FaceTime Protects Against Rogue IM and P2P Apps

The Foster City, Calif.-based company attempts to protect the corporate infrastructure from unauthorized instant messaging and peer-to-peer applications and activity.

By Dan Muse | Posted Apr 6, 2004
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Recognizing that instant messaging and peer-to-peer (P2P) applications often enter the enterprise unbeknownst to the IT department, FaceTime Communications recently announced the RTG500, a network device that's designed to act as a security gateway for real-time communications.

The hardware device is designed to fit within the enterprise network without requiring any changes to other network elements such as firewalls. The Foster City, Calif.-based company reports that the RTG500 provides nonstop protection from unauthorized IM connections and unsafe IM features — such as file and image sharing, games and direct connections — by providing network usage statistics and controlling rogue behavior by blocking port scanning and dynamic port negotiation.

It also attempts to eliminate P2P file sharing with applications such as KaZaA, Grokster, and Morpheus — tools that are often downloaded by employees without IT's knowledge.

FaceTime says the RTG500 requires minimal IT administration resources and has no impact on network performance. Administrators can ensure corporate networks are safe from the latest threats through automated, real-time protocol updates. The RTG500 also allows organizations to standardize on specific IM networks as dictated by corporate policy and helps them adhere to compliance and regulatory mandates.

"Enterprise IM users can be easily manipulated to expose their corporate networks to attack. But keeping traditional software solutions current with the latest protocol updates can place an enormous strain on IT," said Matt Cain, vice president at META Group, a Stamford, Conn.-based research firm. "Hardware solutions that automate this process can maintain up-to-the-minute network security without overburdening administrators."

RTG500 offers key functionality in three areas, according to FaceTime:

Detection:

  • Detects network behavior of public IM networks and P2P applications
  • Generates IM and P2P activity reports, including bandwidth and application behavior
  • Deploys within existing network infrastructure

Protection:

  • Blocks unauthorized IM connections, including protocol tunneling and port scanning
  • Defends the network by blocking unsafe IM features such as games, image sharing and direct connections
  • Blocks P2P file sharing applications, including popular VoIP applications

Extension and Integration:

  • Provides integration with FaceTime's suite of IM proxy solutions installed behind the corporate firewall
  • Offers Cisco AVVID and Symantec SESA certification.

FaceTime reports that the RTG500 is currently available and that pricing starts at $5,000.

In a related move, FaceTime announced the release of RT Monitor, a free utility that's designed to detect all real-time communications activity across a network. The utility is designed to show IT administrators how IM, P2P and VoIP applications are being used throughout their enterprises, so potential security and compliance risks can be assessed.

RT Monitor provides reporting on the number of connection attempts, number of messages and file transfers, bandwidth consumed and ports used by real-time communications applications so IT can get a clearer picture of existing usage and plan for best practices, management, security and risk mitigation, according to FaceTime.

RT Monitor provides usage statistics on the following networks: AIM/ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, FastTrack (KaZaA), Gnutella, MFTP, and Skype. The tool available for download here.

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