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NAI Unveils New Firewall Technology

Network Associates Tuesday announced a new firewall technology allowing system administrators to easily change the type of traffic that can flow through corporate networks.

The advancement, known as adaptive proxies technology, will be featured in its Gauntlet Firewall 3.0 for Windows NT product, slated for release later this month. It will also be available on all Unix and NT versions of Gauntlet later this year.

The patent-pending "adaptive proxy" technology is significant because it provides users with the best of both previous firewall technologies. Adaptive proxy firewalls dynamically "adapt" packet flow on-the-fly based on user-defined security rules, so users can customize firewall policies to specific needs without decreasing speed or security.

For example, when security requirements are greatest, the initial security examination will still occur at the application layer, assuring the maximum security of a traditional proxy firewall. Once all the details of that session have been cleared by the proxy, subsequent data packets can proceed directly through the much faster network layer. Network Associates said initial benchmark tests of the new technology have shown ten-fold or greater performance improvements with no security compromise.

The adaptive proxy technology will also provide more flexible integration between individual security products such as security vulnerability scanners, virus security scanners, and intrusion protection sensors. The product also prevents spammers from using a company's mail servers to send unsolicited commercial e-mail

Gauntlet 3.0 for NT also integrates "plug and play" proxy support, allowing customers to add and update new proxies on the fly as they become available, rather than waiting for custom patches or new versions of the firewall software, enabling firewall administrators to provide security for breaking new security threats or new emerging services by simply updating or adding the affected proxy.

In addition, the new Gauntlet will provide new pre-configured security policies to help customers install the firewall quickly and easily, and a more robust CVP implementation to help integrate third party applications with the firewall.

Gauntlet 3.0 for Windows NT is slated for shipment to customers starting Oct. 31. The company said the new version will be sent free of charge to current Gauntlet users under the Network Associates subscription-pricing model. Gauntlet is also available as part of Net Tools Secure. Pricing for the Net Tools Secure suite begins at $56 per node for 5,000 users.