With the help of one of the world's best-known hackers, a little-known Austin startup hopes to give Internet service providers and enterprises a way to tell if their networking hardware is living up to its promises. Late next month, BreakingPoint Systems Inc. plans to launch a new network test appliance that sniffs out security holes in devices such as load balancers, intrusion prevention systems, and routers. Called the BPS-1000, the device also gives users a way to see how their networking equipment performs under a high volume of networking traffic, said Dennis Cox, BreakingPoint's chief technology officer.
Cox and co-founder Craig Cantrell came up with the idea for BreakingPoint two years ago while working at 3Com Corp.'s TippingPoint division, where they realized that they were spending more money on testing equipment than they were on building products. What began as a running joke "every time we had to sign a purchase order for a half-million dollars worth of test equipment," eventually became a business plan, Cox said. That vision is to build a product that gives customers an accurate picture of how their networking gear will behave in the real world -- before the bad guys have a chance to attack. Shortly after the company was founded in September 2005, Cox hired HD Moore, maintainer of the popular Metasploit security testing tool. "He was one of the first guys I called up," said Cox. "There is no better person in the U.S. to break things than HD."