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7/30/2007
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BreakingPoint Offers Same-Day 0-Days

Startup to announce general availability of its new BPS-1000 testing tool, controversial vulnerability disclosure policy

BreakingPoint Systems, the startup with renowned white-hat hacker HD Moore as its director of security research, tomorrow will announce that it's now shipping its all-in-one network and security testing appliance.

And the company says the same day it alerts a vendor of any new bug discovered by its security team, customers of BreakingPoint's new BPS-1000 will receive a corresponding exploit attack module for the testing tool. (See Startup Launches Breakout Testing Tool and 10 Hot Security Startups.)

"We don't wait for the vendor to patch," says Dennis Cox, BreakingPoint's CTO. "We don't release it to the public, but to our customers."

The only exception, Cox says, would be when Austin, Tex.-based BreakingPoint finds a bug in one of its (vendor) customers' products. "If we find a vulnerability in their product, we notify them and ask them when they want us to release it," he says. But any vendors that aren't BPS-1000 customers are fair game. And BPS-1000 customers, whether they are enterprises or vendors, as part of their product subscription must agree not to disclose these newly discovered bugs they get, he says.

Cox says the networking vendor community's reaction to BreakingPoint's disclosure policy has ranged from "you rock" -- because it gives them an inside track on say, a Microsoft bug -- to annoyed, because it would mean working after-hours and on weekends to fix a new bug in their products.

The BPS-1000, which researcher Moore says was inspired by his work on the Metasploit hacking tool, doesn't actually exploit a system -- it runs attacks, called Strike Packs, through the attached networking or security device. "The vulnerabilities don't come in source code. They are live packs," Cox says. "You're not getting how to do [exploit] it -- you're just running it in the product."

Cox says BreakingPoint has more than 3,000 Strike Pack attack modules, which come with a subscription service for the product that keeps customers up-to-date with the latest exploits and protocol analyzers. So far, BreakingPoint's main customers are networking equipment vendors, including Juniper Networks, which has five BPS-1000 boxes, Cox says. Juniper's security group that builds the company's IPS systems runs it, and so does its technology marketing organization, which uses it to benchmark performance of its products for marketing purposes.

"Instead of waiting for Patch Tuesday, [for example], Juniper [and other customers] get access to the latest zero-days before Microsoft gets them" patched, Cox says. And the point-and-click interface with the tool makes it accessible for less technical users as well, he adds.

Cox notes that one IPS vendor customer is using the BPS-1000 to determine how its device handles attacks at different speeds.

The BPS-1000, meanwhile, does performance, stress, security, and conformance testing of networking and security products and comes with several application-layer fuzzing tools, including ones for HTTP, FTP, DNS, SMTP, DHCP, NFS, SNMP AOL instant messaging, LDAP, and others. The appliance is list-priced at $185,000.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • BreakingPoint Systems
  • Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR)
  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

    Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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