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Fortinet has upgraded its network-based anti-virus firewall appliances to defend against a wider range of malicious attacks.

A new version of the firmware was released yesterday for all the vendor's FortiGate Antivirus Firewalls. FortiOS 2.5 adds intrusion prevention features, as well as a range of enhancements to the firewall, VPN, anti-virus, intrusion detection and content filtering capabilities of the product line.

The intrusion prevention services protect networks against more than 30 of the most prevalent and damaging threats, including denial of service (DoS/DDoS) and buffer overflow attacks. Attacks are blocked using a combination of techniques, such as packet drops and connection resets controlled by user-configurable thresholds and alert mechanisms.

FortiOS 2.5 extends real time protection to Internet file transfers using the FTP protocol, in addition to the SMTP, POP3, IMAP and HTTP protocols currently supported on all FortiGate units. In addition, FortiGate units can now quarantine infected or suspicious files.

It's become something of a trend in the industry to wrap up a variety of security functions in all-in-one security appliances. Fortinet joins Symantec, ServGate, Blue Coat and others who have previously pitched themselves into this market. Essentially all-in-one appliances promise easier management.

On the other hand, a range of start-ups are coming out with various XML, application and storage security appliances, so if anything the market is becoming more complex and diverse.

Both trends do mean, however, that the days when a company only needed to think about firewalls and anti-virus protection to meet its security needs are long gone.

FortiOS release 2.5 will ship with all new FortiGate Antivirus Firewall units. The update is available at no extra charge to existing customers with standard maintenance and support contracts.

Fortinet security appliances run from the FG50, for small business, which cost around £500, through its enterprise-orientated product (e.g. FG400- around £6000) to what the company describes as carrier-class anti-virus firewalls.

Fortinet is a privately held firm based in Santa Clara, California set up by two founders of firewall vendor NetScreen. ®

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