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September 2003

Application intelligence: Buzzword or firewall marketing jargon?

"That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun." What the writer of Ecclesiastes was talking about easily applies to marketing claims about "new" technology. A case-in-point is the recent marketing hype around Check Point Software Technologies' "application intelligence." Check Point claims it's a new response to new Internet threats. Is that so? No, it's marketing hype. The technology has been around and available in application gateway firewalls since the early 1990s. That being said, what may be new is implementing application intelligence in stateful inspection firewalls, such as FireWall-1 NG. To put this in perspective, let's examine how application intelligence has fit in historically with firewall technology. In the 1980s, the few companies and organizations that had firewalls built them on routers with packet-filtering rules. Then, in 1988, the Morris worm changed everything. The worm exploited, among other things, application-layer vulnerabilities ...

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