Hifn was a semiconductor manufacturer founded in 1996 as a corporate spin-off from Stac Electronics. The company was headquartered in Los Gatos, California, and had offices in North America, Europe and Asia. It designed and sold security processors.
Hifn holds the patents for the Lempel–Ziv–Stac and Microsoft Point-to-Point Compression compression algorithms.
Hifn was the first company to offer a processor with integrated encryption and compression in 1998, and followed this in 1999 with the world's fastest security processor for VPNs.
In 2000, Hifn announced an Intelligent Packet Processor - a security co-processor capable of not just performing raw algorithm processing, but of modifying the complete packet, allowing their processors to transform an IP packet into an IPSec packet in a single pass in the security processor with only the Policy and IPSec Stack being required on the host CPU.
They announced a security processor featuring the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm in 2001.
In 2004 they followed on from their packet processor with an IPSec protocol processor capable of performing IPSec and Internet Key Exchange processing with no CPU intervention. They also adapted this processor for the storage area network market, for applications such as iSCSI. Following the initial public offering in 1998, the company's stock was traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol HIFN. A secondary offering was priced on April 12, 2004.
Hifn also offered security processors for secure VoIP and WiMax applications, and marketed then for "application-aware" flow classifiers and search engines.
In earlier 2004, Hifn acquired part of IBM Network Processor assets in addition to PowerNP's intellectual property license. Since then Hifn became the sole vendor of PowerNP (IBM code: Rainier) to a couple of telecom/datacom equipment manufacturers.
On April 3, 2009, Exar Corporation (a semiconductor manufacturer) closed the acquisition of hi/fn, inc. The transaction was a stock+cash deal.