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New chip offers defense against hacker attacks

Networking equipment company Juniper Networks builds a new processor for use on its high-end equipment that can prevent intruders from attacking Web sites.

Juniper Networks has built a new chip for its networking equipment that can prevent intruders from attacking Web sites.

Juniper today said it is shipping a new processor that can scan all the data flowing through a network without slowing down the traffic. The chip, now built into Juniper's family of networking equipment, could prevent the hacker attacks that crippled many of the top Web sites in February, according to Juniper chief executive Scott Kriens.

The security feature was available in software in the past, but it slowed down networks so much that Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecommunications carriers only used it sparingly, Kriens said. The new chip--called the Internet Processor II--can filter 20 million packets of data per second, while the security software in the past could only scan 200,000 packets of data per second, he said.

Juniper competes against Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and other rivals in the exploding market for high-end network equipment. Service providers use the equipment to send Internet traffic at high speeds throughout their networks.

Juniper designed the new chip, while IBM manufactures it. Kriens said the new processor will allow service providers to offer new services to customers. Because the chip can view the packets of Net information, it allows service providers to give higher priority to more important data, Kreins said.

For example, online businesses can ensure that customers who buy over the Web will have the necessary network bandwidth to complete their transactions, while other uses, such as employees' Web surfing, take a back seat.

Juniper today also announced a new version of its operating system for its networking equipment. The Junos 4.0 update offers several new features, including improvements in managing network equipment.