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Axent offers network scanning tool

The company's NetRecon probes networks to identify vulnerabilities to hacker attacks from both the Internet and from internal users.

Axent Technologies (AXNT) has announced NetRecon, its software for probing networks to identify vulnerabilities to hacker attacks from both the Internet and from internal users.

The network probing or scanning tool tests a corporate network for weaknesses that attackers might exploit. It automates the process so instead of trying to find the holes, security managers can spend their time dealing with such problems. The new product rounds out Axent's offerings in providing security on corporate networks.

NetRecon also works with Axent's Omniguard/Enterprise Security Manager software for setting and managing security policies, and with Axent's Intruder Alert for detecting attacks as they happen.

"Most security vendors are adding complementary solutions to their product portfolios that competitors have or customers are asking for, and networking network scanning is one of the items where Axent didn't have a solution," said Jim Hurley, security consultant at Aberdeen Group.

Axent's new software subscribes to what Hurley described as the corporate requirements for scanning software: Scan multiple devices (routers, mainframe, firewalls), run multiple protocols on multiple operating systems, minimize the network load the scan produces on a network. How information is reported back is another factor to consider in software scanning tools.

"NetRecon gives us that outside expert's perspective of how secure your network is," Rob Clyde, Axent's vice president of security management, said. "We see it fitting in nicely with Enterprise Security, which gives you the inside view on how you do against certain practices and you also can use it to test intrusion detection software."

Hurley said Internet Security Systems and Netect also offer network scanning tools, as does Secure Networks Incorporated (SNI).

NetRecon identifies separate security weaknesses that may, in combination, make a network vulnerable, Clyde said. The product also scans multiple protocols, not just Internet Protocol (IP), including IPX, SNMP, and others.

To show results immediately, the software reports vulnerabilities as they are found and indicates how serious they are. That quick reporting is important because scans can take hours or even days to complete on a big network.

NetRecon, available now through the company or its resellers, is priced at $1,995 for limited use or $9,995 for a license to scan an unlimited number of networks.