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Can reputation services be applied to network security?

Reputation scores can be used to block spam, but can these services be applied to the security of the network? In this expert Q&A, Mike Chapple reveals which products are on the horizon.

Reputation services can be used as an antispam strategy, but can reputation services be applied to the security of the network? If so, what's the most practical way to get started?
As you know, administrators can use a "reputation score" to block potentially malicious traffic from entering their network. The ratings are determined by a third-party vendor.

To use this technology, you can purchase a subscription from a content provider (such as ReturnPath's SenderScore

or Trend Micro's Email Reputation Services) and integrate it with your existing email environment.

The system will then reject mail that doesn't match the normal sending patterns for a domain. For example, if Company X normally sends mail from the 12.7.8.x network, reputation services would reject a message purporting to be from Company X but arriving from the 122.45.x.x subnet.

I'm not aware of any products that allow you to apply reputation services to network traffic, but they're in the works. Cisco recently acquired IronPort, a reputation services provider, and announced plans to integrate its technology into Cisco's Self-Defending Networks architecture. The company expects to release products beginning in 2008.

More information:

  • See how reputation systems are gaining credibility in the fight against spam
  • Achieve network security with tomorrow's antivirus tools.
  • This was first published in September 2007

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