Starting next month, Internet service providers can offer its subscribers a
combined anti-virus/content filtering option from security software
developers Symantec Corp.
In the final stage of its beta release, the I-Gear for Inktomi Traffic
Server gives ISPs who use the Inktomi, Inc.,
caching machines the opportunity to set content filtering standards and let
its customers set their own anti-virus settings.
I-Gear will be commercially available in December, after the last beta
testing is completed by the three participating ISPs.
Although Symantec wouldn’t release the names of the ISPs, it’s safe to
assume EarthLink Inc., is included in the tests. EarthLink has a close relationship with the security company, offering
Symantec’s Security Check to it subscribers as a free service. Security
Check analyzes a computer for potential security hazards, referring them to
Symantec’s software products if there is a potential breach.
Gary Warren, Symantec senior vice president of service
provider solutions, said the product is the first to combine two essential
security options in one integrated program.
“I-Gear is the first set of integrated plug-ins to offer both content
filtering and carrier-class anti-virus protection,” Warren said. “This
product will give Internet service providers an exciting new value-added
service, helping them to stand out in a highly competitive marketplace.”
BloodHound, Symantec’s patented direct-document review software, scores
downloading pages for words that might be considered offensive. Depending
on the limits set by the ISP, the tabulated page is either finishes its
download or is rejected with a prompt to the user telling them the page is
deemed too offensive.
The software also reviews every Web document the user downloads. Windows
files, even compressed .zip, .lzh, .arj, and .arc files are scanned against
Symantec’s database of viruses. What makes the software unique is its
ability to determine whether unknown viruses may be present, as all viruses
leave certain “signatures” which can be detected.
Don Cahoon, Symantec product services manager, said the service is
available only on Inktomi’s machines, with no plans to include
others. Also, I-Gear only works on the Sun Solaris and Windows NT platforms.
“As of right now, I-Gear is directly tied and dependent on Inktomi and we
don’t have any plans to include other (caching products),” Cahoon
said. “What you have with I-Gear is a world-class solution using the best
enterprise-level caching machine. We don’t see a need right now to expand
Pricing for the service is established on a per-user basis, Cahoon said.
“The ISP can sell access to the package in any way it sees fit,” Cahoon
said. “Bloodhound is set by the ISP, not the user, but the anti-virus
solution is completely manageable by the user. After the ISP installs the
software in it’s servers, they don’t have to do much to get it running.
“In fact, it’s set up well for ISPs who want to set it up on two different
CPUs, one running the Inktomi caching and the other running Symantec; it’s
easy from a loadbalancing standpoint.”
To gear up for the ISP-level service, I-Gear officials set up a dedicated
technical support center for ISPs to call with questions. Training is also
available for helpdesk staff to get up to speed on Symantec’s software.
Symantec has been looking at providing an Internet option for almost a year
now, when it acquired the I-Gear web filtering technology from URLabls,
Inc. I-Gear had, until then, been primarily marketed as a Web content
filter for schools around the nation.
Symantec quickly revamped the service, pinning on its anti-virus
capabilities and repackaging the combination as an effective security tool
for corporations, ISPs and even governments. In July, the G
Provincial Government in South Africa awarded the company with a three-year
contract to protect its government employees.