Check Point subsidiary unveils security device

In a move designed to expand its reach across more markets, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. subsidiary company SofaWare Technologies Ltd. Tuesday announced the release of the S-box, a new home networking and security appliance.

The S-box is a broadband security and networking device that allows users to create secure home networks protected by Check Point's Firewall-1 software, as well as optional Web site filtering and e-mail antivirus scanning, said Gil Shwed, chairman and chief executive officer of Check Point on a conference call to announce the product. The device, which is attached to a DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) or cable Internet connection, offers 4 10/100 Ethernet ports to attach home PCs and other devices, Shwed said.

The S-box is ready to be deployed by both service providers and enterprises, with service providers perhaps selling it as a component of their broadband services and enterprises distributing the device to their remote workers, Shwed said. Service providers also can offer additional services on the device, he said.

The Web site filtering and antivirus features are not built in to the S-box, but rather will be services offered by the service provider or enterprise that distributes the device, said Etay Bogner, co-founder and managing director of SofaWare, in a separate interview. Pricing for these services will be determined by the distributor, as will the vendors chosen to supply the antivirus software and filtering applications, he said. The range of vendors used for these applications will be limited to those who comply with Check Point's OPSEC (Open Platform for Security) platform, he added. The S-box costs US$299.

In addition to the firewall, URL (Uniform Resource Locator) filtering and antivirus features, the S-box also offers security features such as Denial of Service attack protection, security-event logging and automatic security and antivirus updates when the user subscribes to security update services, according to SofaWare's Web site.

Devices such as the S-box are needed because the current crop of home networking or security devices either fall short when it comes to security or are too difficult to configure, Shwed said. As a result, many home broadband users either use no security at all or use inadequate measures, Shwed said. Such a situation is particularly dangerous, he said, because always-on Internet connections like cable or DSL are prime targets for attackers. In order to address these issues, the S-box is easy to configure and uses a simple Web interface to set security levels, he said.

Though the S-box is immediately available, consumers won't likely be able to get one easily. The device is only being sold through Check Point channel partners and through service providers, though no deals with service providers to distribute the appliance are yet in place, Shwed said. The companies may later look at selling the device through the retail market, he said.

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