Marketing Hype and Security Technology That Actually Works

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There have been a few videos produced that show various ways to bypass Palo Alto Networks firewalls. This is the latest, complete with a configuration file and a pastebin log from the Evader tool showing the various exploits that were triggered:

I don’t know enough to evaluate the claim made in this video that these flaws are fundamental to the architecture of the Palo Alto Networks gateways. I do know that Palo Alto Networks disputed this video privately, and a response to it was recorded, showing the same issues as before. If the video is factually incorrect, why hasn’t Palo Alto Networks posted a public, formal response via their website, YouTube, or social media? The fact they haven’t, make of that what you will, but when challenged on similar issues in the past, they first denied it and later they recanted.

I wonder: how do organizations who purchase this product decide a particular product meets their needs? Are organizations doing a true evaluation pitting a number of security tools against a set of objectively-defined criteria or did a decision maker somewhere get wowed by the marketing and bought it without a serious evaluation?

Based on many of the request for proposals and proof of concepts I’ve been involved with, more often than not, it seems to be the latter a lot more often than the former.

Check Point CEO Gil Shwed said during the Q3 2015 earnings call: “We should work harder to expose the difference between marketing hype and technology that actually works.”

The best way to protect yourself from the marketing hype is to understand what your actual security needs are, define objective evaluation criteria, and put the tools through their paces to see which ones is best for you.

Disclaimer: I work for Check Point Software Technologies, which is a competitor of Palo Alto Networks. The views herein are my own.

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