Qualys Inc. has announced IronBee, a new web application firewall (WAF) during the RSA Conference USA 2011. This new WAF will be created under an open source license and aims to produce a web application firewall sensor that is secure, high-performing, portable and freely available – even for commercial use.
Web application firewalls differ from traditional firewalls in that they are specifically designed to protects web servers (and web applications) from attacks. A WAF sits between the web application users (and their browsers) and the web server. It analyses the HTTP traffic (including SOAP, XML-RPC etc) and determines if the server is under attack. As such a WAF can protect the web server from Cross Site Scripting (XSS) attacks, SQL injection attacks, session hijacking and so on.
The key to this new project is community. Ivan Ristic, the project architect who previously worked on ModSecurity (an open source web application firewall engine for Apache), said on his blog that the focus is “on community-building first, code second. To that end, not only is the project open source, but it uses the Apache 2 license and does not require copyright assignments from contributors.”