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Cisco Embraces Open Source

25/02/2014 by


Cisco Systems Inc., the company best known for its proprietary networking and communications software, has released open source security software called OpenAppID, which can be used to build more secure corporate Internet firewalls.

The new software is the fruit of Cisco’s $2.7 billion acquisition of Sourcefire last July. Sourcefire, founded in 2001 by Martin Roesch, developed the popular open source network intrusion prevention and detection system called Snort. Some open source developers wondered how Snort would fare under Cisco’s watch, as the company is not widely known as a proponent of open source software.

“Cisco isn’t just saying they’re dedicated to open source, they’re making it happen,” Mr. Roesch, vice president and chief architect of Cisco Security Business Group, told CIO Journal.

The OpenAppID software adds application detection and control to existing Snort code. “This software allows you to build free open source next generation firewalls,” said Mr. Roesch. Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a long-time user of Snort, said in a statement that the new software will help users take action to address new threats in real time. Cybersecurity software might be considered an oxymoron to many, but Snort is considered one of the most advanced protection systems on the market, in large part due to the fact that it’s open source, and therefore the recipient of large numbers of engineers contributing code.

Cisco, which bases its business on bundling networking software and hardware, is not exactly a big proponent of open source, a model where the general public, including outside companies or teams, contribute to an application’s development and updates. Nevertheless, the company last year announced it was joining IBMIBM +0.36% and other networking vendors in creating an open source framework to ensure their products work properly together.

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