The 3Com Embedded Firewall is a hardware-based firewall that works with 3Com 10/100 Secure Network Interface Cards to provide security function at network end points, meaning servers and desktops. Further out, 3Com also plans to provide Embedded Firewalls for notebook PCs and other mobile computing devices.
Based on firewall technology from Secure Computing Corp., 3Com Embedded Firewalls can be managed using policy server software that runs on a centralized Windows 2000 or NT 4.0 computer. Policies, security levels, packet filtering and auditing rules can all be managed centrally.
Firewall functions such as packet filtering are performed on the NIC, which has its own processor and memory. That makes the firewall virtually impossible to bypass or tamper with, 3Com says, as can be the case with software-based firewalls that rely on the host operating system to function.
Running the firewall on the NIC also prevents "secondary attacks," where a malicious worm, for example, takes control of a desktop or server and uses it as a launching pad for further attacks. Such malicious outbound data flows will be detected by the Embedded Firewall.
3Com's Embedded Firewall is available now. Desktop licenses range from $40 to $50 depending on quantity, while server versions cost $200 for one and $750 for five. 3Com 10/100 Secure NICs cost $120 for the desktop version and $129 for servers. A starter pack with NICs and licenses for one policy server, 10 desktops and one server costs $1,995.