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Cisco beefs up IOS security

Minor milepost in self-securing network drive

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Cisco Systems has launched a range of products to ward off security threats.

An upgrade to Cisco core IOS Software (Release.12.3T) should make networks more resilient to malicious attacks. New features include the ability to more easily segment networks into trusted zones. Also, it is now easier to identify the source of DDoS attack traffic, using Cisco IP Source Tracker. And improved support of the Extended Simple Mail Transfer Protocol makes it easier to inspect mail traffic for malicious code.

Cisco has added support to the next generation net traffic standard, IPv6, to its popular PIX range of firewalls. Rivals Check Point and NetScreen both added IPv6 support some time ago.

On the hardware front, Cisco has introduced the Cisco 7301 Router and Cisco VPN 3020 Concentrator. These appliances promise performance improvements of Cisco's existing range of secure router and VPN kit plus support for Cisco Security Device Manager, a management product designed to make setting up secure networks more straightforward.

The products are available now; prices are listed here.

Networks, heal thyself

Yesterday’s announcements represent the latest milepost in Cisco's Self-Defending Network. This is its strategy to improve the ability of networks to autonomously identify, prevent and adapt to a range of security threats.

The latest updates are geared towards adapting to security threats. Preventing attacks in the first place falls within the remit of Cisco Security Agent (CSA), the host-based intrusion prevention software inherited through last year's acquisition of Okena.

CSA protects corporates against worms such as Blaster and Nimda, and is positioned as a supplement to existing AV software and as a replacement for desktop firewalls. Cisco consultant Paul King told El Reg that the technology is not ready for consumers, because deployments must be carefully set up and managed. However punting the technology towards small and medium-sized businesses is very much part of Cisco's plans.

It is talking to ISPs about licensing the technology as a security add-on the business broadband connection packages. But no deals yet. ®

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