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Network Associates sniffs traffic

The company is updating its Distributed Sniffer System and Expert Sniffer products, which scrutinize various types of network traffic.

Network Associates (NETA) next month will launch software updates to its Distributed Sniffer System (DSS) and Expert Sniffer network analyzer products.

The tools scrutinize various types of network traffic, including hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). The troubleshooting technology is also for network managers who need to allocate bandwidth across corporate intranets.

The announcement indicates that Network Associates will continue the breakneck pace it has been on since it was formed from the merger of McAfee and Network General last October.

The upgraded versions of the tools now recognize more than 300 different network protocols, including those found in Microsoft's Windows NT operating system and Cisco Systems' IOS (internetworking operating system), compared to the earlier versions that recognized around 250 different protocols. The NT and IOS support are key, due to their growing prevalence in corporate networks.

DSS 4.5 and Expert Sniffer Network Analyzer 5.5 also have new security features. The security options are broken down into three areas: authentication of user access, authorization of user access, and accounting of access.

For certain industries, such as the health-care and finance companies that DSS is targeting, restricted access to sensitive content that resides on company servers is necessary.

"This solution regulates who has access to the DSS system, so that only people who are properly authenticated can get access to it, with different levels of capability for different categories of users," said Richard Funnell, director of product management.

The software for the new version will be available at the end of the first quarter of 1998, Funnell said. For current DSS and Expert Sniffer Network Analyzer users, the authentication and auditing components will be sold separately as a product upgrade. DSS ranges in price from $7,500 to $18,000.

The newly formed company acquired Pretty Good Privacy and Helix Software at the beginning of December, adding PGP's encryption technology and Helix's PC performance software to its network security offerings. It also began shipping WebShield X, a suite of Internet security tools designed to protect against hostile Java and ActiveX applets.