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Jennifer Mears, Network World Customers should expect to see enhanced, easier-to-use security tools from leading Linux distrib...

Jennifer Mears, Network World Customers should expect to see enhanced,
easier-to-use security tools from leading Linux distributors in the coming
months as vendors focus on making the platform tough enough to support even the
most critical business applications.
Gone are the days of having to bolt on Linux security features through patches
to the kernel. The Linux 2.6 kernel includes the hooks necessary to integrate
security directly into Linux distributions without modifying the kernel itself.
That means users should see offerings that fit right into their Linux
environments, analysts and industry experts say. Its a reflection of the
maturing of the Linux operating system and a growing focus on security by
As an example, Novell and Red Hat now build application security into their
Linux offerings. Application security technology limits access to operating
systems and protects applications and operating systems from internal and
external threats such as malicious code and viruses. The idea is to protect
data on Linux from application vulnerabilities without having to resort to
emergency patching.
Red Hat includes Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) in Red Hat Enterprise Linux
4. SELinux is a National Security Agency-backed project that enables users to
set detailed access controls to protect operating systems from threats.
Novell offers AppArmor, access control software it acquired from Immunix last
May. Novell has offered AppArmor as a stand-alone product since the fall, but
this week the company announced it was integrating AppArmor into its SuSE Linux
distribution. The company also kicked off an open source project built on key
components of the AppArmor code.
Developers can go to www. opensuse.org/apparmor and have full access to the
source code, says Charlie Ungashick, director of product marketing for Linux at
Novell. "That way, we will garner community involvement to review, test and
develop the technology."
Analysts say the move is a good one for Novell, whose biggest challenge is to
raise awareness of the AppArmor technology. Novell executives say AppArmor is a
simpler approach to application security than SELinux. Some analysts agree,
noting that today most SELinux deployments are in the government sector.
"Novell AppArmor is less complicated to implement than SELinux," says Stacey
Quandt, research director of security solutions and services at the Aberdeen
Group. "The challenge for Novell is not technology but marketing. By creating
an open source project around AppArmor, it may be of more interest to
developers and increase the mind share and use of the technology."
"For some users, the ease of implementing Novell AppArmor will be preferred,"
Quandt says. "Red Hat needs to make SELinux easier to implement and use."
Internet growth will come from AsiaJay Gillette, Network World US At the
Pacific Telecommunications Councils 28th conference in Honolulu, Internet
pioneer Vint Cerf declared that major Internet growth will now come from Asia,
which represents 56 percent of the worlds population. At 332 million users,
Asia currently weighs in at a third of the Internets 1 billion global users, a
penetration that only taps 15 percent of the population worldwide today, said
Cerf, who was recently hired by Google as its chief Internet evangelist. Europe
has 285 million users, compared to North Americas 224 million. Other
conference sessions focused on disaster recovery and international security,
more urgent in Asia as a result of the tsunami and South Asian earthquake
disasters in the last year. In his keynote speech, Cerf said he sees an
accelerating rise of Internet-enabled appliances as varied as refrigerators,
picture frames, wine corks, even an active surfboard. Also taking place in
Honolulu, the Intelligent Community Forum announced its annual list of the Top
Seven Intelligent Communities. The forum compiles this list based on how
advanced a community is in deploying broadband, building a knowledge-based
workforce, bridging the digital divide and encouraging innovation and effective
economic development. The Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2006 are:
n Cleveland, United States
n Gangnam District (Seoul), Korea
n Ichikawa, Japan
n Manchester, United Kingdom
n Taipei, Taiwan
n Tianjin, China
n Waterloo, Canada
Works on African cable are to start
Michael Malakata, IDG News Service African operators developing the East Africa
Submarine fiber-optic cable system (EASSY) are set to begin laying cable in the
second quarter of the year.
The system, being built to connect all African countries to high-capacity fiber
and provide a more reliable communication network, is supposed to be
operational in the second quarter of 2007, project officials said last week.
Several multinational companies, including Tyco International Ltd., Fujitsu
Ltd. and Alcatel SA, tendered bids for the project and contracts will be
announced soon, according to EASSY Project Management Committee Chairman Sammy
The African Development bank, the World Bank and the New Partnership for
Africas Development have recognized the project as a critical economic driver
in the region.

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