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IBM Targets Threats Against Web 2.0 Systems

The company rolls out a new network intrusion prevention system to coincide with Interop in Las Vegas.
IBM on Tuesday introduced a security offering designed to detect and prevent cyberattacks directed at instant-messaging services, Internet voice networks, and other Web 2.0 platforms.

IBM's new Proventia Network Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) GX6116 offers throughput of 15 Gbps -- fast enough to keep up with attacks on communications systems such as voice over IP that function virtually in real time, said Tom Noonan, general manager of IBM's Internet Security Systems unit.

"These systems function in real time and require real-time security," said Noonan, referring to the host of Web-based communications and collaboration tools that businesses now employ. IBM also is aiming the product at telecom carriers and Internet service providers that operate high-speed networks. "Past efforts to protect the cloud haven't been successful because the speed wasn't there," said Noonan.

IBM said IPS GX6116 offers pre-emptive protection for up to 6 Gbps of network traffic. It plans to sell the offering as a dedicated appliance.

As professional cybercriminals upgrade their arsenals from off-the-shelf viruses to designer malware, businesses need to move beyond antivirus systems that guard against known threats to systems that proactively monitor networks for suspicious activity, Noonan said.

"Simple firewalls aren't sufficiently intelligent" to deal with today's bespoke threats, said Noonan, in an interview at Interop in Las Vegas.

IBM acquired Internet Security Systems in October for $1.3 billion in an effort to build a centerpiece for its broad range of security products and services. Noonan, who was CEO at ISS, said the unit has seen substantial growth under IBM. "Our heads are spinning," said Noonan, though he declined to provide specific figures, citing IBM policy.

ISS posted annual revenue of about $350 million before its acquisition by IBM.

Noonan said access to IBM research labs in locations such as Haifa, Israel, and Yorktown Heights, N.Y., has bolstered ISS's ability to roll out new products. "We're like kids in a candy store at those labs," he said.