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Firewall vendor NetScreen yesterday announced a brawny security appliance that it hopes will eventually take the place of separate intrusion prevention and firewall devices in corporate and telecoms networks.

The ISG 2000 integrated security gateway, available now at prices from $38,000, is positioned by NetScreen as a platform for firewall consolidation in much the same way high-performance servers provide a means to consolidate run disparate software applications on a smaller number of boxes. Firewall consolidation makes security appliances cheaper to buy and operate, according to NetScreen.

The NetScreen ISG 2000 is capable of 2Gbps firewall and 1Gbps IPSec VPN (virtual private network) performance, thanks to the introduction of a next generation of Application Specific Integrated Circuit processors, the GigaScreen3. The GigaScreen3 is twice as powerful as its previous processors, NetScreen boasts. The architecture of the ISG 2000 has been modified from earlier NetScreen appliance designs to offload processor intensive tasks, such as intrusion prevention, onto separate hardware modules.

The NetScreen IDP security module, expected 2H 2004, will be able to combat around 1,500 types of application-level attacks and protocol deviations. This compares to defence against around 250 types of attack possible with NetScreen's current Deep Inspection technology.

Building more advanced traffic inspection features into firewalls to detect application-level attacks and provide increased defences for Nimda-like worms has been an important project for NetScreen and much of the firewall industry for the last 18 months or so. ®

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