Aladdin Rubs Out Content-Based Threats

eSafe 4 effectively scours internet data, but maintenance can be difficult.

ESafe 4

Aladdins eSafe 4 is an Internet content security package that nicely fits into a layered security approach for medium-to-large-size enterprises. The software-only tool, priced at $18,600 per 1,000 users, comes with a hardened version of Red Hat Linux. IT managers can run eSafe 4 on nearly any hardware, which should reduce short-term implementation costs. Over time, hardware upgrades may complicate maintenance operations, a problem competitors using turnkey hardware/software appliances are likely to avoid.
















  • PRO: Uses hardened Linux base; load balanced through inspection of HTTP, FTP and other Internet-based traffic.
  • CON: Ongoing maintenance may be complicated because of hardware flexibility issues.

• Blue Coats SG appliance line • Finjans SurfinGate for Web 7.0

Aladdin Knowledge Systems Ltd.s eSafe 4 is a decent security tool for managing content-based threats that are carried in HTTP or FTP traffic. eSafe 4, which shipped in June and is priced at $18,600 per 1,000 users, is a nice compromise between fast, highly secure appliances such as those available from Blue Coat Systems Inc. and Symantec Corp. and software-based tools from Finjan Software Inc. and Trend Micro Inc.

Because eSafe 4 runs on any machine that can load Red Hat Inc.s Red Hat Linux, its a cost-effective alternative to appliances, especially when several are used together to provide fault tolerance and load balancing.

Among competitors, Finjans SurfinGate for Web 7.0 for Unix or Windows is a tempting choice because it can be hosted in heterogeneous operating system shops. The product runs on Solaris or Windows 2000. In either case, the base operating system must be tuned to provide the hardened base needed to protect the protector.

The flexibility of eSafe 4 is a reasonable compromise in favor of hardware choice. However, eWEEK Labs tests showed that ongoing maintenance of appliance-based products such as Blue Coats SG family of security appliances is an important competitive advantage that busy IT managers should consider.

In addition, shops that already have Solaris expertise might find that configuring and maintaining the platform for SurfinGate is a manageable task, making it a better choice for securing Internet content.

Our tests of eSafe 4 show the product is very effective at blocking malicious or suspect content, and combines both e-mail and anti-virus checking in a neat, affordable package that IT managers at midsize to large shops should consider to add a further layer of network security.

eSafe 4 fits between a perimeter firewall and desktop-based anti-virus and now anti-spam tools. IT managers who have large amounts of Internet-based traffic entering the network should consider a tool such as eSafe 4 because it fills the gap between these two traditional security areas.

In tests, eSafe 4 was able to sort through incoming and outgoing SMTP (e-mail), FTP and HTTP traffic, effectively reducing the amount of malicious code that got through our test network to zero. eSafe 4s almost instant adaptation to new threats, such as virus packages hidden inside e-mail and FTP file transfers, was impressive.

We also used a variety of traffic-generation tools, including NetIQ Corp.s Chariot, to throw large volumes of Internet traffic and IP connections at eSafe 4. We used Chariot to spike traffic levels for periods of time far longer than most networks would tolerate. Even then, when we tried to sneak malicious code into the test network, eSafe 4 nearly always identified and blocked it.

We could integrate eSafe with our Microsoft Corp. Exchange server to effectively identify and stop spam, particularly spam that contained malware. Aladdin harnesses software from Cobion AG that uses several techniques, including URL checking, to identify spam.

Senior Analyst Cameron Sturdevant can be contacted at