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HomeCyber SecurityWhat Firewalls Can — and Cannot — Accomplish

What Firewalls Can — and Cannot — Accomplish

Firewalls have been born within the Nineteen Nineties, alongside Home windows 95 and Web Explorer. They have been a staple of community safety since, which prompts the query: Are firewalls nonetheless related? The figuring out issue is whether or not firewalls have grown with the modifications we have seen in expertise or in the event that they’ve simply stayed in step with the expertise of the Nineteen Nineties and early 2000s.

How Firewalls Work & How They Do not

Firewalls work totally on the precept of deep packet inspection. Knowledge packets are the items of knowledge that represent any kind of Web site visitors, together with Net site visitors. They defend networks by checking the payload of each knowledge packet attempting to enter or depart a community and blocking any packets that comprise malicious content material. Content material usually is outlined as malicious by a sequence of fairly complicated insurance policies and guidelines.

Immediately, knowledge is sort of at all times encrypted. Encryption ensures that good incoming and outgoing site visitors is protected against prying eyes, however, sadly, it additionally hides unhealthy incoming and outgoing site visitors. Some firewalls can de-encrypt knowledge packets, verify their payload, after which re-encrypt them, however this course of is computationally intensive and may lavatory down the community considerably. Additionally, this course of is just not at all times an out there choice given what number of fashionable safety protocols block the varieties of man-in-the-middle operations required for full-blown SSL inspection.

Leveraging IP Addresses

Certainly, deep packet inspection is changing into an antiquated safety apply, however there are different methods to establish whether or not particular exercise is malicious.

For instance, some organizations blacklist malicious Net domains, then mechanically block site visitors from these websites, whereas others use ways akin to SIEM log evaluation. Nonetheless, these kind of monitoring and alert programs are reactive: They let you know that you’ve got been attacked, however do not block the malicious site visitors that may trigger an assault.

I staunchly imagine in multifaceted safety, with a easy set of three beginning factors:

  1. Do not reuse passwords.
  2. Commonly replace your software program.
  3. Use the truest lowest-common-denominator of Web site visitors — the IP handle itself — to your benefit, as a key foundational tenet of your cyber safety stack.

It is the third leg of that stool that may assist be sure that your group achieves a proactive posture in relation to malicious site visitors.

Since all site visitors is recognized by a novel IP handle, specializing in IP is a straightforward approach to establish and block any packets coming from or going to identified malicious sources — with out ever needing to verify their contents. It does not matter if the info being transferred is encrypted or not.

Surprisingly to some, firewalls cannot and do not carry out this operate very effectively since you want a really totally different {hardware} and software program structure to realize deep packet inspection versus attaining IP filtering at scale.


Whereas firewalls are an important software in organizations’ safety arsenals, it is vital to align safety options with safety threats. As cyberattacks evolve, organizations ought to take into account the sorts of instruments that will likely be wanted to enhance and shore up firewall safety.



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