Monday, 25 April 2016

Firewall Design: Strengths & Weakness

software application development companies


Firewalls may be software based or, more commonly, purpose-built appliances. Sometimes the firewalling functions are actually provided by a collection of several different devices. The specific features of the firewall platform and the design of the network where the firewall lives are key components of securing a network. It is important for software application development companies to have a proper placement of firewall. To be effective, firewalls must be placed in the right locations on the network, and configured effectively. Best practices include:

  • All communications must pass through the firewall. The effectiveness of the firewall is greatly reduced if an alternative network routing path is available; unauthorized traffic can be sent through a different network path, bypassing the control of the firewall. Think of the firewall in terms of a lock on your front door. It can be the best lock in the world, but if the back door is unlocked, intruders don’t have to break the lock on the front door—they can go around it. The door lock is relied upon to prevent unauthorized access through the door, and a firewall is similarly relied upon to prevent access to your network. 
  • The firewall permits only traffic that is authorized. If the firewall cannot be relied upon to differentiate between authorized and unauthorized traffic, or if it is configured to permit dangerous or unneeded communications, its usefulness is also diminished. 
  • In a failure or overload situation, a firewall must always fail into a “Deny” or closed state, under the principle that it is better to interrupt communications than to leave systems unprotected. 
  • The firewall must be designed and configured to withstand attacks upon itself. Because the firewall is relied upon to stop attacks, and nothing else is deployed to protect the firewall itself against such attacks, it must be hardened and capable of withstanding attacks directly upon itself.

Firewall Strengths and Weaknesses

A firewall is just one component of an overall security architecture. Its strengths and weaknesses should be taken into consideration when designing network security at various software application development companies in India

Firewall Strengths 

Consider the following firewall strengths when designing network security:

  • Firewalls are excellent at enforcing security policies. They should be configured to restrict communications to what management has determined and agreed with the business to be acceptable. 
  • Firewalls are used to restrict access to specific services. 
  • Firewalls are transparent on the network—no software is needed on end-user workstations. 
  • Firewalls can provide auditing. Given plenty of disk space or remote logging capabilities, they can log interesting traffic that passes through them. 
  • Firewalls can alert appropriate people of specified events.

Firewall Weaknesses 

You must also consider the following firewall weaknesses when designing network security:

  • Firewalls are only as effective as the rules they are configured to enforce. An overly permissive rule set will diminish the effectiveness of the firewall. 
  • Firewalls cannot stop social engineering attacks or an authorized user intentionally using their access for malicious purposes. 
  • Firewalls cannot enforce security policies that are absent or undefined. 
  • Firewalls cannot stop attacks if the traffic does not pass through them.

Firewall Placement 

A firewall is usually located at the network perimeter, directly between the network and any external connections. However, additional firewall systems can be located inside the network perimeter to provide more specific protection to particular hosts with higher security requirements. 

Firewall Configuration 

When building a rule set on a firewall, consider the following practices:

  • Build rules from most to least specific. Most firewalls process their rule sets from top to bottom and stop processing once a match is made. Putting more specific rules on top prevents a general rule from hiding a specific rule further down the rule set. 
  • Place the most active rules near the top of the rule set. Screening packets is a processor-intensive operation, and as mentioned earlier, a firewall will stop processing the packet after matching it to a rule. Placing your popular rules first or second, instead of 30th or 31st, will save the processor from going through over 30 rules for every packet. In situations where millions of packets are being processed and rule sets can be thousands of entries in length, CPU savings could be considerable. 
  • Configure all firewalls to drop “Impossible” or “Unroutable” packets from the Internet such as those from an outside interface with source addresses matching the internal network, RFC 1918 “private” IP addresses, and broadcast packets. None of these would be expected from the Internet, so if they are seen, they represent unwanted traffic such as that produced by attackers. The software development companies must keep a check on such unwanted traffic produced by attackers.

Author Signature:  Sanika Taori

No comments:

Post a Comment