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Arxceo's appliances work as a virtual server, intercepting all probes made of the network and sending back false data to the source of the probe so that a hacker is provided with misleading information about the network. The Ally appliances are "invisible", having neither a TCP/IP nor MAC address. Arxceo's appliances use tagging technology to add information such as IP address and time stamps to the packet returned to the originating source, using IP source authentication techniques to determine the identity of the source. If the source is determined to be authentic, traffic can then be let through to the network.

Even if the source is determined to be authentic and is let through the first anti-reconnaissance engine, Arxceo has a number of other tricks up its sleeve to prevent other exploits from being targeted against a network. It has a second, more advanced anti-reconnaissance engine that can prevent exploits such as stealth scans, where a hacker tries to prevent the request for connexion from being logged. Arxceo's Ally technology will respond to such an attack by sending back misinformation, hiding what ports are open and addresses in use. Tests indicate that there is zero change of an attacker predicting the sequence numbers for connexion IDs that Arxceo's Ally imposes.

For more advanced anti-reconnaissance techniques, the technology relies on anomaly and behavior-based protocols for determining whether traffic is good or bad. If a hacker is abusing a certain communications protocol to appear as good traffic, the anomaly-based attack prevention engine will direct the traffic into a black hole. Or where the behavior of the traffic is seen as unacceptable, such as where a hacker is looking for open user datagram protocol ports, or where it does not align with behavioral policies set by the enterprise, it will be stopped by the behavior-based attack prevention engine.

Benefits: the bottom line

The prime benefits of using such anti-reconnaissance technology are not just that it will stop zero day attacks, but that it is "management light". You won't even know that the technology is there. The appliances can be plugged into existing networks without the need for network modifications. Since the network cannot be breached, signature and characteristic-based techniques are not needed. The company no longer needs to maintain and constantly update resource-guzzling databases of signatures for all the malware threats that they face.

As the threats that we face grow in both number and complexity, better techniques are required for guarding against them. We need proactive tools that can counter attacks previously not seen, rather than reactive tools based on signatures. It's time to meet the enemy in the field and turn the enemy's tactics against them.

Copyright © 2007, IT-Analysis.com

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