A firewall is the safety barrier between a computer network and the outside world. Individuals, companies and large organizations alike rely on a firewall being robust enough to fend off hackers attempting to break into a computer system. However, managing the firewall rules that decide between online friend and foe has proved to be complex, error-prone, expensive, and inefficient for many large-networked organizations, according to a research team writing in the International Journal of Internet Protocol Technology.
Muhammad Abedin of the University of Texas at Dallas and colleagues explain that just one error in the set of rules controlling a firewall can open up a critical vulnerability in the system. Such security problem can allow intruders to access data and programs to which they would otherwise be barred potentially leading to breaches of privacy, industrial sabotage, fraud, and theft. The researchers have now developed a method for analyzing the activity log files of corporate firewalls. Their analysis can determine what rules the firewall is actually applying to incoming and outgoing network traffic and then compare these with the original rules to spot errors and omissions. Continue reading.