VeriSign Tackles Growing Internet Security Threats

SAN FRANCISCO –- VeriSign  CEO Stratton Sclavos said Internet security threats are growing and he gently chastised the industry for not doing more to help consumers stay out of harm’s way.

“The security industry is the laggard,” said Sclavos during his keynote session at the RSA Conference 2007.

“We’ve always said if we force customers to choose between ease-of-use and simplicity, they’ll always choose simplicity. We’ve said it, and said it and said it, but we haven’t delivered on it.”

Sclavos’ keynote was one in a series of sessions in which high-tech luminaries such as Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, Symantec CEO John Thompson and CA CEO John Swainson warned about the advancement of computer and Web security threats.

Sclavos, who also shed more light on the company’s ambitious Project Titan for protecting Web users, said too many solutions started from a technology innovation base, rather than a customer needs orientation.

As a result, consumers feel more vulnerable and less confident about using the Internet even though numerous security technologies, such as tokens and firewalls, have existed for years.

For example, while more people use online banking than ever before, Sclavos noted that some 32 million Americans still resist using it.

He also noted a certain irony that even as consumers feel less safe online, Internet usage is skyrocketing.

“This is the first generation of teenagers to live with the network always on,” he noted.

But viruses, botnets and other types of online mischief are only going to snowball. For every sensational and foreboding headline about data losses and security breaches, Sclavos said there are probably ten more breaches or flaws that go unreported.

VeriSign’s answer is Project Titan, an initiative the company said will bring its infrastructure investments to “north of a billion dollars” over the next three years to “keep us ahead of the bad guys,” Sclavos said.

Versign has been monitoring threats the past 12 to 18 months that Sclavos said enabled it to fortify it’s operations against the attacks.

To head off future threats, Project Titan includes Verisign’s plan to increase its current 20 gigabits per second (Gbps) capacity to more than 200 Gbps.

The company will also expand the number of daily DNS queries it can process from 400 billion to 4 trillion. VeriSign now receives 24 billion DNS queries each day.

The DNS capacity is important because a denial-of-service attack often attempts to overwhelm a system flooding it with queries.

“It will not be accepted to not have the ability to communicate and entertain online anytime anywhere in the next ten years,” said Sclavos.

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