Colleges Select Network Security Appliances To Stop Malware-Related Data Breaches

FireEye Inc. recently announced that San Francisco State University, Santa Barbara City College and Connecticut College have deployed FireEye appliances to preemptively stop data breaches caused by malware that steals student identity data, misappropriates faculty research, and exploits campus computing resources.

FireEye security appliances help higher education institutions achieve the balance of maintaining the open networks students, faculty, alumni and administration need while protecting against malware intrusions targeting valuable data and resources.

“Our college and university customers clearly understand the value of the confidential data and resources housed within their campus networks and they are dedicated to protecting it from theft and exploitation by cyber criminals,” said Ashar Aziz, founder and CEO, FireEye. “They are among the growing numbers acknowledging that antivirus and intrusion prevention systems cannot detect the sophisticated, covert attacks happening every day through mainstream Web sites and applications such as Web 2.0, user-generated content sites.”

San Francisco State University’s IT infrastructure supports more than 30,000 students and 3,500 faculty and staff. The university had no prior campus-wide anti-malware protection and selected FireEye based upon the product’s advanced ability to protect against zero-day threats, low false positive rate and ease of use. San Francisco State University deployed the FireEye security appliances at the egress point of the campus border to help monitor the entire campus network traffic for malware and botnet activities.

“The FireEye appliance identifies bot-infected computers and detects malware on the campus network, allowing us to take a proactive approach to stop bots before they have a chance to do more widespread damage,” said Jack Tse, senior director, network and operations, San Francisco State University. “The FireEye appliance also helps mitigate the possible theft of sensitive and confidential student, faculty and staff data.”

Santa Barbara City College made the decision to deploy the FireEye security appliances after a six-week trial uncovered bots that were previously undetected by up-to-date antivirus and other security systems. The college had also evaluated a deep packet inspection device that proved too costly to implement and did not provide the low false positive rate FireEye offered.

“The FireEye appliances accurately found malware immediately, even the smallest intrusions, and detected activity in callback channels initiated from compromised machines,” said Jerry Thomas, network specialist III at Santa Barbara City College. “FireEye also eliminated false positives and reduced the syslog numbers, saving me critical man hours. I now have a very high confidence level, when we get an alert from FireEye, we know we have something.”

Connecticut College also recently selected FireEye’s security solution to fortify defenses against stealthy malware infiltration due to infections outside the campus gateway.

“Connecticut College takes user security seriously and hence, we enforce patches and antivirus on the desktop, and use Firewalls and IDP systems on the gateway,” said John Schaeffer, systems and server administrator at Connecticut College. “But because of remote users who are infected outside our gateway, compounded by the reality of spear phishing, zero-day, and targeted attacks, we realize that a signature-based solution does not provide complete protection against today's Web exploits and botnets.”

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