A new version of Aladdin Knowledge Systems Ltd.'s eSafe gateway security software promises to protect users from a host of Internet ills, including so-called drive-by download Web sites used to place spyware on vulnerable systems, the company said.

Aladdin, of Tel Aviv, Israel, announced the availability of eSafe 5 at the Information Security Decisions conference here Monday. The addition of anti-spyware features comes as companies are struggling to defend their users from Web-based attacks that employ vulnerabilities in common Web browsers to evade anti-virus programs and silently install malicious code and spyware, said Shimon Gruper, executive vice president of Internet technology at Aladdin.

The new product uses four layers of malicious-code detection that include traditional signature detection and application hardening to close security holes used to silently install malicious code, Gruper said.

Aladdin eSafe 5 also uses URL filtering to block access to known spyware distribution sites, such as pornography Web sites. In addition, the product can spot and block communication between spyware clients running on infected systems and control servers on the public Internet, Gruper said.

eSafe 5 is deployed at the gateway and intercepts outbound network communications, which it inspects for known spyware traffic. The product can also automatically remove spyware installations, using Microsoft Corp.'s SMS (Systems Management Server) to access infected systems remotely and disable the malicious programs, Gruper said.

eSafe 5 includes new anti-spyware features in eSafe Gateway, a gateway security product; eSafe Web, a Web filtering product; and eSafe Mail, a secure e-mail relay. The new features address what Gruper said he believes is a gaping hole in the protection offered by gateway and desktop anti-virus products, which do not typically inspect HTTP traffic.

"Everybody is trying to solve this huge problem called spyware, but the problem appeared because nobody thought that they needed to have security for Web-browsing traffic," Gruper said.

Spyware is a major concern for IT security administrators at the Information Security Decisions show, though some doubt technology can solve a problem that frequently comes from users downloading suspicious programs or installing free software that has spyware bundled with it.

Educating computer users, rather than buying new security software, is a top priority for Brandon Alt, manager of information security at the Duval County Public Schools in Jacksonville, Fla.

But Gruper thinks companies need to take a hard stand against those distributing spyware, whom he calls "vandals."

eSafe 5 will be available later this month and will cost $40 per user for a package of 100 user licenses. Discounts are available for larger installations, and existing eSafe customers with valid support agreements will receive the new anti-spyware features at no extra charge, Gruper said.

Source: eWEEK