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NetScout launches optimization platform for test labs

This week, NetScout launches a new optimization platform for test labs, Fortinet beefs up security, Cisco Talos weighs ransomware and Aqua Comms tests secure submarine cabling.

NetScout, based in Westford, Mass., recently announced general availability for an optimization platform aimed at boosting test lab performance. The upgraded software, TestStream 3.5 is meant to reduce the test cycle from weeks or days at a time to as little as 30 seconds, by employing automation. TestStream runs on NetScout's nGenius 3900 series packet flow switch product line, with the Test Lab Optimization platform geared toward optimizing network and application test labs.

NetScout's new product is envisioned along a lab as a service model for enterprises and service providers that need to run high-performance test labs, the company said. "Today's test labs need to do much more with less," said Brian McCann, NetScout's vice president and general manager, packet flow switch business, in a statement.

The new offering relies on Layer 1-4 integrated intelligence and is particularly suited for testing 10 Gbps, 40 Gbps and 100 Gbps network applications. The Test Lab Optimization platform has a capacity of 576 ports of non-blocking connectivity and integrates Layer 1 switching, test stream aggregation, rate conversions, and enables filtered data feeds for analysis.

Fortinet releases security fabric, firewalls

Fortinet, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., released a new security architecture that includes new firewall appliances and upgrades to its advanced threat protection framework.

The Fortinet Security Fabric meshes Fortinet's products with security products from other vendors to extend protection across the core network, remote devices and into the cloud.

"Unlike platforms loosely coupled at the management level, the security fabric weaves together highly sophisticated hardware and software, enabling direct communication between solutions for a unified and rapid response to threats," said Fortinet CEO Ken Xie, in a statement.

Carbon Black Inc. is the first vendor to integrate its technology within Security Fabric. Carbon Black makes endpoint security software that will now be able to communicate directly with Fortinet security tools through APIs engineered within Security Fabric. APIs for other third-party vendors will also be made available.

Fortinet's new firewalls, the 6000E and 2000E series, are also integrated within the Fabric, the company said. Each is powered by a new ASIC that permits up to 320 Gbps of firewall throughput and 80 Gbps throughput with all features enabled, depending upon the model.

The new firewalls will be available later this year.

Dell, Aerohive combine for unified management

Dell Networking and Aerohive Networks added features to Aerohive's management software that will permit companies to oversee Dell switches and Aerohive wireless products through a single console.

The companies, which last year announced a reseller agreement, extended that pact by adding unified management features to Aerohive's cloud-based HiveManager NG software. Companies can use the tool to manage Dell's N-series campus switches, determining such functions as policy control and port status.

Cisco assess ransomware

Cisco's Talos threat intelligence division says that it is currently tracking a widespread ransomware campaign using Samas/SamSam/MSIL.B/C ransomware variants. According to Cisco, SamSam is different than many other ransomware systems that may be launched by more focused attacks using phishing and exploit kits. Instead, SamSam distributes via compromised servers, allowing the malicious software to move laterally through a network.

Cisco highlighted the technical details of the ransomware attacks, which have leveraged JexBoss, an open source software used for testing and exploiting. Attackers gain access to a network and then encrypt Windows programs with SamSam to RSA-2048 bit encryption. Affected organizations are only spared if they made errors in their implementation of encryption algorithms, or if they are using Windows products that pre-date Vista, owing to compatibility differences. Attackers subsequently charge 22 Bitcoin to decrypt the entire system, or 1-1.5 bitcoin for each affected machine.

According to Cisco, the recent attacks demonstrate the continued persistence of ransomware as a "successful cybercrime business model." Cisco Talos added that a successful defense will come down to a multi-tier defense architecture and backing up valuable files.

Aqua Comms tests secure undersea cable

Aqua Comms, a Dublin, Ireland-based undersea network systems provider, recently announced that it has completed a proof-of-concept testing Ciena's WaveLogic encryption system. The encryption is intended to boost network security for the optical layer on Aqua Comms' America-Europe Connect (AEConnect) undersea cable system beneath the Atlantic Ocean, to comply with data protection legislation.

"By assessing Ciena's WaveLogic encryption solution to safeguard traffic across the Atlantic, we proved the capabilities of our infrastructure," said Greg Varisco, COO of Aqua Comms, in a statement.

AEConnect is the newest undersea cable system in the Atlantic, geared for data center connectivity between New York, Dublin and London. Aqua Comms tested Ciena's encryption software at 100 Gbps wire speeds and also tried out MyCryptoTool, a separate management interface from Ciena that allows IT professionals to remotely manage security and encryption.

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