US Checks Check Point

Could this be the start of a Washington security clamp-down?

March 4, 2006

1 Min Read
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11:50 AM -- With the howls of protest from the controversial U.A.E. ports deal still ringing in Washington, the same review board has turned its attention to Israeli security vendor Check Point Software's recent acquisition of Maryland-based Sourcefire. (See Check Point Snaps Up Sourcefire and Check Point Buys Sourcefire.)

According to reports, there is concern about the fact that Sourcefire's flagship intrusion detection offering (which goes by the charming sobriquet of "Snort") is used in some key U.S. defense and intelligence deployments. But subjecting the deal to this level of scrutiny is an unusual move. Stranger still, Snort is actually an open-source offering, although this may explain the nervousness about this deal.

Check Point refused to comment on the situation when I contacted them yesterday, although, in a recent statement, the company promised to work cooperatively with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

Given the amount of cross-pollination currently taking place between U.S. and Israeli tech firms, particularly in the burgeoning security sector, the situation is worth monitoring. Check Point, after all, has been touting its products around the likes of the Department of Defense for as long as I can remember, and, some years ago, was involved in the DoD-prompted Moonv6 project for IPv6.

Check Point may not have created the same level of hysteria as the U.A.E. ports deal, but it will be interesting to see if this is the start of a trend whereby the U.S. builds a ring of steel around the "crown jewels" of its own defense technologies.James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and Switch

Organizations mentioned in this article:

  • Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP)

  • Sourcefire Inc.

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