NetWitness releases free version of security software

Company hopes free download of NetWitness Investigator package will drive users to other NetWitness products

NetWitness, a vendor of networking threat-analysis software, is offering a free version of its NetWitness Investigator package by download, the company said Monday.

NetWitness Investigator is different from most other network-scanning software in that it uses forensic tools to examine applications and changes on content on the network, as well as attacks coming from outside the network, said Amit Yoran, NetWitness' chairman and CEO. The software package gives users detailed analyses of malicious activity on their networks, he said.

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NetWitness Investigator is designed to address gaps in other cybersecurity products, he said. It can help users identify cybersecurity problems, insider attacks, and sophisticated outsider attacks, and it can help with IT audits and antifraud investigations, the company said.

The company, which split off from ManTech in 2006, has customers in the U.S. government and the financial industry, according to NetWitness, based in Herndon, Va.

NetWitness Investigator doesn't rely on a list of known threats to protect users from cybersecurity threats, said Yoran, former director of the National Cyber Security Division of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Instead, it looks for changes on the network and alerts users of possible problems, he said.

Sophisticated criminals and attackers sponsored by nations aren't going to use commonly known methods to attack their victims, Yoran said. "They're going to be using something a little more complex," he said.

Users of many cybersecurity products "are still unable to see a lot of the right information" about their networks, he added. Companies can be lulled into a false sense of security when they're using standard cybersecurity products, Yoran said.

Yoran hopes the free version will drive customers to the company's other products and services, and he sees the free download as a way to expose potential users to a new type of network monitoring, he said.

"We thought this was the right thing to do to contribute back to the community," he said.

The free version of Investigator is fully functional and ready for users to run on their networks. The free license allows up to 25 simultaneous users with a data capture of up to 1GB.

It also contains the major features of the Investigator Enterprise version, available for purchase. NetWitness has a YouTube demo page for Investigator, and the download is available on the NetWitness site.

The enterprise version of the software comes with Linux-based network appliances and is capable of remote network monitoring. The enterprise package of products includes Informer, an automated reporting engine, and Decoder, a data recording package.

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