WatchGuard increases power of Firebox

FRAMINGHAM – Security appliance manufacturer WatchGuard is expanding the power of its Firebox line of multi-function security devices.

The Seattle company is adding SSL VPN capabilities to the units, turning them into remote access gateways for devices that don’t have IPSec clients.

The new feature is part of a 10.0 release of the operating systems for its Firebox Edge, Peak and Core devices that also includes VPN support for Windows Mobile devices. The software supports Session Initiation Protocol and H.323 as well, protocols necessary for VoIP and videoconferencing traffic through the devices.

WatchGuard competes against other unified threat management (UTM) vendors including Astaro, Check Point, Cisco, Fortinet, Juniper and SonicWall. (Compare UTM products.) The new WatchGuard software versions includes spam blocking supplemented by a subscription service supported by Commtouch that relies on sensors placed around the Internet to detect spam outbreaks and head them off.

If the WatchGuard software detects spam it drops it. The software also proxies e-mails, sends a hash of their attachments to a Commtouch server, which determines if the attachments are malicious and if so the proxy strips them off.

With the new software release, WatchGuard has shifted from SNORT for intrusion prevention to IPS provided by Endeavor Security because its software screens using a larger set of malware signatures.

WatchGuard’s software upgrade adds more categories to its URL blocking software, upping the number from 40 to 54 to narrow the number of categories of sites that companies can prevent employees from reaching. This includes Secure-HTTP traffic. The URL database, which can be accessed from a WatchGuard Web server, can also now be stored locally on WatchGuard Firebox Edge security devices.

On the management side, WatchGuard has upgraded its reporting engine from a flat file structure to an SQL database that can be analyzed by third-party tools.

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