McAfee Visual Trace to merge with firewall

In an attempt to add a new layer of features to its Personal Firewall service, McAfee.com will integrate the Visual Trace traceroute application with its firewall in March, according to Sam Curry, McAfee.com security architect.

Visual Trace is a traceroute application that allows users to discover information about Web sites, networks and the routes their computers take to connect to other computers on the Internet. By integrating it with the McAfee.com Personal Firewall, a user will be able to run traces when the firewall sends an alert that attempts are being made to connect to their computer, Curry said.

Running such a trace will enable users to receive information about who is trying to connect and their network connection and then report that data to law enforcement or to McAfee.com's shared database, Curry added. Users will even be able to perform traces on any past events stored in their firewall logs, he said.

McAfee.com, which is distinct from its corporate sibling McAfee, offers Web-based subscription services for consumers. Adding the ability to track people who may be attempting to break into home computers is important, Curry said.

"People are becoming more aware that hackers are turning away from corporate targets," he said. "There's a strong shift towards hacking home PCs."

While that trend is exacerbated by the growth of high-speed, always-on Internet connections, users with those kinds of connections aren't the only ones who need firewalls, according to Curry.

"People know they need a firewall on broadband," Curry said. "They don't know they need one on dial-up and they do."

Though computers that connect to the Internet over standard modems have generally not been seen as targets for attackers, Curry said that is changing. In an attempt to help fight this trend, McAfee.com is pursuing bundling agreements with Internet service providers that would see McAfee.com services included in the software package new subscribers are given, he said.

Visual Trace will be available as part of the McAfee.com Personal Firewall Plus service, which will cost US$39.95, Curry said. Users of the standard Personal Firewall service will be able to use the standalone, fuller-featured version of Visual Trace, available for $29.95, Curry said.

Visual Trace was formerly known as NeoTrace and was acquired when McAfee.com bought NeoWorx Inc., the company that made NeoTrace.

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