Brady & Associates, LLC, located in Dinuba, CA, just south of Fresno, (affectionately referred to as the “no-tech” capital of California) has made a successful mark for itself in the arena of computer and Internet security.
The company’s products, ClearICE, ClearZone and ClearRoute, specialize in the analysis of several popular personal firewall product’s log files. This analysis capability allows users of BlackICE Defender, from Network ICE, ZoneAlarm from Zone Labs and WinRoute, from Tiny Software, to report malicious computer activity that is intercepted by these tools.
Personal firewall products have experienced an incredible surge in popularity in the past year, primarily due to the increase in the number of users utilizing ‘broadband’ Internet connections through services such as Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) and Cable modems. Users of these services are particularly vulnerable due to the creation of ‘static’ Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. These static addresses allow hackers to target the same computer for attacks over and over again.
Through the use of ‘port scanners’, special software written to scan thousands of machines connected to the Internet per second, hackers look for open ports on machines through which to gain access to information or ‘steal’ machine resources. Once they gain access they can create web servers to distribute pornography without the owner of the machine knowing that such activities are going on or collect private information from the computer for the purposes of stealing one’s identity. Users of dialup (standard modem) connections are vulnerable as well, however, only somewhat harder to access on a regular basis.
Installing BlackICE Defender, ZoneAlarm or other personal firewall products on your computer connected to the Internet protects you from such attacks. The problem is that these programs do not allow the user to access the data collected in order to determine the level of severity of the attacks or analyze the trends of the attacks in order to assist Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in gaining control of the problem.
Ben Brady of Brady & Associates originally created ClearICE Report Utility to be used in conjunction with BlackICE Defender in December of 1999. Brady’s flagship product, ClearICE, is one year old today and has been downloaded over 250,000 times.
During the last year the product line has grown to include ClearZone Report Utility for ZoneAlarm and ClearRoute Report Utility for WinRoute. Other products will be released soon to offer users of Tiny Personal Firewall the same functionality of reporting attacks.
Brady, a 30 year programming veteran stated, ” The problem with most of these personal firewall products is that they are anything but ‘personal’. Unless you give the user some useful information in order to keep them informed and allow them to make sound decisions regarding their computer security, they will continue to be subject to vulnerabilities that could be eliminated. The proper application of technology contributes the most significant gains to the economy, if that technology is allowed to be unprotected the ‘contributions’ could be catastrophic to businesses and individuals alike. While there are many problems in the realm of personal computing that are beyond individual solutions, this situation was one that I could do something about. ”