Pedophile-Hunting Technology Aimed at Insider ThreatsBy Matt Hines | Posted 2006-05-22 Email Print
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NextSentry is launching its initial product, a software package aimed at helping companies fight the threat of insider data loss, which has its roots in helping law enforcement catch sex offenders.
NextSentry is hoping software partially derived from a pedophile-tracking application can keep corporate insiders on the security straight and narrow.
Security applications vendor NextSentry and its initial product offering were launched May 22, promising to bring sophisticated natural language processing capabilities into the enterprise security content filtering market.
The most intriguing element of the company's new ActiveSentry software: the product's roots in public service and law enforcement.
The firm's parent company, Next IT, sells a software package of the same name and technology that is used by government agencies for a number of data filtering purposes, including luring sex offenders online.
In that application, the software is used to conduct automated conversations, posing as a teenager, with individuals in Internet chat rooms.
If a person engaged in a chat by the application uses terms that indicate that the person might be a predator, an automated system alerts law enforcement officials who can take over the online conversation and move their investigation forward if necessary.
Leaders at the firm, which is based in Spokane, Wash., say they believe some of the same technologies can also be of great use within private enterprises for identifying sensitive information traveling over IT networks, such as customer account details or product design information.
The key in making such technologies successful, the ability to accurately discern what data is being handled appropriately and what information is being misused, is at the heart of both applications, company officials said.
The growing awareness around the so-called insider threat, or the problem of losing important corporate data through the actions of trusted employees rather than via outside attacks, makes the timing right for NextSentry to launch, said Jim Hereford, the company's chief executive.
The CEO maintains that by putting powerful content filtering tools on corporate networks that record nearly every keystroke landed by an end user, or every Web site they visit, companies can almost immediately determine when someone is circumventing security policies.
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