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Issue of August 2004 

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McAfee pushes for proactive security

To long-time PC users the McAfee brand is synonymous with anti-virus software (remember the VirusScan commands and switches in the days of DOS?) Then the company was acquired by Network Associates (NAI) and VirusScan became an NAI product. But the McAfee brand was well entrenched in the market, and NAI has strategically renamed itself to McAfee, Inc. The next step for McAfee is a new India initiative promoting proactive enterprise security solutions.

McAfee's new enterprise security solutions approach is all about integrating anti-virus, firewall, and intrusion prevention capabilities. According to McAfee, existing point products such as anti-virus, firewalls, IDS, encryption and VPNs are not effective due to their ‘reactive nature.’

"Reactive approaches have windows of vulnerability—the time between a vulnerability occurring and its resolution. To get over this, a proactive, comprehensive and manageable approach where organizations know and block malware and attacks in advance is required," said Ashley Wearne, Area VP (Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia and India), McAfee Singapore.

McAfee's Intrusion Prevention Service (IPS) strategy is a combination of real time detection and selective blocking of perceived enterprise security threats. Converged solutions with anti-virus, firewall and intrusion prevention capabilities are used for this. McAfee claims to have enhanced its existing anti-virus solution with features like no requirement of signatures and source identification (the product will identify new viruses based on abnormal behavior). Added firewall/IPS features include port blocking, buffer overflow protection and protection from encrypted attacks.

The latest McAfee products utilizing the IPS approach are the McAfee Entercept 5.0, IntruShield 2.1 and VirusScan Enterprise 8.0i. VirusScan Enterprise 8.0i is available free of cost to existing McAfee anti-virus users.

"It is not possible for us to have a proactive approach if we do not replace the existing reactive software," said Kartik Shahane, Sales Director, McAfee India.

— Anil Patrick R

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