Norman Data goes NT

Norman Data Defense Systems recently unveiled a swag of new product developments, including a preliminary version of Norman Access Control (NAC) for the Windows NT operating system.

Mike Wynd, general manager of Norman in Australia, says the reason behind releasing an NT version of NAC was based on consumer demand, in spite of the fact that NT has security features built in.

"NT is a secure product - it's a C2 rated operating system so why would you release a security product for it? Under NT there's a secure operating system but there are still exposures."

According to Wynd, an NT system using the NTFS file system can be accessed through utilities that are available on the Internet.

"The NAC NT product will actually enable users to encrypt the entire hard disk," said Wynd, "so without the right access code there is just no way of getting information off that disk - it gives that added level of peace of mind, knowing no-one can knock off the data."

Wynd says the NAC software provides a secure log-in to Windows NT with password checking. "Basically, under NT and most operating systems you can make up a password which is anything and in some cases it can be the same as the user ID, which is not real hard for someone to crack."

"NAC applies rules processing to password construction to force users to use stronger password combinations."

NAC also manages the clipboard so that an administrator may say it is not possible to cut and paste from one application to another. "If, for example, a corporate account is using large Lotus Notes databases, it's very easy for a user to open up the database, select a whole lot of database records and copy them into the clipboard, paste them into a word document and e-mail the word document or copy it onto a diskette - NAC can prevent that," Wynd said.

NAC for Windows NT starts at RRP $370 for a single unit.

Anti-virus programs

Also in the bag of goodies from Norman is new privacy control software and a program codenamed "Catsclaw" that, in the words of Wynd, corporates are "getting hot and bothered about".

The Norman Access Control - Privacy software (RRP $99) has been developed in Australia as a generic product for data encryption rather than integrating it for specific mail systems. It is based around an American algorithm called Blowfish but built with a 448-bit key-length to the encryption algorithm, making it stronger in the system, Wynd said.

"Catsclaw" is an anti-virus program specifically aimed at macro and Excel macro viruses and will be incorporated into Norman Data's standard virus control products by May 30.

Unlike other anti-virus programs, Wynd said, "Catsclaw" has made the scanning process automatic whenever a document or file is opened.

"If you double-click to open a document, "Catsclaw" takes control, and scans and cleans the document before Microsoft Word has even had a chance to look at it, and therefore no other file can actually get infected by the macro virus, even if it's embedded in an e-mail," said Wynd.

"When we showed it to a few customers they went really funny over it. People were saying "God I need this, give it to me now", and there were a couple of people who just wouldn't let us leave the building unless we left the code with them.

"Macro viruses cause such big problems at the moment, and there are companies out there that are running products that don't have this capability. But everyday they're scanning their servers to try and find macro viruses, and it's just killing their performance and productivity. When they see something like 'Catsclaw' they go weak at the knees."

Norman Data Defense Systems

Tel (03) 9558 9011

Fax (03) 9558 9144