Thus Announces Enhanced Security for SMEs

Thus plc has launched an enhanced security portfolio aimed at protecting its SME customers from web-based security threats. The upgraded Demon CPE Firewall Solutions will provide small and medium-sized enterprises with a state-of-the-art, all-in-one approach to preventing viruses, spyware and online intrusions. The new portfolio features products from leading firewall manufacturers including Check Point, Juniper Networks and WatchGuard, providing businesses with the flexibility to choose the security solution that best fits their business needs.

The enhanced product range has been designed to offer the highest levels of security based on next-generation Unified Threat Management (UTM) technology. Thus is one of the first operators to deploy solutions based on UTM, which provides multiple security features in a single box, and is one of the most advanced integrated security technologies available today.

Demon’s CPE firewall enhancements also offer improved security for businesses that need remote access to their networks. The solutions provide cost effective network security for remote offices with feature-rich appliances that integrate multiple security functions. For example, stateful and deep inspection firewalls, IPSec VPN, denial-of-service protection and web filtering. With remote working gaining in popularity, businesses will be able to offer employees full access to the corporate network with the knowledge that the connection has as stringent protection as the office LAN.

Nigel Stevens, product director at Thus, commented: “As businesses become increasingly reliant on their networks for the storage and distribution of sensitive data, they offer a tempting target for malicious web-based attacks. Businesses need to know that their critical data is protected from outside interference and the enhanced Demon firewall solutions can contribute to that peace of mind. Demon solutions enable business to have a flexible network with the most robust defences, all from the same provider in one easy-to-use package.”

The new portfolio will provide an affordable package to SMEs based on anti-virus, anti-spyware, intrusion prevention and application firewalling. The benefits of this unified security approach include ease-of-use and cost savings on hardware, enabling businesses to interact over the Internet with the knowledge that their critical data is protected against multiple threats through a single product.

At the same time Thus launched a new range of anti-phishing, anti-virus and anti-spam solutions to address the rise in Internet attacks. The services will be available to Thus customers who have Demon products, including small to medium-sized businesses and home workers, and will help to protect subscribers from the growing threat posed by Internet crime. Thus is the first provider to launch an anti-phishing service free with Internet access in the UK.

A surge in phishing, the use of spoof emails to trick Internet users into divulging confidential information to steal identities, in the first half of 2006 has produced a sharp increase in the amount of money being lost to online banking fraud. UK banks reported a 55 per cent increase in losses from fraudulent online transactions for the first half of the year. Losses attributed to phishing totalled £22.5 million, up from £14.5 million in the first six months of 2005, according to APACS, the UK payments association.

Thus’ anti-phishing, anti-virus and spam solutions will be included as standard with all entry level and mid-range products and services on both dial-up and broadband packages, providing users with additional protection and support. The services will be provided in collaboration with leading messaging anti-abuse company Cloudmark, leveraging real-time reporting and data collection from Cloudmark’s global network to deliver the fastest, most accurate blocking of phishing attacks, spam and widespread virus outbreaks. In addition, all email scanning is carried out while in the Thus network before coming into contact with the workstation, whether it be a Mac, Windows PC or PDA.

Nigel Stevens, product director at Thus, comments: “Between 60 and 80 per cent of emails being sent are now spam. Messaging abuse has become one of the biggest obstacles to customer satisfaction and now has a direct impact on a business’ bottom line. Whether you consider the time and cost associated with targeted phishing attacks and spam or the potential effects of a widespread virus attack – today’s businesses cannot accept the resulting damage to reputation and revenue.

“The service now being offered to Demon customers cross-references suspicious emails with known phishing and spam sites. Cloudmark’s unique methodology allows us to predictively block spammers and detect new threats at wire speed, before they reach user inboxes. A similar technique identifies and stops new virus outbreaks prior to mass distribution, reducing the response time from days down to minutes without delaying the arrival of legitimate mail and slowing down productivity.”

Thus’ new suite of solutions are complementary to traditional desktop anti-virus software which is able to block known viruses but can remain vulnerable to new outbreaks until an update or patch is installed. The new suite of solutions from Thus offer an additional layer of security for Demon customers and works in an automated fashion, quickly identifying, analyzing and blocking new virus outbreaks, phishing or spam email attacks before they propagate . Intelligent fingerprinting algorithms are able to identify spam and phishing even in a mutated form (for example, changes in text, code, URL, sender or image) giving users the fastest level of email protection available.