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[ISN] Network Associates to buy IntruVert for $100 million


By Ellen Messmer
Network World Fusion

Network Associates said it has entered into an agreement to purchase
IntruVert Networks for $100 million in cash, an acquisition that will
give NAI a line of products as well as underlying technology for
intrusion prevention.

The deal, expected to be approved by regulatory authorities in about
45 days, will bring privately held IntruVert, which makes the
IntruShield 4000 and IntruShield 2600 appliances, into the NAI fold.  
It also puts a nail in the coffin of the strategic technology
relationship that began last May between NAI and Internet Security

At that time, NAI executives said the company intended to add ISS
intrusion-detection technology to NAI's high-speed Sniffer
traffic-analysis product by mid-year. But slow progress raised doubts
about the effort, and NAI executives a month ago acknowledged they
were looking at alternatives.

This week, it's IntruVert in and ISS out.

"We will not move forward with ISS in Sniffer," said Sandra England,
NAI executive vice president of corporate development and strategic
research. She added that she sees "no real application for [the ISS]
technology in our portfolio going forward."

IntruVert's technology focus is on intrusion-prevention, which entails
not just detecting attacks, but blocking them. The IntruVert product
line can be used as a passive intrusion-detection system, just
watching and reporting, or it can be used in the intrusion-prevention
mode of blocking a perceived attack.

IntruVert competes against products from Enterasys Networks, ISS,
Intrusion Inc., TippingPoint, and Recourse Technologies, which was
just bought by NAI archrival Symantec.

Corporate interest in using intrusion-prevention systems (IPS) is
growing as these in-line products improve their speed, accuracy and
fail-over capabilities, but many network managers are still reluctant
to actively block traffic, concerned that legitimate traffic may be
blocked by mistake.

While NAI is not going forward with the plans to add ISS intrusion
detection to Sniffer, it may look at adding IntruVert's
intrusion-prevention capabilities to Sniffer, though not by mid-year.

"We felt that in order to fulfill our vision to our customers, we need
to own the technology," says England. "And we feel the market is
moving from intrusion detection to prevention."

The $100 million deal with IntruVert may not be the last acquisition
NAI will make to buy its way into some cutting-edge technologies it
decided it won't develop in-house; NAI is still shopping around for
host-based intrusion-prevention, which blocks attacks on servers or

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