• United States

VeriSign aims to give customers early warning of potential attack

Nov 17, 20032 mins

* VeriSign launches Internet security service

VeriSign, which operates several key pieces of the Internet’s infrastructure, is offering an early warning system for corporate network managers concerned about viruses, worms and other hacker activity.

The company created the early warning system based on the analysis of traffic patterns it sees across the two DNS root servers and the .com and .net top-level domain servers that VeriSign operates under contract with the U.S. government.

“During the Sobig and [distributed denial-of-service] attacks last October, the traffic skyrocketed on our sites,” VeriSign Chairman and CEO Stratton Sclavos says. “We’re turning [traffic analysis] we do into an information service for our customers. We can tell them when we see them under attack so they can shut down ports and patch their systems.”

The goal of the service – dubbed Intelligence and Control Services – is to provide corporate network managers with an offensive weapon against Internet hackers instead of the defensive posture they’ve been in until now.

“We’re trying to change the way people view security,” Sclavos says.

With its service, VeriSign is turning the Internet usage, trends and patterns it sees into an information service for its enterprise customers. The service is designed to help corporate network managers proactively assess, monitor, manage and respond to security threats with real-time information from VeriSign’s network operators.

“The CIO of one county government told us that his staff spent 8,000 hours fighting Sobig,” Sclavos says. “We can help them by telling them what’s coming and providing a prioritized list of actions…so they can shut down the perimeter systems and start patching.”

As the Sobig attack began, VeriSign noticed that the traffic on one of its DNS servers grew from an average of 59 million hits a day to 1.8 billion hits a day. That’s the kind of information that VeriSign is going to provide in its new service.

One early customer of VeriSign’s new service is Exostar, an aerospace and defense industry online trading exchange.

Sclavos made his remarks at a private briefing for the press held recently in Washington, D.C.