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This Week in Network Security History: The Firewall Toolkit

by John Pescatore  |  October 2, 2008  |  1 Comment

Fifteen years ago this week. Trusted Information Systems delivered the Firewall Toolkit (FWTK) to DARPA. Fred Avolio and Marcus Ranum documented the early days and Fred has posted the history here. FWTK was a phenomenally successfull piece of open source software and really pre-dates the start of the modern firewall market – security was more of a collegial community then.

It didn’t take long for business demand to turn firewalls into a real market. I got to TIS in 1996 when TIS had already come out with Gauntlet as a product and Checkpoint was just starting to push this odd “stateful inspection” idea combined with gasp a graphical user interface. By 1998 TIS was gone – bought and killed by the old evil days of Network Associates.

But what goes around, comes around – as Greg Young, Adam Hils and I point out in the First Take, NAI sold Gauntlet to Secure Computing, who had already owned Sidewinder and previously bought Cyberguard, giving all the original proxy-centric firewalls a home; McAfee emerged as a major network security company out of NAI’s ashes; and now McAfee bought Secure Computing to close the circle of life.

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John Pescatore
VP Distinguished Analyst
11 years at Gartner
32 years IT industry

John Pescatore is a vice president and research fellow in Gartner Research. Mr. Pescatore has 32 years of experience in computer, network and information security. Prior to joining Gartner, Mr. Pescatore was senior consultant for Entrust Technologies and Trusted Information Systems… Read Full Bio


Thoughts on This Week in Network Security History: The Firewall Toolkit


  1. Whit Andrews says:

    When I was a reporter at Web Week, I sought out Marcus Ranum and he spent an hour teaching me how security worked (I did read for about four hours to get a head start). I have always been amazed at his grace in doing so.



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