In an effort to give its product an edge over the dozens of other firewalls on the market, Microsoft Corp. last week unveiled a feature pack for its Internet Security and Acceleration Server that delivers unique protection features.
ISA Server 2000 Feature Pack 1 includes an enhanced SMTP filter, better security for transmissions between Outlook clients and Exchange servers, and a new technology to block some advanced Web-based attacks. ISA Server 2000 is Microsofts first security product and is typically deployed in environments with IIS (Internet Information Services) Web servers and Exchange mail servers.
The improved SMTP scanning feature adds several new filters to ISA Server 2000. Incoming mail messages can now be filtered based on sender, domain, keyword, attachment name, extension or size.
The improvements are designed to help protect servers against mail-borne threats, such as Nimda or Yaha, that often come from random addresses and include malicious attachments whose names are unpredictable.
The company has added its URLScan tool to ISA Server 2000. URLScan is usually used with IIS Lockdown Tool and is designed to block certain HTTP requests to prevent malicious commands from reaching the Web server. Microsoft officials, in Redmond, Wash., said they see these improvements as crucial to network protection.
"Most firewalls arent designed to protect Exchange and IIS against the sophisticated attacks that we see today," said Craig Flebig, general manager of the Security Business Unit at Microsoft.
The feature pack includes an improvement to the Exchange RPC (remote procedure call) filter, which now enforces 128-bit RPC encryption between Outlook clients sitting behind ISA Server and external Exchange servers. RPC encryption secures communications between a server and remote components.