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Is Navigator too powerful?

The Gryphon Group is beta-testing Web server software that allows Navigator users to post files on a Web site without using email or FTP.

A small New York firm is beta-testing Web server software that allows users of Netscape Communications' Navigator browser to post files on a Web site without using email or FTP.

But the $250 product, called Acquire, the first of six Web-based products from The Gryphon Group, could raise security concerns among corporate computing chiefs.

The software lets users residing behind a company firewall post information on external Web sites using HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol). That capability, which can be remedied by installing a proxy server to monitor outgoing as well as incoming data, could violate network security rules in companies that bar sending files out using file transfer protocol.

"With every advance, new issues arise, and then there are new solutions for those new issues," Gryphon CEO Sean Lucey told CNET. He argued that the benefit of easily posting information with a Web browser outweighs the security concerns.

"You don't have to own a Web server to share information. Now you can post it on the equivalent of public bulletin boards on the Web," Lucey said. To do so, the Web server must have Acquire, but no additional client software is required other than a browser that supports the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol.

When the product ships next week, Lucey said, Gryphon will name firewall vendors that will bundle a proxy server, including Sun Microsystems, which resells Netscape's Proxy Server. The proxy server can control outgoing information if desired.

Gryphon's new product line is targeted to Webmasters and managers of intranets. Next month it will release two content toolkits, Context Engine and Tear Out, the latter of which enables delivering advertising that goes beyond standard ad banners.

On tap for November is For@, an intranet workgroup product that expands on Acquire's capabilities. Another product, due by early 1997, will address workgroup productivity.