The Best Defense Remains A Good Offense

INFORMATION ABOUT EVEN well-publicized security glitches and hacker attacks on corporate networks is often skimpy in details. That leaves many execs to wonder just how dangerous a particular security flaw might be, let alone how to prevent it on their corporate network. Axent Technologies Inc., a software maker in Rockville, Md., figures that the best first-line defense against hackers and security loopholes is intelligence.

Axent Vice-President Robert A. Clyde says the company, which makes Internet "firewalls" and other Net security software products, already has detailed information on more than 50 potential network-safeguard problems--many of them discovered by Axent's "SWAT" team of "ethical hackers." By publishing all of the details on its SWAT Web site, Axent believes it can help busy information-systems managers stay on top of serious Net issues--and perhaps steer them to Axent's security products. More than just a marketing tool, however, the site ( swat.htm) also links to bug fixes on other software makers' Web sites. And the SWAT page maintains links to hard-to-find Web sites that are home to hackers, making it an easy starting point for those interested in the hacker culture.

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