Cisco pushes for license to surf

Eugen Leitl eugen at
Thu Nov 20 06:07:05 PST 2003

Dumb, dumb idea. Almost as bad as Palladium.

Cisco security initiative
4 major firms working to head off Net attacks

David R. Baker, Chronicle Staff Writer 		Wednesday, November 19, 2003

In an unusual alliance among staunch competitors, Cisco Systems will
collaborate with three of the largest computer security firms to fight virus
and worm attacks.

Cisco, Network Associates, Symantec and Trend Micro will develop a new system
for protecting networks against infection. The system, which the four firms
hope to start selling early next year, will be able to block network access
to any computer or device that doesn't have its own security measures in

Hackers' increasing sophistication -- as well as a little competitive
pressure -- drove the companies to work together.

In a conference call Tuesday, the chief executives of all four firms said
virulent programs like Blaster and Slammer demanded a more coordinated

with security programs and hardware working together off a shared set of

"Clearly, nothing like this can be done without collaboration among industry
leaders," said John Thompson, CEO of Symantec Corp.

Cisco helped bring the competing security firms together by describing the
initiative to customers and asking them to lobby Network Associates, Symantec
and Trend Micro to participate, said Bob Gleichauf, Cisco's chief technology
officer for security.

And knowing that their competitors were interested, none of the firms wanted
to be left out in the cold, he said.

"Everybody realized that it was in their interests and in the customers'
interests to do this," Gleichauf said in an interview.

Other security firms will be allowed to join the initiative by licensing the
necessary software.

The system under development will allow a computer network to check the
safety of incoming traffic. Any device trying to connect to the network will
be checked to see whether it has security measures already in place.

Those that don't can be denied access, shunted off into a quarantined segment
of the network or forced to download a security program.

The announcement of the collaboration had little effect on the companies'
stocks. Cisco closed down 1.45 percent at $21.73. Network Associates slid
5.44 percent to $13.03, Symantec Corp. dropped 7.13 percent to $61.35, and
Trend Micro gained 3.43 percent to close at $24.41.

E-mail David R. Baker at dbaker at

-- Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
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