Who's on your network?

Tuesday, 24 September 2002, 1:09 AM EST

Arkansas State University is asking for trouble. The school is in the midst of a major network upgrade that will eventually bring gigabit-speed network capacity to every dorm room and office on campus—making the network a tempting playground for hackers, says Greg Williamson, associate director of information and technology services at the Jonesboro, Ark., university.

For Williamson, a network intrusion detection system (IDS) from Cisco is the key to staying on top of the network—and its potential abuses. Whenever any one of these IDS components spots a potential security threat—a virus, say, or an impending hacker attack—it notifies a central management console. If the threat is serious enough, the system automatically pages IT staff, who can deal with the attack by shutting off access, reconfiguring systems, and even identifying a hacker's dorm room and calling campus security.

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