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Comdex's Secure Side
Michael Fitzgerald, SecurityFocus 2002-11-22

A sampling of the information security products on the menu at Comdex.

LAS VEGAS--Comdex Fall 2002 was far from previous year's heights, but still continues to function as a smorgasbord for the information technology world. No surprise, then, that some security companies were there serving up products.

At the same time, Comdex failed to draw many of the major security vendors. While the pickings were slim, some of them might prove interesting.

  • Zone Labs introduced version 2.0 of its Integrity enterprise security product. The firewall and administration tool now blocks "spyware" components, and beefs up data port management features. But primarily the administrative tools are now easier to use, and the product is easier to install.

  • Interactive Technologies Inc. released version 3 of Instan-T, which secures all forms of instant messaging within corporate environments. The new version supports more IM clients, encrypts all communications within an IM environment, including file transfers, and better communications inside the firewall. Base price for server-and-client license costs $30 per user. www.interactiveni.com.

  • SentryBay's ViraLock prevents Outlook and Outlook Express from sending out viruses. It encrypts e-mail addresses in the programs so that viruses can't replicate themselves. The product costs $19.95. A corporate version is under development, for release in 2003. www.viralock.com or www.sentrybay.com.

  • Sychip released a network interface card aimed at securing wireless LANs. Its 6060SDIO card is targeted at PDAs, smart phones and point of sale terminals that use 802.11b. Cyberbank, a South Korean PDA maker, said it would integrate the new card into its POZ handheld in Korea. www.sychip.com

  • Nextel, EDS and Sun announced a Sun One security portal template, aimed at encouraging corporations to allow employees with Java-enabled Nextel devices to access corporate information and databases.

SentryBay's ViraLock was the product that most impressed Norbert J. Kubilus, a partner at Tatum CIO Partners, Inc., the nation's largest provider of technology management services. "There's a lot of fifth and sixth-tier vendors here, but that one's real," he said, citing the market need and the company's pending process patent, which should help it fend off competition. He thinks SentryBay was smart to start with a consumer product, since corporations dislike buying products from unproven companies.

"The issue is always, do they have staying power?" he said.

Comdex typically features several small companies making outsized claims in an effort to get press attention. Even in this slimmed-down Comdex, that was true. In the security space, it was Stealth Media Labs, which said it has a way to prevent movies and music from being copied illegally.

Stealth's timing, at least, was good. Intellectual property issues were the subject of hot debate at Comdex, both on panels and in keynotes. Filmmaker George Lucas even got up during the keynote by News Corp. President and COO Peter Chernin and talked about the cost of piracy. It's individual entertainers, not entertainment companies, that stand to lose the most from rampant content piracy, Lucas insisted. "Corporations are like cockroaches," he said. "They'll survive everything."

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