Security Watch

Application lockdown

Application security is extremely important.

That message is starting to resonate among businesses and government agencies as increasingly sophisticated Web traffic flows freely through corporate firewalls — the first line of defense for networks — opening the door for cyberattacks and network intrusions.

This has spurred the rise of application security gateways, such as the secure application Gateway, developed by Teros, a Santa Clara, Calif., maker of security appliances. The gateway inspects traffic and protocols that pass through network-based firewalls.

Teros' product sits behind the firewall and protects applications, databases and Web servers by learning what constitutes acceptable application behavior and blocking everything else.

New functionality in the latest release — Version 3.0 — prevents intruders from stealing personal information from Web site visitors, denying access to certain sites and deciphering Web addresses to break into an application.

Organizations need to lock down their Web infrastructures, but network firewalls don't provide application security, said Greg Smith, senior director of product marketing at Teros. Firewalls scan for source and destination information and prohibit traffic based on that information, but there's "no attempt to lock down business logic" associated with an application, he said.

The Teros Gateway now detects and blocks cross-site scripting attacks, which trick the user or user's Web browser into sending an attacker confidential information such as account IDs, passwords and Web cookies that are intended for a trusted site. The company's Deep Stream Inspection technology blocks such attacks but still lets users send legitimate HTML content to a Web application.

The gateway also blocks denial-of-service attacks by performing real-time traffic analyses to identify and control misbehaving connections while ensuring that Web servers are accessible to legitimate users.

Another feature, the SafeRouter, prevents intruders from probing and learning an application's URL naming scheme by hiding internal domain names from Web site visitors. The gateway routes all requests to the appropriate Web server based on a user-defined policy. Pricing for Teros Gatway 3.0 starts at $25,000.

Teros, which recently signed an unnamed intelligence agency as its customer, is starting to make inroads into the federal space, experts said.

"There's been good reception in the federal government" for the Teros Gateway, said Jim Beaupre, president of JB Cubed, a reseller of security products. The company started selling Teros eight months ago, and initially, a great deal of time was spent educating agency managers about application security.

However, incidents such as the hacks that compromised 13,000 Navy purchase cards in August underscored the need to protect applications, Beaupre said.

For their part, network firewall vendors are trying to add more application security capabilities to their products. Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., introduced its Application Intelligence technology in the spring, and last week rolled out VPN-1 Edge, a new line of virtual private network (VPN) security appliances for securing remote sites.

Meanwhile, officials at firewall vendor NetScreen Technologies Inc., said the company will acquire Neoteris Inc., a provider of Secure Sockets Layer VPN products and application security gateway technology, for $265 million.

The acquisition is interesting, said Pete Lindstrom, research director with Spire Security LLC, a Malvern, Pa., consulting firm. "It's clear NetScreen likes appliances and [the network] perimeter. This will extend its product set." SSL VPN will become the company's preferred option for remote access deployment.

Managing security data overload

Correlating and analyzing the data generated by the many security devices is a growing concern for businesses and agencies.

Most security management products focus on gathering data from network-based devices such as firewalls, intrusion-detection systems and routers. TriGeo Network Security Inc. this week will launch a new event manager that correlates security events from the perimeter of the network all the way to the desktop.

Contego 2.1 filters data, aggregates log files and comes bundled with the Open Source Network Intrusion Detection System. Contego 2.1 is a security appliance that sits behind the corporate firewall, pulling data from it and a company's workstation and network servers via agent software.

GuardedNet Inc. has added incident response capabilities to its security management software, neuSecure 2.0. The software features a security dashboard that provides better visualization so managers can more quickly understand how well their network and system security devices are working. The dashboard includes the PerGrid, a real-time event viewer that provides data mining for security analysis, letting teams view aggregated data and trends. The graphical Threat Manager automatically plots an event's source and destination using a set of 3-D views and projections.

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