NetScreen Technologies

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NetScreen Technologies
Industry IT security,
Computer software,
Computer hardware
Fate Acquired by Juniper Networks
Defunct 2004 (2004)
Headquarters Sunnyvale, CA., United States
Key people
Ken Xie, CTO, CEO, and Co-Founder,
Yan Ke, Co-Founder, Feng Deng, Co-Founder, Robert Thomas, CEO, Anson Chen, VP R&D, Nir Zuk, CTO
Products Network security and access solutions and appliances.
Parent Juniper Networks

NetScreen Technologies was an American technology company that was acquired by Juniper Networks for US$4 billion stock for stock in 2004.[1][2]

NetScreen Technologies developed ASIC-based Internet security systems and appliances that delivered high performance firewall, VPN and traffic shaping functionality to Internet data centers, e-business sites, broadband service providers and application service providers. NetScreen was the first firewall manufacturer to develop a gigabit-speed firewall, the NetScreen-1000.[3]


NetScreen Technologies was founded by Yan Ke, Ken Xie, and Feng Deng.[4] Ken Xie, Chief Technology Officer and co-founder was also the CEO until Robert Thomas joined in 1998.[5]

Robert Thomas, NetScreen's president and chief executive officer, came to NetScreen in 1998 from Sun Microsystems, where he was General Manager of Intercontinental Operations for Sun's software business, which includes security, networking, and Internet tools.[6]

Ken Xie left NetScreen in 2000 to found Fortinet, a competing ASIC-based firewall company.[7]

NetScreen acquired its core IPS technology through the purchase of OneSecure, Inc. for US$45 million in stock in 2002. OneSecure was created by Rakesh Loonkar (subsequently the co-founder of Trusteer), and Israeli engineer Nir Zuk, who had been one of Check Point Software’s first employees and later went on to found Palo Alto Networks.

In 2003, NetScreen hired Anson Chen as its vice president of research and development. Anson Chen, a 12-year veteran of Cisco Systems, Inc. and its former vice president and general manager of the Network Management and Services Technology Group, lead engineering, research and development efforts for NetScreen's entire product line, including its firewall, IPSec virtual private network (VPN) and intrusion detection and prevention technologies. Chen also had functional management responsibility for NetScreen's secure access products.[8]


Yan Ke and Feng Deng stayed with Juniper after the acquisition but then left Juniper in 2005 and started Northern Light Venture Capital, a China concept venture capital firm focused on early and growth stage opportunities in TMT, consumer, clean technologies, and life science industries.[9][10]

Nir Zuk stayed with Juniper after the acquisition but then left in 2005 to start a new company, Palo Alto Networks.[11][12] Palo Alto Networks products are similar to OneSecure/NetScreen/Juniper's IPS technology as they share a common heritage.

2015 "unauthorized code" incident[edit]

Main article: ScreenOS

Analysis of the firmware code has also shown that there could exist a backdoor key using Dual_EC_DRBG enabling whoever hold that key to passively decrypt traffic encrypted by ScreenOS. This is enabled by some very strange code in ScreenOS, which could possibly be a deliberate backdoor. This possible backdoor still exists in ScreenOS.[13]

In December 2015 Juniper Systems announced that they had discovered "unauthorized code" in the ScreenOS software that underlies their NetScreen devices, present from 2012 onwards. There were two vulnerabilities: One was a simple root password backdoor, and the other one was changing a point in Dual_EC_DRBG so that the attackers presumably had the key to use the preexisting (intentional or unintentional) kleptographic backdoor in ScreenOS to passively decrypt traffic.[14]