Juniper security products use device-fingerprinting as way to detect, block attacks

Updated products, service to 'fingerprint' attackers more precisely, Juniper claims

Juniper Networks today rolled out a battalion of security products and services to protect corporate networks, stating that when it comes to defensive measures, security attacks can be better prevented by determining device-fingerprinting rather than blocking attacks based on IP address.

It's simply not effective or practical to focus on blocking IP addresses, says David Koretz, vice president and general manager of counter security at Juniper. And in a turn that radically differentiates Juniper from its competitors, Juniper has upgraded its lineup for Web application protection, anti-DDoS and SRX Series Services Gateways to identify an attack through a fingerprinting method. The argument such fingerprinting is much more precise and accurate in thwarting attacks.

[ MORE: Juniper adds SDN to mobile networks ]

The latest Juniper product and service lineup that can take advantage of this device-fingerprinting detection and blocking technology includes:

  • Junos Spotlight Secure, the cloud-based threat-intelligence that now has device-level attacker tracking
  • Junos WebApp Secure (formerly named Mykonos) for Web application protection
  • Juniper SRX Series Services Gateways Integration with Junos WebApp Secure
  • Junos DDoS Secure for automated protection against distributed denial-of-service attacks up to 40Gbps as well as "low-and-slow" applications attacks, deployable as a hardware appliance or as a virtual machine in private, public or hybrid cloud networks

When an ongoing attack is detected, the Juniper gear will capture a broad array of data about the attacking device in order to "fingerprint" it and block it, then and in the future. In addition, the information about that device fingerprint will be shared among other Juniper equipment and through a cloud-service called Junos Spotlight Secure on behalf of all Juniper customers subscribing to it.

Blocking attacks based on IP addresses is a traditional method, and company IT managers have at times been known to block entire countries by IP address -- such as China, for instance or other places where a steady attack stream might be viewed as routinely originating. But this tactic has its drawbacks, especially when proxy servers are now commonly used to try and shield the visibility of employees to the outside world, Koretz points out. He says device fingerprinting is so much more effective and accurate, Juniper is advocating giving up IP address-based blocking entirely in favor of device fingerprinting. He also says reputation analysis services based on IP address are not worth the bother.

Juniper's device-fingerprint approach appears to have won some measure of support from customers. David Giambruno, senior vice president and chief information officer at Revlon, said in a statement he sees the new products as "a step in the right direction" because "current protections need to evolve beyond IP-based blocking to definitive attack prevention."

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: @MessmerE. Email: emessmer@nww.com.

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