[ISN] Elron Picks up Hacker Blitz

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Thu Nov 26 1998 - 19:23:49 PST

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    Elron Picks Up Hacker Blitz
    By Brian Hannon
    The web version of "barbarians at the Gate" is "Hackers at the Firewall." 
    Or, in the case of NFL Properties, it's a blitzing linebacker coming at
    the quarterback's blind side, and there's nobody back to help out. 
    Which is how Brian Davids, director of computer operations for NFL
    Properties, would feel without the protection he has on his system.
    Without a reliable, manageable security system watching the front door,
    corporations cannot safely invite customers or business partners into
    their respective online personal spaces while keeping intruders out. 
    Davids needed a more reliable solution after an unstable firewall
    periodically severed Internet access for the National Football League's
    West Coast publishing wing. Davids settled on Elron Software Inc.'s
    firewall to protect the NFL's myriad of sensitive data and copyrighted
    "I think firewalls are an absolute necessity," Davids said. "You want to
    be able to protect your documents. You want to be able to protect your
    network.  The only way to do that is put a firewall between you and them." 
    NFL Properties oversees league and team logos and photos and also produces
    all printed material, from Super Bowl programs to business cards. 
    "The big issue to me is the possibility of anybody being able to get in
    and access the servers," Davids said. "Being that we're the NFL and we're
    a nice target to hack, I wanted to make sure we're buttoned up, and I'm
    not opening someone else [in the organization] to an attack." 
    Davids noted that the NFL Properties Los Angeles bureau, which is separate
    from NFL headquarters and another NFL Properties office in New York, has
    had a firewall in place since installing its first Internet connection
    five years ago. The original firewall began crashing after the Internet
    connection was upgraded to 56K bps and began requiring house calls by the
    vendor's engineer. 
    "To me, if you're going to have security in place, you ought to be able to
    maintain it," he said. 
    Davids discovered Elron's firewall at a trade show two years ago and was
    drawn to its ease of use and the quality of the company's technical
    support, which he described as "amazing." He was planning to evaluate
    Elron when the other product failed for the final time. Grabbing the Elron
    software off the corner of his desk, he had it up and running in
    approximately two hours with help over the phone from the Cambridge,
    Mass., company. 
    "This is an embarrassing fact, but to this day I have not read a page of
    their manual. ... Anything complex they can walk you right through,"
    Davids said. 
    Beyond being comprehensive and accessible, the technical support has
    another attractive feature: It's free. 
    "I really get annoyed when you pay for software and then have to pay
    somebody to keep it running," Davids said. 
    Davids' Elron firewall incorporates two cards, one for the office network
    and another for the Internet, each with its own IP address. The firewall
    translates outgoing IP addresses, while attackers are denied entry because
    there is no way of knowing the range of addresses maintained behind the
    Elron officials said the firewall, which comes in a Windows NT version or
    a proprietary operating system edition called Secure 32OS, uses Stateful
    Multi-Layer Inspection technology to scan entire packets, including
    application layers. The product can support over 150 applications,
    services and protocols, including Web, e-mail, FTP and Java. 
    The Elron Firewall for NT ranges from $3,495 for 50 users to $10,995 for
    an unlimited number of users. The Secure 32OS version ranges from $4,995
    for 50 users to $15,750 for unlimited users. 
    Elron's GUI acts as a master security console where, with a mouse click,
    users can enable or disable access to Domain Name System, e-mail, FTP and
    the Web. The interface also enables users to specify policies. 
    "I can say, 'OK, everybody can come in,' or I can narrow the scope,"
    Davids said. 
    Company: NFL Properties, a division of the National Football League
    Location: Los Angeles
    The need: A more reliable firewall system that is easy to deploy and
    manageable in-house without visits from a vendor. 
    Status report: The NFL's publishing division installed Elron Software
    Inc.'s firewall in approximately 2 hours and has enjoyed improved
    performance and technical support. 
    Expansion plans: NFL Properties' West Coast office will continue to
    install upgrades of the firewall, the most recent of which offered
    graphical interface improvements. 
    The basics: Elron's firewall, which comes in Windows NT and Secure 32OS
    versions, offers Stateful Multi-Layer Inspection technology and can
    support more than 150 predefined applications, services and protocols. 
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