MEDFORD, Mass., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- In a major test of Web security, eWEEK is launching OpenHack III, an open challenge to penetrate and corrupt a fictitious Internet service provider (ISP) and e-commerce site being established by Argus Systems Group. OpenHack III is the third in a series of tests conducted by the newsweekly for building the e-business enterprise. The first, conducted in September 1999, evaluated the security of Windows NT 4 and of Linux. A June 2000 challenge included five different operating system platforms, a true e-commerce application and multiple layers of intrusion detection. "OpenHack brings users, vendors and hackers together in an attempt to tighten obvious and not-so-obvious vulnerabilities in typically used operating systems," said eWEEK Labs Director John Taschek. "What we learn from these challenges can prevent catastrophes from happening later." For the OpenHack III challenge, Argus is deploying three market-leading platforms, Sun Solaris 7, IBM AIX 4.3.3 and Red Hat Linux. Each of these platforms will be secured by Argus's proprietary PitBull intrusion prevention system. Instead of using traditional security mechanisms -- firewalls, intrusion-detection systems and host security applications -- that provide elements of perimeter defense security, Argus seeks to prevent intrusion with its system installed on Web-facing and other net-accessible servers. The eWEEK competition establishes an ISP and e-commerce site and sets four criteria to determine a successful attack on each of the four systems: -- Compromise a co-hosted ISP web server to deface the web pages of a fictitious competitor's web site located on the server -- Gain access to the DNS server and modify the DNS data files -- Crack into the shell server's file system -- Access database information from the e-commerce store Participants in OpenHack III will be provided with account passwords and login information on the servers. Argus is the raising the stakes over the previous competitions by offering $50,000 as the top prize to the hacker who accomplishes all four test challenges. Other prizes are $1,000 for breaking into one level; $2,500 for breaking into two; and $10,000 for three. A hacker in Gibraltar won the top prize of $2,500 in the June 2000 round. "E-business security has traditionally been associated with hassles and headaches, and cost and complexity -- and it still wasn't adequately secure," said Randy Sandone, president and chief executive officer of Argus Systems Group. "That's all about to change, and OpenHack III will prove it." OpenHack III begins on Jan. 15 and runs for two weeks or until a full four-level hack is achieved. Complete information about the challenge is available at http://www.openhack.com. About Argus Systems Group, Inc. Argus Systems Group, Inc., a privately held company headquartered in Savoy, Ill., offers a full suite of e-business security solutions and applications. Argus is committed to providing state-of-the-art security solutions for emerging next economy environments. Argus supplies the only trusted OS-based intrusion prevention system available to support multiple platforms, from desktop to enterprise server. Additional information regarding Argus Systems Group, is available at the company's Web site http://www.argus-systems.com. About eWEEK eWEEK reaches 400,000 core IT buyers at 257,573 fully Internet-connected sites that are currently conducting e-business. These leading e-business IT buyers purchase Internet and intranet products and services, networking and systems products in volume for their enterprises and have an average budget authority of $21 million. (Source: June 2000 BPA). eWEEK's award-winning editorial content focuses on e-commerce, communications and Internet-based architecture, enabling its readers to successfully evaluate, deploy and leverage new technology solutions for competitive advantage in today's Internet economy. eWEEK delivers the most relevant news and reviews weekly in print, daily on the Web and via Webcast -- and through Net-based and face-to-face conferences. About Ziff Davis Media Inc. Ziff Davis Media Inc. (http://www.ziffdavis.com) is the leading information authority for buying, using and experiencing technology and the Internet. It is the largest technology and Internet magazine publisher and the sixth largest magazine publisher in the United States. The company is also at the forefront in creating a new generation of consumer and business media that educate, entertain and empower people. In the U.S., Ziff Davis Media publishes 13 industry-leading business and consumer publications: PC Magazine, Ziff Davis SMART BUSINESS for the New Economy, Yahoo! Internet Life, FamilyPC, Expedia Travels, Electronic Gaming Monthly, Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, Computer Gaming World, Expert Gamer, eWEEK, Interactive Week, Sm@rt Partner and The Net Economy. Through a joint venture with International Data Group (IDG), the company also publishes Macworld. Other Ziff Davis Media business units include Ziff Davis Custom Media, which provides custom and contract media solutions within the technology industry; Ziff Davis Media Brand Development, which manages brand development and licensing; eTesting Labs, the industry leader in Internet and technology testing; and Ziff Davis Internet, an Internet-related development group. The company also produces conferences, seminars and Webcasts.