Start-up banks on hack-proof Linux

Start-up Guardian Digital has launched an effort to sell a version of Linux that's less vulnerable to attack, a niche the company hopes will gain it a foothold in the market for the Unix-like operating system.

The Allendale, N.J.-based start-up released its EnGarde Secure Professional product Tuesday, a version of Linux that comes with management tools and server software designed to thwart attacks. The product costs $549, plus $219 per year for a mandatory software update service.

Linux, like the Unix operating system on which it's based and other operating systems, has had its share of security problems, but often the problems come with higher-level software such as the SNMP service for letting administrators manage servers or the Apache program for sending Web pages to browsers. Guardian Digital aims to stomp out many of those problems by what software is used, testing it with the other software and in some cases writing new programs, said Chief Executive Dave Wreski.

For example, the company wrote management software that substitutes for SNMP. It's not as vulnerable to attack, Wreski said, though widely used management software such as IBM's Tivoli can't control it.

It's a viable niche for a select group of customers," said Giga Information Group analyst Stacey Quandt of Guardian Digital's product. But it's not easy to find a place at the Linux table where revenue is sparse and Red Hat dominates.

News source: C|net

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