Vendors Complete Tougher ICSA 4.0 Firewall Tests

    Date08 Dec 2002
    CategoryFirewalls
    3678
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    ICSA Labs, which provides one of the most important certifications firewall vendors strive for, said yesterday it has completed the first wave of tests of product against version 4.0 of its certification criteria, writes Kevin Murphy. . . ICSA Labs, which provides one of the most important certifications firewall vendors strive for, said yesterday it has completed the first wave of tests of product against version 4.0 of its certification criteria, writes Kevin Murphy.

    For the first time, ICSA has also split its certification into three categories and is awarding three different certification logos - for residential, small and medium business, and corporate firewall products.

    "Firewall vendors didn't want a firewall that costs $100,000 to buy to have the same certification as one costing $200," said ICSA Labs program manager Brian Monkman. "The one-size-fits-all criteria doesn't work any more."

    There will be a Baseline Firewall Module certification that all products will be required to pass. On top of that, vendors will submit their firewalls to a category depending on what market they are targeting. Each category has different functionality criteria.

    The first products to pass the 4.0 test at the corporate level are: CyberGuard's Firewall Appliance, Novell's BorderManager Firewall, NetScreen's Firewall Family, Intoto's iGateway, Cisco's PIX, GTA's Family of Firewalls, Check Point's Firewall-1 NG on Linux, Nortel's Alteon Switched Firewall and FortiNet's FortiGate Family.

    "No product passed in the first round, and some of these products were ones that had previously passed the 3.0 criteria," said Monkman. "A number of vendors had to make significant changes to their products to achieve certification."

    He added that a "handful" of vendors did not make the fixes in time to be certified in the first wave, a problem he said appeared to be mainly resource-based. No vendors have yet met the SMB category certification.

    One of the main differences between the levels of certification is the default configuration requirement. Residential users want a plug-n-play firewall that lets nothing through it by default, whereas corporate users require greater flexibility and almost certainly want to run a web server and email server behind the firewall.

    Among other changes in 4.0 are stricter requirements on logging, handling of protocols including FTP and DHCP, and blocking fragmented packets. The actual tests, which include simulated attacks, have also evolved and are likely to evolve as more methods of attack are discovered.

    "If one of my staff, or some yahoo out on the internet, discovers a new way to throw twisted packets at a firewall, we'll look at it, and if there's the potential for penetration we'll work it into the tests," said Al Potter, manager of network security at ICSA Labs.

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