Cisco Declares War on Network Worms

Networking equipment giant Cisco Systems and
a trio of allies in the anti-virus industry Tuesday declared war on
malicious network worms.

In a partnership with security specialists Network Associates
, Symantec and Trend Micro,
Cisco launched its Network Admission Control program to
thwart the spread of worms across enterprise IT networks.

Cisco, which makes a range of
security products
in addition to routers and switches, said the program will provide increased protection
for businesses at the risk of virus infection from remote user connections
to networks.

The program, part of Cisco’s Self-Defending Network Initiative, could be
particularly helpful in blocking infection from the likes of Blaster
and SoBig
two recent network worms that wreaked havoc on corporate networks
globally.

The Network Admission Control program is designed to allow Cisco’s
routers to assign privileges when a remote user (the ‘endpoint’) connects to
an enterprise network. Those endpoints, Cisco explained, are the biggest
risk to a network because, for the most part, security patch deployment
cannot reach home users who are not connected to the network.

“Recent worm and virus infections have elevated the issue of keeping
insecure nodes from infecting the network and have made this a top priority
for enterprises today…Many organizations were successful at stopping
recent worm attacks at their Internet boundaries, yet still fell victim to
the exploits when mobile or guest users connected their infected PCs
directly to internal local area networks,” Cisco explained in a
statement.

“Eliminating this type of threat will require a combination of
strengthened policies and network admission control systems,” the company
added.

In the interim, the program will be married to security software
offerings from Network Associates, Symantec and Trend Micro and will target
individual systems running Windows 2000, Windows NT and Windows XP.

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