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6/22/2007
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Boston Celtics Use Tool To Battle Botnets

Mi5 is releasing a high-speed appliance designed to detect and shut down botnet activity -- something the Celtics have been looking for.

When the Boston Celtics coaching staff is working on the road, connecting to the Internet from a string of hotels scattered across the country, odds are good they'll come back to the office with more than stats and training plans.

Jay Wessel, the vice president of technology for the Celtics, has to make sure the 20 traveling coaches and staff don't bring back malware that can infect the organization's whole computer network. That alone can be a big job, but in recent months Wessel has become increasingly concerned that his mobile workers' machines will become bots. And that could cause an even bigger mess.

"It's a concern and it's mostly a concern with people who have laptops and take them home or on the road," said Wessel in an interview. "I'm worried they get these bot infections and then bring them back into my network. Over the years, that's been my biggest issue. Those cable modem and DSL users at home are just an accident waiting to happen. And the coaching staff that travels with the team picks up all sots of nasty things from the hotel networks. They come back and suddenly the network is running badly."

Wessel said he's been using Mi5 Network's client-side security for more than a year and just upgraded to the company's just-released Webgate 3.0 product that is designed to combine URL filtering, anti-spyware, anti-virus, and anti-botnet detection.

The product, which will be officially available on June 25, is billed as being able to inspect and filter bidirectional Web traffic, as well as internal network communications on all ports and protocols without causing user discernible slowdowns. By inspecting all of these traffic routes, Webgate is geared to identify Bots, detect Botnet traffic, and disinfect hijacked machines based on policy settings, according to company information.

"Web traffic is the new backdoor that enables malicious software to sneak undetected into an organization's network and silently install Bots, which are rapidly becoming the leading threat to corporate security," said Doug Camplejohn, founder and CEO of Mi5 Networks, in a written statement.

Bots are created when a user's computer is surreptitiously infected with a Trojan that enables a hacker to remotely control the machine. The hacker collects these controllable computers -- called bots or zombies -- and builds an army or botnet of them. He then can use the botnet to send out spam or malware or even to launch a denial-of-service attack. The botnet herder also can rent out the botnet to other cybercriminals looking to the do the same things.

Webgate 3.0 is available and pricing starts at $3,495.

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