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AT&T beefs up cybersecurity tools

The company is introducing an extra layer of security to protect enterprise networks from denial-of-service attacks.

AT&T on Tuesday unveiled a security feature designed to help its enterprise network customers counter denial-of-service attacks.

The new network-based software tool, when integrated with the long-distance giant's existing intrusion-alert service, AT&T Internet Protect, works to stop denial-of-service (DoS) and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) traffic within the AT&T network, sparing its customers.

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AT&T Internet Protect, launched in March, scans the traffic that flows on the company's global network for potential threats and alerts customers to possible problems.

The new DDoS Defense mechanism, which is based on technologies developed by Cisco Systems and Lexington, Mass.-based Arbor Networks, works by picking out discrepancies in enterprise traffic flows and comparing them with normal traffic behavior, patterns and protocol compliance.

Within seconds of identifying an attack, the suspicious traffic is diverted for scrubbing to remove the attack flow from legitimate online transactions, AT&T said.

In a typical DoS or DDoS attack, networks are hit with millions of packets, which overwhelm servers and routers and can cause significant downtime and lost productivity.

In a 2003 study conducted by the Computer Security Institute and the FBI, enterprises and government agencies cited DoS attacks as the second-most expensive computer crime, AT&T said. The average enterprise loss from a DoS attack exceeded $1.4 million.

AT&T Internet Protect is available now in the United States. Pricing was not released.