RealTime IT News

Lucent Switches Gears with New DNS Security Tool

Though best known for its optical, data and voice networking applications, Murray Hill, N.J.'s Lucent Technologies Wednesday unveiled something different; a monitoring service to protect domains from those with bad intentions.

DNS ProPerformance helps mind a customer's domain name system (DNS), a service that translates a host name to a numeric IP address, by scanning a customer's DNS infrastructure for security vulnerabilities from hackers. In addition, it's quite the diagnostic administrator because it performs more than 70 tests to assure that the DNS configuration is operating without any glitches.

How does this work? As previously stated, IP-based applications refer to a DNS server to translate domain names to their IP addresses in a numeric form. DNS ProPerformance helps ensure reliable DNS performance for applications. It notifies systems administrators of inaccurate or invalid DNS information that would render a site or application unreachable to prevent service glitches.

When problems are detected, the software sends e-mail notifications to the administrators, which saves them troubleshooting time. The product, a departure from the company's usual switch and router offerings, was created under the aegis of the Network Software Group.

"DNS-related errors are the second most frequent reason for failed Internet connections," said Madan Kumar, vice president of the Network Software Group in Lucent Technologies. "The DNS ProPerformance gives customers an automatic and proactive DNS management approach to provide carrier-class reliability and availability for their domain names."

Cricket Liu, DNS specialist and author of the O'Reilly & Associates Nutshell Handbook, "DNS and BIND," took a peek at DNS ProPerformance and discussed the importance of such applications at a time when security concerns run at all time highs.

"Because of the complex nature of DNS, companies often neglect to manage and configure DNS properly. This puts critical infrastructure, such as web presence and e-mail traffic, at risk," Liu said. "This new service provides a fast and simple way to get a comprehensive health report on DNS from an external source. It offers clear reports and detailed recommendations that are helpful in identifying and correcting configuration problems and security weaknesses."

Research yields huge estimates for the information security industry. RBC Capital Markets said in a recent report that corporations and governments will invest more than $30 billion per year by 2005 to protect information systems from terrorist and other security threats. It also said that, to date, low or inadequate security expenditures resulted in 15 billion in losses last year related to network security breaches, viruses and other hacker attacks. Companies and organizations, the firm said, spent only $10 billion by way of comparison.