Security a bit of a DAG

Demand for greater security since September 11 has fuelled overseas sales of a Hamilton-made network-monitoring device.

Demand for greater security since September 11 has fuelled overseas sales of a Hamilton-made network-monitoring device.

Endace Measurement Systems’ DAG range of PCI-based PC cards can be used for network monitoring, traffic characterisation, packet content capture and intrusion detection.

In the mid-1990s Waikato University computing and mathematical sciences dean Professor Ian Graham reprogrammed a network interface card as a low-cost way of capturing real-world data on network traffic.

Endace, which has commercialised the subsequent product, claims NASA, France Telecom, Sprint and the US-based National Laboratory for Applied Network Research (NLANR) among its 40 customers. The company says these include the military, research organisations, ISPs and telcos, including three of the world’s largest.

September 11 brought a change in buying behaviour, says Endace, which claims a “hell of a lot” of subsequent enquiries from customers wanting to be able to look at the content of full packets for the security of a network, company or country.

Overseas organisations, mostly in the US, increasingly want to know how their network is behaving, its transit times, delays and network intrusion, says Endace. They want to identify denial of service attacks and capture 100% of the data going through the network for storage and later analysis.

Endace’s turnover is expected to top $10 million in 2002–03, treble what was budgeted for the previous year. And such is the demand that Endace manages without overseas-based sales forces, selling almost all its stock through the internet.

Endace chief executive Selwyn Pellett says the DAG cards — given the colloquiallism because they hang off the network, though overseas the term officially stands for data acquisition and generation — include a field programmable gate array, an integrated circuit that can be programmed after manufacture.

“They provide the ability to capture high-speed data off large ISPs at a rate that few [devices] are able to do,” says Pellett. “It has a very simple value proposition. How do you get data off a network into a PC through a standard PCI user interface to be able to do network analysis at any point on a network? A PC is the cheapest form of processing power available and our card is the cheapest way of getting that information off the network.”

Endace says it provides the ability to capture full network packets sent across networks at up to 2.5Gbit/s. It reports all of its cards have been sold overseas to date, suggesting that domestic organisations don’t have systems running at high enough speeds to benefit from them and the country doesn’t have the same level of security issues.

Pellet says Endace is developing a number of network surveillance products.

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