As large security vendors try to squeeze more speed out of high-end intrusion prevention systems, a few smaller vendors are poised to introduce IPS solutions that can adjust protection levels dynamically and lock down vulnerable assets before attacks commence.
NFR Security Inc., of Rockville, Md., and V-Secure Technologies Inc., of Saddle Brook, N.J., are each set to roll out updated products that rely on adaptive filtering and automation to relieve security administrators of much of the tuning and daily maintenance intrusion prevention systems usually require.
The two companies approaches differ slightly, but the goal is the same: faster reaction times to shield servers from automated attacks.
NFRs Sentivist 5.0 system, which will be announced this week, combines data on network changes and vulnerability scans with information from IPS sensors to perform what the company calls Dynamic Shielding of network assets.
Sentivist is composed of a Protection Center, or management console; a Protection Engine; a Network Profiler; and a number of Smart Sensors at strategic points throughout a network.
All the components work together to correlate data on events occurring across the network to determine whether the events are related and if any action is required.
For example, if an attacker is performing reconnaissance on a network, traffic would likely be sent to several discrete assets on the network.
A host-based IPS would record this traffic as separate attacks against each server.
Sentivist, however, can perform a high-level correlation of those probes, see that theyre all coming from one IP address, and then block all traffic from that address.
All this can be done without the intervention of an administrator.
The systems Dynamic Shielding technology can also detect new assets as they come online and automatically move to shield them from traffic until they are completely patched and correctly configured.
In addition, Sentivist gives administrators a clearer picture of how serious an intrusion attempt is via its Confidence Indexing, which assigns a numerical score to each event.
Praise for automation
Customers say the automated adjustments Sentivist can make are what IPSes were designed for.
“Its a phenomenal concept. Most products need a lot of tuning. This doesnt,” said Brian Phillips, director of technical operations at Network System Technologies Inc., in Naperville, Ill., an NFR customer.
“All of these other security technologies are built for static environments, and thats never going to happen. Everyone understands this concept right away.”
Sentivist 5.0 will be generally available this summer.
V-Secure next month will release Version 8.0 of its V-Secure IPS appliance, which will add the Snort open-source intrusion detection engine.
Inclusion of the Snort engine will allow the new version to detect and prevent attacks using signature and anomaly detection.
The appliance includes a technology known as Adaptive Smart Dynamic Filter, which can automatically apply changes it has made to the protection on one portion of a network to another portion.
For example, if the system detects an exploit attempt against a database server on Port 443, it can block that traffic on all ports and apply the same protection to all other database servers on the network.
V-Secure officials said that the company is planning to announce a partner program through which it will provide its IPS technology to multifunction-appliance vendors that are looking to add intrusion prevention to their offerings.
The company has already signed agreements with two partners.