Lucent pitches anti-hacker tool for DNS

Telecommunications equipment giant Lucent Technologies Inc. last week introduced a new tool it says will help companies protect their DNS infrastructure from hackers.

DNS ProPerformance, available now, scans a company’s DNS infrastructure for security vulnerabilities, notifying administrators of inaccurate or invalid DNS information that would render a site or application inaccessible.

Lucent says ProPerformance conducts more than 70 tests to ensure the DNS infrastructure is operating without glitches, and administrators can specify how often they want the tests to run. The tool sends e-mail notifications to administrators with the results every time a test is performed.

“Companies don’t realize how important it is not to have errors” in their DNS servers, which translate domain names to IP addresses in numeric form, says Cricket Liu, author of O’Reilly & Associates Inc. Nutshell Handbook DNS and BIND and vice-president of research and development at Men & Mice Inc., a Reykjavik, Iceland, company that develops DNS software. “It’s easy to make a minor mistake that has bigger consequences” such as accidentally cutting off access to e-mail or a company’s Web site, she says.

ProPerformance competes with Cisco Systems Inc.’s Network Registrar, Nortel’s Optivity NetID and Check Point Software’s Meta IP. The tool will be part of Lucent’s push to boost its presence in network security management software.

“Software is not what Lucent’s known for, but to still have the business unit [Navis] around and make an investment,” into network security management software indicates Lucent sees this as an opportunity, says Paul Bugala, an analyst at International Data Corp.