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3Com buys its way into intrusion prevention with TippingPoint

3Com has acquired security specialist TippingPoint Technologies in a $430m (£221m) cash buy-out.

The deal will add TippingPoint's UnityOne line of network-based hardware and software intrusion prevention systems to 3Com's stable of enterprise security products, and will give 3Com a leg up in the growing market for technology to serve converged networks of voice and data.

3Com $47 in cash for each outstanding share of TippingPoint stock, adding TippingPoint as a new division within 3Com. Kip McClanahan, TippingPoint's current chief executive, will be the division president.

Companies use TippingPoint's technology to protect their networks from a variety of threats, including denial of service attacks and infections from worms and viruses.

TippingPoint's UnityOne IPS appliances use a custom chip to inspect network traffic at high speeds, spotting attacks aimed at software applications, as well as routers, switches, DNS servers and other critical network infrastructure.

The UnityOne Security Management System allows companies to centrally manage and control IPS appliances across the network, according to TippingPoint.

The UnityOne technology will strengthen 3Com's enterprise product portfolio, giving the company a foothold in the intrusion detection and prevention hardware and software markets which, together, are expected to be worth $1.24bn by 2008, according to IDC.

The purchase will also give the company technology for securing voice over IP traffic, as well as traditional network traffic, on converged networks, 3Com said in a statement.

Pattern of behaviour

In November 2003 3Com unveiled a partnership with Crossbeam Systems to market and sell that company's security services switches to medium-size and large enterprises worldwide.

In January this year it released the 3Com Security Switch 6200, which uses Crossbeam technology and provides firewall, anti-virus, content-filtering and intrusion detection features on a single device.

In September, 3Com added the Security Switch 7245 and 7280 to that line, targeting large enterprises and Internet service providers with features like VPNs (virtual private networks), intrusion detection, virus scanning, antispam and secure remote access via SSL (secure socket layers) VPN.

3Com is just the latest company to buy its way into the intrusion detection and prevention) market.

In a deal announced in February 2004 Juniper Networks bought security supplier NetScreen Technologies for stock worth about $4bn, adding NetScreen's network security products, including IDP appliances, to Juniper's portfolio.

In March, Cisco bought Riverhead Networks for 39m in cash, picking up technology to protect networks from distributed denial of service attacks.

McAfee laid out $220m in April 2003, for IntruVert Networks, a maker of hardware-based firewalls and network intrusion detection systems, and Entercept Security Technologies, which made host IPS technology.

More recently, Symantec signed a deal this month to purchase Platform Logic, a maker of the AppFire host-based intrusion detection software for an undisclosed sum.

Paul Roberts writes for IDG News Service


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