Isolating cyberthreats

Officials at two security appliance vendors are stepping up efforts to help information technology managers identify and block cyberattacks as they occur.

Q1 Labs Inc. officials have introduced a new version of the company's intrusion-prevention and network-monitoring appliance, QRadar 4.0. Its architecture allows for adding modules that give administrators a comprehensive view and analysis of activity enterprisewide. The first module, QRadar-ICX (Isolate, Contain and Extinguish), resolves problems by isolating and blocking network shenanigans — whether intentional or accidental. When QRadar detects abnormal activity, it alerts network administrators and QRadar-ICX blocks the activity.

Meanwhile, Protego Networks Inc. unveiled the PN-MARS Global Control appliance last week, which automates the detection and coordinated response to attacks across the network. The product also handles compliance reporting and allows administrators to centrally manage and monitor an organization's security status by coordinating the tasks of multiple PN-MARS appliances.

The appliances are part of an emerging class of hybrid security devices that include detection, event correlation, network monitoring and policy enforcement capabilities, said Pete Lindstrom, research director at Spire Security LLC.

In the evolving world of distributed threat management, administrators need solutions that can perform all of these functions. However, the challenge for developers of these hybrid devices is making them scalable for enterprisewide use, Lindstrom said. The devices collect a broad set of attributes in a network environment to detect and block threats, but the jury is still out on their effectiveness across large infrastructures, he said.

QRadar is an early warning system that performs deep packet inspection and behavior analysis to detect abnormal network activity, said Brendan Hannigan, executive vice president of marketing and product engineering.

Using QRadar-ICX, administrators can quarantine systems infected by malicious code or attacks, shut down network sessions and respond to suspicious activity conducted by users inside an organization. ICX also works with perimeter equipment such as firewalls and routers to block

cyberattacks.

Besides advanced event correlations and data-consolidation features, Protego's appliance provides a single view of the entire enterprise, said Scott Gordon, the company's vice president of marketing. Administrators can also customize rules and reports.

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