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eSafe blocks hostile components

The company claims its software can selectively block malicious executables rather than shutting all of them out, as some other security software does.

eSafe Technologies, the U.S. arm of Israeli security firm EliaShim Technologies, will announce Monday that it's shipping an enterprise version of its "antivandal" software to block hostile Java applets, ActiveX controls, plug-ins, and pushed content.

The company claims its eSafe Protect Enterprise software can selectively block malicious executables, rather than shutting all of them out, as some other software does. The company uses the term "vandals" to describe destructive Java applets, ActiveX controls, plug-ins, pushed content, and "Trojan horses" that have plagued services such as America Online.

The new product, a scaled-up version of eSafe's desktop eSafe Protect software, also includes antivirus features and a "desktop firewall" to block specific IP addresses or URLs. Parent company EliaShim also markets antivirus software that is popular in Europe and Israel but hasn't penetrated the U.S. market.

"A National Computer Security Association survey said that 70 percent of corporations block Java applets and ActiveX controls at the firewall," eSafe chief executive Yael Sachs said. "Our mission is to enable everything good from the Net but keep out the threats."

Unlike computer viruses, malicious executables do not proliferate themselves, Sachs said. Viruses often have similar structures so antivirus software can scan for patterns to block related viruses, a technique she said does not work for "vandals."

Also on Monday, eSafe will announce an OEM deal with Axent Technologies to license components of eSafe Protect Enterprise for Axent products. Axent, which this week announced a deal to acquire firewall vendor Raptor Systems, will market the technology to its Fortune 1000 customers.

eSafe's target market for the product will be small- and mid-sized firms and departments of bigger companies.

The enterprise version of the software includes a central administrative console to create and enforce a security policy.

Although several vendors have targeted the market to block Java applets and ActiveX controls, so far the number of such "vandals" remains tiny compared to the 15,000 known computer viruses.

But software vendors are lining up to jump into the market. Finjan Software, another Israeli firm, has been the most aggressive with its SurfinShieldXtra client software and SurfinGate, its server application. Finjan has deals with nine major firewall vendors, including Raptor, to interoperate with Finjan or build Finjan's software into their products.

In July, McAfee, now know as Network Associates, introduced client software to screen hostile ActiveX controls and Java applets, then in October made a server component available to do the same thing.