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Blue Coat unveils proxy anti-virus appliance

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Jun 22, 20043 mins
NetworkingSecurityViruses

A new security appliance from Blue Coat Systems will allow companies to scan Web traffic to their network at a high speed, spotting viruses and malicious file downloads from Web pages or Web-based e-mail at the network perimeter, the company said on Monday.

A new security appliance from Blue Coat Systems will allow companies to scan Web traffic to their network at a high speed, spotting viruses and malicious file downloads from Web pages or Web-based e-mail at the network perimeter, the company said on Monday.

The Blue Coat ProxyAV is an appliance 1.72 inches high, or about 1U, that scans traffic to Web browsers for Trojan horse programs, Internet worms and malicious content buried in HTTP traffic. By joining anti-virus detection to Blue Coat’s proprietary operating system and dedicated hardware platform, the ProxyAV is designed to make anti-virus scanning of Web traffic feasible for large networks and give executives the ability to see how employees are using the Internet, said Steve Mullaney, vice president of marketing at Blue Coat.

ProxyAV works together with Blue Coat’s ProxySG series appliances. Inbound Web traffic is scanned first by the ProxySG to determine whether it contains content that needs to be scanned. Web objects that meet the ProxySG’s criteria are sent to the ProxyAV appliance, which scans them for viruses. Objects that are found to contained viruses are discarded. Objects that pass the scan are returned to the ProxySG appliance and cached for future reference.

The new appliance is available in two models, a 400 and 2000 series, and works with anti-virus engines from Sophos PLC, Network Associates’ McAfee antiv-irus unit, Trend Micro and Panda Software SL.

The 400 series comes in two models: the 400-E0, which features an 850 MHz Intel Celeron processor and 512M bytes of RAM, and the 400-E1, which comes with a 1.26 GHz Intel Pentium III processor. The 2000 series ranges from the 2000-EO, which features a 2 GHz Intel Xeon processor and 768M bytes of RAM, to the 2000-E3, which features two 2.4 GHz Xeons and 3G bytes of RAM.

The appliances can process up to 249M bit/sec of throughput with just 4 milliseconds of latency, on average, for Web traffic, Blue Coat said.

The State of Delaware investigated ProxyAV after being hit by a number of viruses which required considerable time and effort to remove from the network, which serves Delaware’s State Police, Governor’s office and most state departments, said Glenn Wright, senior telecommunications technologist for the state’s Department of Technology and Information.

The state tested ProxyAV on its 35,000 person network of state employees, then expanded its use of the product, clustering three devices and extending coverage to its 114,000-user education network. The product has helped Wright and his team stop viruses borne by Web-based e-mail, which averaged over 1,000 a week on the education network alone. It has also helped information technology staff spot the source of outbreaks on the network when they do occur and the destination of attacks, he said.

So far, users haven’t noticed any slowdown in Web traffic, he said.

Blue Coat still has some things to “work out” in ProxyAV, he said, including the need for easier configuration when the device is first deployed, some changes to the user interface, and configuration issues with some Cisco Systems Inc. hardware, which Wright blamed on Cisco rather than Blue Coat.

The Blue Coat Proxy AV is available immediately from Blue Coat and its partner companies. Prices range from $4,500 to $21,000 for higher-end devices, the company said.