[ISN] AT&T plans CNN-style security channel

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Fri Jun 24 01:22:20 EDT 2005


By Stephen Lawson 
& Robert McMillan
IDG News Service

Security experts at AT&T are about to take a page from CNN's playbook. 
Within the next year they plan to begin delivering a video streaming 
service that will carry Internet security news 24/7, according to the 
executive in charge of AT&T Labs. 

The service, which currently goes by the codename Internet Security 
News Network, (ISN) is under development at AT&T Labs, but it will be 
offered as an additional service to the company's customers within the 
next nine to 12 months, according to Hossein Eslambolchi, president of 
AT&T's Global Networking Technology Services and AT&T Labs 

ISN will look very much like Time Warner's Cable News Network, except 
that it will be broadcast exclusively over the Internet, Eslambolchi 
said. "It's like CNN," he said. "When a new attack is spotted, we'll 
be able to offer constant updates, monitoring, and advice." 

The online video channel will feature interviews with AT&T security 
professionals, as well as experts from a variety of different 
organizations like network hardware vendors and the U.S. Department of 
Homeland Security's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT). 
All the while, news on the latest security vulnerabilities will stream 
across the bottom of the screen, much like the ticker symbols used by 
TV news networks, Eslambolchi said. "You will see... what viruses 
exist and where they came from," he said. 

AT&T also plans to provide its own analysis of Internet security 
threats, culled from probes of AT&T's massive TCP/IP networks that can 
be used to help predict where and when attackers will strike with new 
exploits. "We extract intelligence and knowledge from the network and 
we do data analysis, data mining, and we do artificial intelligence on 
the network," Eslambolchi said. "We use that to create a cybersecurity 
index to see where these worm and viruses and phishing and pharming 
attacks are coming from." 

While a number of information services and Web sites monitor Internet 
security, nobody has managed to develop a single point of contact that 
addresses all security concerns, said Andrew Jaquith, senior analyst 
with The Yankee Group in Boston. "There is really no good, consistent 
source for security information on the Internet," he said. 

AT&T's streaming video service would be the first attempt to meet need 
by using video, Jaquith said. "This sounds like something pretty 
innovative to me. Personally, I'd check it out." 

ISN is part of a larger research and development effort within AT&T to 
build new ways of protecting networks from attack. Called the "Cyber 
Security Defense Initiative," the effort has produced a number of 
technologies that the company is using to strengthen its TCP/IP 
network, Eslambolchi said. 

Eslambolchi likened the effort to former U.S. President Ronald 
Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative, also known as Star Wars. "My 
strategy in AT&T is the Star Wars concept because I am not in a cold 
war with these crooks anymore, I am in a nuclear war," he said. "Every 
time they form a nuclear missile, I have to know where they are going 
to hit me and I have to devise a new defense mechanism." 

Using a Cyber Security tool called the Traffic Analysis System, AT&T 
was able to anticipate the Sasser worm outbreak 12 hours before it hit 
the Internet last year, Eslambolchi said. 

Later this month, another Cyber Security technology called Cloaking 
will go live, making it much more difficult for attackers to hit 
AT&T's Internet backbone, Eslambolchi said. "None of the routers on 
our backbone will have any big Internet routes in them," he said. "Our 
routers will never be visible to these crooks or anybody else." 

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