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Home » Hacking News » Australian team patents new firewall technology

Australian team patents new firewall technology

by Nikola Strahija on October 28th, 2002 A Melbourne-based group has patented a new firewall architecture that uses parallel processing and "self learning" techniques. "These aren't just ordinary firewalls," said IntelliGuard IT spokesperson Ken Baker. The software analyses the contents of packets reaching the firewall "in more detail than anything else in the world," he added.

Current CPUs are not fast enough to perform such deep analysis in real time without parallel processing, Baker explained, but deployment on multiple processors also delivers scalability and redundancy. The IntelliGuard software can be conveniently deployed on blade servers.

The software is based on research carried out by IntelliGuard IT and the University of Melbourne, and the two organisations have an ongoing relationship intended to produce further enhancements and new products.

IntelliGuard IT's technical staff consists of Darren Reed, the creator of the widely used IP Filter (ipf) firewall, and neural network and data-mining specialist Dr Jacek Kowalski.

IntelliGuard IT was one of five finalists in the Melbourne University Entrepreneurs' Challenge, and is looking for a large partner to help take the technology to market. "We're just another small startup, but I think we have something unique," said Baker. Hewlett-Packard Australia, which sponsored the E-Challenge, is believed to have expressed some interest.

IntelliGuard is aimed at the enterprise market and is likely to sell for around AU$200,000. The group has a second product design intended for smaller sites or to isolate departments within a larger organisation. PowerGuard (which will cost approximately $20,000) is a firewall appliance that will use multiple CPUs, but not in parallel. Instead, the processors provide multiple firewalls within one box in an arrangement that automatically creates a DMZ, and is "just about impossible to crack... because it doesn't communicate the way the Internet does," said Baker.

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