Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stateful Inspection, who invented it, really?

In my first Check Point video nugget one of the questions is about inventors of Stateful Inspection.

I thought it was a simple one. Surprisingly, I have received some unexpected answers. Most of them were about Nir Zuk being the actual inventor. That made me thinking, what if I myself was mistaken, and the guy actually did that? So I have started researching this.

Here are some results.

I was actually right. Patent rights to Stateful Inspection belong to Check Point and Gil Shwed, according to US patent 5,606,668. The patent application was filed in 1993.

So, what about Nir then?

Well, here it is quite interesting. Nir Zuk does not hesitate crediting himself for developing Stateful Inspection.

Here is the quote from Palo Alto web site: "Nir was... a principal engineer at Check Point Software Technologies, and was one of the developers of stateful inspection technology."

It is very accurate, isn't it? "One of the developers..." Of course he was, he worked with Check Point from 1994 till 1999. He could not possible invent it, considering half a year gap between filing the patent application and his start in Check Point.

Should not confuse us much, right? It must be something else.

In Nir's interview to IT World in April 2010 when talking about his Check Point years he says:  "We invented a technology called stateful inspection, on which all network security technology today is based." This is a bigger statement, but again, if by "we" he means "we, Check Point", there is probably nothing wrong there.

The article itself is peculiar. There he also claims he single-handedly developed Floodgate product in 1999 and then was practically pushed out of the company by Israeli developers for doing so. I will not comment on that, as we are discussing Stateful Inspection topic only.

There is one more article from 2008 published by InformationWeek. The title is very promising: "Who invented the firewall".

Believe it or not, the very first sentence credits Nir Zuk. It says: "Nir Zuk says he developed the technology used in all firewalls today." The article is brilliant, it its own way.

The author, Kelly J. Higgins is apparently not fluent with FW technical terms. I would not blame her much, although her attempt to crack the case does not deserve full marks, in my humble opinion. She quotes one of the experts in the article though, saying: "Zuk was the father of the stateful firewall product at Check Point…"

Funny, Check Point is only mentioned in the article if if referenced to Nir Zuk. Here is another example: "Meanwhile, Zuk, who helped build Check Point's firewall technology, isn't shy about taking credit for the first commercial firewall."

If I would read this without any background, it would be clear to me: Nir does it all. He is the father, developer, inventor and, finally, helper. All praise Nir.

Well, the whole story is a very good example of bold PR (If you have ever seen Palo Alto marketing presentation, you know what I am referring to) and inaccurate journalism.

Nir Zuk was one of the developers, all right. The rest is just noise on the channel.

If you have spotted anything inaccurate this, please let me know. It might be possible (although unlikely) I am still missing some parts of this puzzle.  

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Firewall Basics: Part two - the nugget is live

Hi again.

I have just uploaded the second nugget from the Firewall Basics series. Check it out.

The trivia question in this one is a bit trickier. I will be waiting your answers till 11.10.2015.

I have received a lot of requests and suggesting for future series. It will take me some time to address most of them. Thanks a lot for your support, interest and understanding.

I have also received some negative marks on youtube. That is okay, my work is not perfect. But it would help if you could specify what particularly you did not like. This kind of feedback will help me to do a better job the next time.

Thanks and see you soon.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The very first nugget is published

Hi all, I have just uploaded the first nugget: "FW basics: Part one" to my youtube channel.

In FW basics series we are talking about fw principles and fundamental concepts: fw kernel placement, stateful inspection, kernel tables, enforcement principles, components of Check Point security systems.

Once the foundation is set, we will talk about troubleshooting in particular. It does not seem to be feasible to replace in class troubleshooting course by these video fragments, but my goal is to provide clear and simple explanation of the things that would help one to understand Check Point environment better. With such understanding troubleshooting becomes easier and less stressful.

I hope you like the video. Please send me your answers for trivia before the next nugget is published.

Thanks for your comments and support.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Introducing Check Point video nuggets

Hi all!

I have decided to start a new project on Youtube: Check Point Video Nuggets.

I am going to take some bits and pieces out of my custom courses: 
  • Troubleshooting, 
  • Optimisation and 
  • Best Practices, 
and to convert them into short videos explaining different aspects of firewalling with Check Point.

The crude video below is the start.

If you are interested in something particular, if you have any suggestion or want to support the project, please contact me here or via email (in the video).

Thank you for watching. Stay tuned.