Red Hat Launches Security in a Networked World Initiative

New Red Hat add-on programs take Red Hat Enterprise Linux from platform-level security to network-level security with identity management, network monitoring and authentication.

As expected, Red Hat launched its Security in a Networked World initiative at LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

Security in this Linux context, though, is really more about identity management and authentication than security in the Windows context of viral and worm protection.

Red Hat Inc.s primary announcement about the RHCS (Red Hat Certificate System) addresses identity management systems and authentication.

The Linux company also announced that it would be working closer with the Mozilla Foundation and that it would be adding systems monitoring to its online patching service RHN (Red Hat Network).

RHCS is the next generation of the Netscape Certificate Management System. Red Hat acquired the Netscape program from America Online Inc. last fall.

RHCS provides a scalable and manageable PKI (public key infrastructure) authentication system to ensure that only authorized users and applications have access to mission-critical resources and data.

Novell Inc. with its eDirectory already has a similar solution.

Novells Open Enterprise Server, which can run on either a SLES (SuSE Linux Enterprise Server) or NetWare kernel, uses Linux User Management to tie in eDirectory users to Linuxs native PAMs (Pluggable Authentication Modules).

/zimages/3/28571.gifClick here to read more about a review of Novells Open Enterprise Server 1.0.

With this eDirectory, users can then work with Linux services such as sshd (secure shell daemon).

With RHCS, administrators can authenticate users, devices and applications on the network. Red Hat is also moving RHCS beyond its Netscape roots by adding a smart card management system as an integrated component to RHCS.

Interestingly enough, Red Hat will be collaborating with the Mozilla Foundation, which heretofore had done little with smart cards to enable smart card detection in upcoming versions of the popular Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird e-mail client.

Part of the reason for this change from both groups is to enable compliance with the U.S. governments FIPS 201 (Federal Information Processing Standard 201) and HSPD-12 (Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12).

HSPD-12 requires that all federal agencies implement smart card technology. This includes digital identity credentials.

These will be used not just for system and network access but also for physical access to federally controlled buildings.

With RHCS, Red Hat and Mozilla will be able to sell their programs to federal government agencies.

"The opportunity for Red Hat Identity Management solutions adoption in large government agencies is tremendous," said Bill Schell, president of August Schell, a federal security integrator.

"To date, over 4 million smart cards have been issued to DOD [Department of Defense] personnel, from Pentagon generals down to our troops in desert foxholes. Each smart card contains multiple digital certificates generated from the DOD implementation of the Red Hat Certificate System and are used to ensure secure communications and authentication to a variety of devices and services.

"No other Certificate Management solution in production use within the federal government can claim such a monumental success," said Schell in a statement.

Red Hat also announced the Red Hat Network Monitoring Module. With it, RHN customers will be able to monitor systems, networks and applications.

"Red Hat Network [already] provides updates and security across the entire Open Source Architecture," said Paul Cormier, Red Hats executive vice president of engineering.

"We simplify the complexity of systems management and security by providing customers with a single mechanism for notification of issues from the device, to datacenter, to applications," said Cormier.

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