A hacker attacking a computer enterprise can compromise the system, steal everything of value, and completely erase his or her tracks within 20 minutes, according to the New York-based International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants.

In addition, spam, spyware, e-mail-borne viruses and other malicious code continue to spread via the Internet, endangering systems and data worldwide.

Meanwhile, federal and state regulations require that insurers, brokers and agents comply by taking reasonable precautions to prevent unauthorized access to the often-sensitive consumer data that resides on their systems.

With these kinds of threats and responsibilities facing insurance and financial services entities every day, vendors of security-related products are offering a variety of solutions designed to build up defenses and secure valuable information that resides on computer systems.

Following are just a few of the many products currently available.

o Panda Software has announced that the latest versions of its Platinum 2006 Internet Security and Titanium 2006 Antivirus + Antispyware products include an additional level of Internet protection.

According to Glendale, Calif.-based Panda, the upgraded products “don’t just check executable files, but also any file that could be downloaded when a user visits a Web site.”

The company said this is particularly important given a recently emerging threat in which malicious code is included in nonexecutable files, such as images or QuickTime or Flash files. “This has opened a new channel through which malware writers can distribute their creations, no longer depending on .exe or .bat files to enter them in systems,” said Panda.

Both products provide protection against a wide variety of online threats. This new level of protection can be configured according to the user’s requirements, although the company advises users to have it active at all times, especially when accessing “unusual Web pages or those with dubious content.”

Platinum 2006 Internet Security carries a retail unit price of $79.95 for 12 months of service, while single unit of Titanium 2006 Antivirus + Antispyware sells for $49.95 for 12 months of service, the company said.

Further details are available at www.pandasoftware.com.

o Goodmail Systems Inc. and PostX, addressing concerns over securing sensitive and high-value e-mail, have announced an alliance to deliver better security for “transaction messages sent from corporations to their customers.”

The companies are combining Mountain View, Calif.-based Goodmail’s CertifiedEmail system for trusted e-mail with Cupertino, Calif.-based PostX’s patented encryption technology. The combination, they said, will be of particular benefit to “banks, brokerages, insurance companies and other financial services companies.”

Goodmail said its CertifiedEmail service assures qualified users that “their messages are delivered to the server-level inbox of intended recipients with all links and images intact.” Outbound messages are imprinted with a secure token and presented to the user with an icon that assures consumers that the message is indeed from the company.

PostX’s Messaging Application Platform provides secure delivery, administration, processing and integration capabilities, the companies said.

“Any sender of high-value messages, such as banks, and financial services companies…requires two things–that messages are actually delivered to their customers and that those messages are secure in transit,” said John Ouren, senior vice president of sales and business development for Goodmail. “The combined solution…gives such institutions both of those capabilities in a best-of-breed solution that integrates seamlessly into existing infrastructures.”

Applicants for CertifiedEmail pay a one-time nonrefundable application fee of $399, although the company said it is running a promotional application fee price of $199 through the end of September 2006. Once accepted as a CertifiedEmail sender, commercial senders pay a per-message fee of one-quarter of a cent.

PostX did not provide pricing information. Further details are available at www.goodmailsystems.com and www.postx.com.

o WinMagic Inc. has announced the release of the latest version of its SecureDoc line of Windows-based disk encryption software.

The product is designed to address the fact that an increasingly frequent cause of data loss is via the loss or theft of laptop computers that contain valuable information. One solution to that problem is to encrypt the data on such machines, making it very difficult for anyone but an authorized user to access the information.

According to Mississauga, Ontario, Canada-based WinMagic, SecureDoc 4.1 encrypts information during a computer’s pre-boot sequence and employs security authentication from password to hardware token, biometrics and Public Key Infrastructure.

The latest version of the product features the ability to support Latin language passwords, faster encryption/decryption, and “support for a growing list of new cryptographic tokens and smart cards,” the company said.

Pricing information was not provided. Further details are available at www.winmagic.com.

o MGE UPS Systems, a provider of power protection to computer data centers and other operations, announced its new RemotePowerMonitoring service that automatically monitors customers’ MGE uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems around the clock, “assuring 7x24x365 online availability,” the company said.

This product is a response to the fact that not every threat to sensitive data comes from hackers and malware. In some cases, all it takes is a simple power outage to lose information and/or do damage to systems.

Any power disturbance or irregularity is instantly recognized and reported immediately to MGE’s Customer Care Center, said Costa Mesa, Calif.-based MGE.

The RemotePowerMonitoring service provides real-time notification of UPS anomalies and equipment status. When a fault is detected, a notification is sent via fax, e-mail or pager to one of MGE’s 150 factory field engineers. If a critical load is at risk, the company said a factory-trained technician will be dispatched immediately.

The service also offers a “watchdog” feature that generates an alert if communication is broken or breached between the UPS system and the Customer Care Center.

According to a company representative, there is an initial $695 hardware charge, with the service provided free for the first year. Further details are available at www.mgeups.com/us.

o InternetPerils Inc., a provider of automated products for Internet business risk management, has unveiled PerilSnap–a product the company describes as a “quick and easy way for users to examine the Internet near their IP addresses for potential risks to their network’s performance.”

Now in beta testing, PerilSnap is free to download, the Austin, Texas-based company said. Users can sign up for PerilSnap at www.internetperils.com/products/perilsnap.php.