checks from a central location.

The first database AppRadar offers protection for is Microsoft Corp.'s SQL Server. Support for Oracle Corp. databases will come in the next version of the product, Julian said.

Types of threats that AppRadar addresses include buffer overflow attacks, which allow attackers to gain privileged

access to a database; password attacks,

in which hackers assume someone else's password; and Web application attacks such as SQL injection, in which an attacker injects or manipulates SQL commands through the browser's front end to execute malicious actions on the supporting back-end database.

"There seems to be a fair amount of

demand for products such as AppDetective," which scans for vulnerabilities in databases, said Barbara Hendersen, a program manager with Sword & Shield Enterprise Security Inc., a reseller of security products to the federal government. However, although AppRadar appears to be a useful product, database administrators typically don't like installing additional software on their databases, she added. AppDetective, on the other hand, is a network-based scanner that runs on a server.

With the AppSecInc Console, AppDetective users can have online access to scanning and auditing information for the databases they manage, and security managers can see activity for all database domains, Julian said.

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