Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

Startup Puts New Spin on Firewalls

Palo Alto Networks's PA-4000 can recognize - and restrict - more than 400 types of application traffic

Remember the days when "Internet security" simply meant turning off Port 80? Those days, which gave rise to the first firewalls, are over -- and a new startup says it has a new firewall that better fits the reality of today's traffic.

Palo Alto Networks Monday will unveil the PA-4000, a new type of firewall that can distinguish between the many types of applications that now run over HTTP and Internet connections -- and Port 80. The new hardware can also recognize different types of application traffic that runs over encrypted Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) links, officials say.

The startup -- founded in 2005 by Nir Zuk, who helped develop some of the first firewalls at Check Point -- has been operating in stealth mode for 18 months and has just received $18 million in second-round financing. Its management team reads like a "who's who" of security hardware, pulling in executives from security hardware developers such as Juniper, NetScreen, and OneSecure.

"We've all been looking at the market, and we've seen that modern applications are simply bypassing the current security architecture because they've evolved beyond it," says Dave Stevens, CEO of Palo Alto Networks. "Today there's no relationship between the port number and the type of application traffic."

The startup's new firewall is designed to identify traffic from more than 400 different applications -- "and that's just a start," Stevens says. Enterprises with custom applications can ask the company to create signatures for those applications as well.

This capability means that organizations can now set policies on whether or not to allow specific types of traffic, effectively restricting the network to authorized applications traffic and shutting down or restricting the use of other software. Eventually, the company plans to enforce those access restrictions all the way down to the individual end user, making it difficult for users to deploy or access any applications that aren't allowed by the company.

The PA-4000 can even recognize applications running over SSL links, which have been invisible to most firewalls until now, Stevens says. About a third of enterprise traffic runs over SSL.

In its initial implementations, the PA-4000 will likely sit behind the firewall in an enterprise and help refine the policy enforcement mechanisms used to control user access, Stevens says. The hardware is available in a 10-Gbit/s model and a 2-Gbit/s model, and adds only 20 microseconds to network latency in a typical transaction, officials say.

"The PA-4000 can work completely inline without affecting performance," Stevens says.

The PA 4050, which operates at 10 Gbit/s, is available now for a list price of $60,000. The PA-4020, which operates at 2 Gbit/s, costs $35,000.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP)
  • Palo Alto Networks

    Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 9/21/2020
    Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
    Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
    Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
    Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon
    Current Issue
    Special Report: Computing's New Normal
    This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
    Flash Poll
    How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
    How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
    The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2020-25826
    PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
    PingID Integration for Windows Login before 2.4.2 allows local users to gain privileges by modifying CefSharp.BrowserSubprocess.exe.
    CVE-2020-25821
    PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
    ** UNSUPPORTED WHEN ASSIGNED ** peg-markdown 0.4.14 has a NULL pointer dereference in process_raw_blocks in markdown_lib.c. NOTE: This vulnerability only affects products that are no longer supported by the maintainer.
    CVE-2020-3130
    PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
    A vulnerability in the web management interface of Cisco Unity Connection could allow an authenticated remote attacker to overwrite files on the underlying filesystem. The vulnerability is due to insufficient input validation. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability by sending a crafted HTTP re...
    CVE-2020-3133
    PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
    A vulnerability in the email message scanning of Cisco AsyncOS Software for Cisco Email Security Appliance (ESA) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to bypass configured filters on the device. The vulnerability is due to improper validation of incoming emails. An attacker could exploit t...
    CVE-2020-3135
    PUBLISHED: 2020-09-23
    A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to conduct a cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attack on an affected device. The vulnerability is due to insufficient CSRF protections for the web-based...