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Hack in Juniper firewalls spurs investigation

ICYMI: A serious breach in Juniper firewalls spurs industry and government reaction; Gartner names three APM leaders; and Savvius targets twin-stream packet capture for WLAN device.

Juniper Networks confirmed last week that its firewall operating system had been hacked, leading the U.S. government to launch an investigation into what happened.

The vendor said it found "unauthorized code" in ScreenOS that would enable an attacker to control NetScreen devices and to decrypt VPN connections; the company immediately issued a patch and advised customers to update their systems as soon as possible.

Concern that Juniper firewalls included a backdoor and might be a national security issue drove the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to say it would work with the company to diagnose the cause of the vulnerability. An unidentified official told Reuters that the White House National Security Council "had taken an interest" in the situation.

The company said it didn't have any evidence that any other SRX firewalls, gateway products or other devices running its Junos OS were affected by the hack.

According to multiple websites reporting on the exploit, the rogue code gave attackers a way to unearth a hardcoded master password and thus gain access to devices overseeing the Juniper firewalls.

Cisco, meantime, said a review of its security products found no problems. In a blog posted Dec. 21, Anthony Grieco, senior director of the vendor's security and trust organization, said development practices forbid features that would permit unauthorized access.

"The trust of our customers is paramount," he wrote. "Our review is not in response to any outside request. We are doing this because it's the right thing to do."

Gartner cites three as APM leaders

Dynatrace, AppDynamics and New Relic were named as leading vendors in the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring (APM) Suites.

APM continues to grow in importance, as enterprises race to ensure their applications are accessible to both internal and remote users. The increasing penetration of mobile devices, meantime, has cast a new light on mobile APM -- particularly as more people conduct more business on their smartphones and tablets.

In its assessment of the companies, Gartner said each had particular strengths: AppDynamics for its consistent user experience; Dynatrace for its move to expand beyond APM to what it terms digital performance management; and New Relic for its lightweight instrumentation and ease of use.

It was the sixth consecutive time Dynatrace had been placed in the leadership quadrant, the company said.

Riverbed Technology, CA Technologies, IBM, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell and BMC Software were cited by Gartner as challengers.

Savvius offers two-stream USB adapter for 802.11ac Wi-Fi

Network traffic analytics vendor Savvius Inc., based in Walnut Creek, Calif., released a USB Wi-Fi adapter, which is able to capture and analyze twin streams of network traffic running over 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The adapter connects to external USB ports, and is certified to run with WLAN systems, such as OmniPeek Professional, Enterprise and Capture Engine.

"The WLAN market has waited a long time for an affordable product that can effectively analyze network packet data at 802.11ac speeds," Mandana Javaheri, Savvius' CTO, said in a statement. The new product supports 2.4 GHz (b/g/n) and 5 GHz (a/n/ac) operation, running self-contained without an external power supply.  Additionally, several adapters can be run simultaneously for more traffic, and the system supports other current wireless standards, including 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11n. It's priced at $149.

Next Steps

Exploring Juniper's SRX firewalls

Assessing APM vendors

Sniffing wireless traffic with Wireshark

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