Secure Computing firewall evolves

Secure Computing Corp. has unveiled a hybrid firewall designed to give clients more protection against Web threats.

Typically, corporate firewalls that protect against network-based attacks aren't equipped to prevent attacks coming through Web browsers. As malicious hackers increasingly use Internet server port 80 to launch Web-based attacks, organizations need security tools that closely inspect application data.

As a result, Secure Computing has combined the functions of a network-based and application layer firewall in its Sidewinder G2. The hybrid firewall integrates the speed and performance functions of Secure's Sidewinder firewall and the packet inspection of the Gauntlet firewall the company acquired from Network Associates Technology Inc. in 2002. Sidewinder G2, which runs on Dell Computer Corp. PowerEdge server platforms, supports more than 1 million concurrent connections.

Sidewinder is not new to the government sector. It has been used to protect several defense-related networks. However, more agencies have expressed an interest in G2 because of the Gauntlet capabilities, said Wes Kaufman, president of Open Systems and Data Solutions Inc.

Although G2 offers good application-level proxies, an agency may still want to put an application gateway behind its firewall, he noted.

"The [G2] firewall proxies have several methods of protecting the client's network, and if an intrusion would get through the [G2], then the intrusion would have to also get through the application gateway," he said.

To help users manage hundreds of distributed firewalls, Secure released an appliance called the Sidewinder G2 Enterprise Manager. Like the G2 firewall, the management component runs on SecureOS Unix, a hardened version of the Unix operating system.

G2 Enterprise Manager offers policy management as well as audit-log and configuration backup capabilities so employees "don't have to apply security patches to keep firewalls current," said Paul DeBernardi, director of product marketing at Secure Computing.

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