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F5 Networks Announces the Only SSL VPN Product with Cross-Platform and Application IPSec Replacement Support

FirePass Controller extends full network access to Macintosh and Linux clients; Exclusive open iControl API enables secure, automated access for application to application integration

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the leading provider of Application Traffic Management products, today announced a powerful new version of FirePass® Controller, offering the industry's first Secure Sockets Layer Virtual Private Network (SSL VPN) solution with complete cross-platform support. Extending its support for any IP (Internet Protocol) application to Macintosh and Linux clients and expanding client and application security for web and file application access, the FirePass Controller delivers the industry's most robust solution for secure network access. In addition, FirePass Controller offers the only open API (Application Programming Interface) and SDK (Software Developer's Kit) that enables 3rd party application vendors to build seamless, secure remote access into their client applications.

The new release of F5's SSL VPN product offers organizations a superior way to provide employees, partners and other constituents comprehensive and secure access and granular control to corporate applications and resources. Unlike its competitors who limit Macintosh and Linux users to web and other TCP-based applications, F5 delivers a multi-platform solution offering full network access to any IP-based application. With FirePass Controller, remote Macintosh and Linux users can securely connect to the corporate network and access client/server, voice over IP, and other applications as if they were locally connected.

"FirePass provides a simple solution to the very complex security issue of protecting our network from remote access threats such as worms and other malicious software," said Ernest Hughes, director of technical services at Recreational Equipment, Inc. "We're excited that FirePass will allow us to reduce remote access security risks while simplifying the end-user experience and reducing the administrative burden on our support staff."

FirePass Controller's unique, open iControl API and SDK enable automated, secure access for rich Windows™ client applications by providing secure system to system or application to application communication. The API improves ease-of-use through the ability to automatically launch secure network access from an application itself. F5's DevCentral,, will provide free developer support, sample code, documentation, and collaboration.

"SSL VPN products are delivering more value and robust choices, making it a 'must review' technology for enterprises evaluating remote access solutions," said Jason Wright, Industry Analyst at Frost and Sullivan. "As the first SSL VPN vendor to provide complete cross-platform support, F5 offers a compelling proposition to customers and offers even more justification to deploy a SSL VPN over an IPSec VPN."

This announcement executes on F5's commitment of delivering the industry's most comprehensive and flexible SSL VPN solution that eliminates the need for Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) VPNs. FirePass Controller offers a unified and robust solution for secure remote access that includes many exclusive features to bolster security from the client to back-end systems. Additional new FirePass product features encompass client security, application access, virus scanning, and unique web application security and are highlighted below.

Prevents web servers from being compromised. FirePass Controller's web application security features block application-layer attacks, such as cross-site scripting, buffer overflow, and SQL injection, by inspecting for inappropriate web traffic.

Heightened protection from infected files. Policy-based virus scanning provides customers with flexible options and increased protection. FirePass Controller can scan web and file uploads using either an integrated scanner or external scanner via ICAP (Internet Content Adaptation Protocol) API. Infected files are blocked at the gateway and not allowed onto email or file servers on the network.

Enhanced client integrity checking with network quarantine. For deep integrity checking of Windows clients, FirePass Controller can validate that the client has a current McAfee antivirus or other user-defined policy in place before allowing a full network connection. If a user fails the corporate policy, but passes a fallback policy, the administrator can restrict network access to a quarantine network where the user can update the client to meet corporate security standards (e.g. update virus file).

Optimized client security on public systems (e.g. kiosks). FirePass Controller offers Protected Workspace, a security option that can switch users to a temporary workspace on the client system (Windows XP/2000), created fresh for each new session. When in protected workspace mode, users cannot write files to locations outside the protected workspace and the temporary folders and all of their content is deleted at the end of each session. FirePass' Secure Virtual Keyboard feature further enhances access security by requiring mouse clicks to enter passwords, which protects against snooping of keystrokes.

Protection against backdoor attacks. When accessing the network with split tunneling, FirePass now provides a dynamic firewall that protects Win2k/XP users connected using the Network Access (full network access) feature. Safe Split Tunneling eliminates the ability for a hacker to route through the client to the corporate network or for the user to inadvertently send traffic to the public network.

Pricing and Availability

The FirePass Version 5 software will be available in June 2004 as a software upgrade for all FirePass 1000 and 4000 controllers. The list price for FirePass Controller starts at US $9,990. For more information on the FirePass product line, visit

About F5 Networks

F5 Networks keeps IP-based traffic flowing and business information always available to any user from any device, anywhere in the world. Our products ensure secure and reliable access to servers and the applications that run on them. F5 also provides tools to automate communications between applications and the network, eliminating tedious, manual processes.

As the pioneers of intelligent load balancing, F5's continued innovations help businesses optimize and protect their IT investments. Our mission is to ensure the availability, scalability, performance, and security of IT resources that enterprises require to successfully do business. Over 6,000 enterprises and service providers rely on F5 solutions to keep their businesses running. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington with offices worldwide. For more information go to

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