Symantec Secures New State-of-the-Art US Nationwide Amber Alert Network
Symantec Gateway Security Firewall Appliance, ManHunt IDS Intrusion Protection System, and 24×7 Managed Security Services to safeguard revolutionary network designed to deter child abductions in the US
Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC), the global leader in information security, has announced its participation as the security provider in an ongoing national public-private partnership that is transforming the AMBER Alert System into a state-of-the-art national network and Web portal known as AMBER Alert 911.
Because of the company’s security expertise and reputation in the industry, Symantec was selected by the AMBER Alert Web Portal Consortium (AAWPC), the group organised to develop and promote the new portal that enables US states to share Amber Alert information in a national system.
Symantec will provide external 24x7x365 security monitoring of the new AMBER Alert network host site from its security operations centers (SOCs), as well as monitoring of a backup location for redundancy. In addition, the new US nationwide network will be secured by Symantec Gateway Security 5400 Series firewall appliances and Symantec ManHunt network intrusion protection technology.
AMBER Alert 911, www.amberalert911.org was designed as a one-stop tool for law enforcement, broadcasters, and the general public to disseminate information in the fastest, most reliable way possible and using every available means of communication. The new portal leverages the technical infrastructure of Earth911, a nationwide environmental network that replaces thousands of hotlines with a single, convenient Web site and toll-free phone number. Like Earth 911 and its sister Web portal, Pets 911, the AMBER Alert 911 effort is spearheaded by Public/Private partnerships lead by Engaging and Empowering Citizenship (E2C), of Scottsdale, Arizona.
“AMBER Alert 911 is made possible through contributions from both the private and public sectors,” said Chris Warner, president and CEO, E2C. “Security was a huge agenda item when we initially started designing this network and Symantec received immediate and unanimous approval from all of the Consortium members. We commend Symantec for caring for our nation’s children and for its active partnership in helping ensure that this unprecedented network is protected from cyber threats day and night.”
“We share with the AAWPC an unwavering commitment to providing a safe and secure environment for children everywhere and consider it a privilege to be the AAWPC’s sole provider for security protection in this critical effort,” said Grant Geyer, vice president of Global Managed Security Services for Symantec. “Symantec Managed Security Services will leverage the global threat intelligence of our network of security operations centres to provide immediate notification and actionable guidance on emerging threats, in order to ensure the uptime and availability of AMBER Alert 911.”
The nationwide AMBER Alert network dramatically streamlines the process of entering up-to-the-minute information and sending that information to all relevant parties, from law enforcement, broadcasters, the Department of Transportation, corrections and probation officers, border agencies, utilities, and transit authorities to casinos, lottery commissions, and other partner organisations. Moreover, the system simultaneously sends out alerts to the general public via email, cell phones, pagers, and other personal communications devices; users simply sign up to receive the free alerts via their device’s service provider or their favourite broadcast media Web site. Partner organisations and the public are also provided a real-time radius of the search area, determined by possible routes of travel and elapsed time from where and when the abduction occurred.
Current AMBER Alert programs have only existed on the state level as separate entities relying often on outdated and unreliable standalone equipment to send alerts. The new nationwide system will provide US states with a much more robust and capable network able to deliver efficient real-time communication to law enforcement, media organisations and the public.
“The AMBER Alert Web Portal is a poignant example of how technology can truly make a difference,” said Art Brooks, president of the Arizona Broadcasters Association. “It also demonstrates that through the collaboration of corporate leaders such as Symantec, professional associations, and several government agencies, it is possible to bring about extraordinary and urgently needed changes that benefit an entire nation.”
The new Web portal pilot was launched in Washington and is scheduled to be fully operative in Washington and Arizona by early summer, with the remaining states preparing to roll out the system throughout the year. With unanimous support of the National Alliance of State Broadcaster Associations (NASBA), whose members actually developed the first AMBER Alert network and lead these efforts in all 50 states, the goal of the nationwide implementation of the AMBER Alert Web Portal is expected within 12 to 18 months.
Symantec Managed Security Services leverages global intelligence to offer fast and accurate analysis of security data to protect customers against emerging threats and reduce overall security risk. Its 24×7 real-time services enhance an organisation’s information security posture through continuous monitoring and management, expert analysis, and immediate response to potential security threats. In addition, Symantec’s SOCs have been fully audited and certified by independent third parties to meet industry leading standards, including BS7799 certification and SAS70 Type II audits.
Symantec Gateway Security 5400 Series firewall appliances will provide the AMBER Alert network a ready-to-deploy full inspection firewall, with an option to enable a complete network security solution to protect against various types of malicious threats. As the industry’s most comprehensive firewall appliance, it integrates full inspection firewall technology, protocol anomaly-based intrusion prevention and intrusion detection engines, award-winning virus protection, URL-based content filtering, anti-spam, and IPsec-compliant virtual private networking technology with hardware-assisted high-speed encryption.
Symantec ManHunt will provide high-speed, network intrusion detection, real-time analysis and correlation, and proactive prevention and response to protect the AMBER Alert network against internal and external intrusions and denial-of-service attacks. The ability to detect unknown threats, using protocol anomaly detection, helps eliminate network exposure and the vulnerability inherent in signature-based intrusion detection products. Symantec ManHunt traffic rate monitoring capability allows for detection of stealth scans and denial-of-service attacks that can cripple even the most sophisticated networks.
AMBER Alert Web Portal Consortium
The AMBER Alert Web Portal Consortium (AAWPC) is a multistate collaboration lead by the State of Washington, which is responsible for the development of the Web portal now being called AMBER Alert 911 that enables states to share Amber Alert information in a national system. AAWPC includes multiple states with multiple stake holders represented from each state in the process so that the network was actually built for and by the stake holders. The operations of the network are funded by a national Public/Private partnership wherein the private sector has and will continue to underwrite the development of the network. For more information on this partnership, you can contact Chris Warner at email@example.com
Symantec is the global leader in information security providing a broad range of software, appliances and services designed to help individuals, small and mid-sized businesses, and large enterprises secure and manage their IT infrastructure. Symantec’s Norton brand of products is the worldwide leader in consumer security and problem-solving solutions. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Symantec has operations in more than 35 countries. More information is available at www.symantec.com