🪣Leaky Buckets: The Perils of Misusing Firewalls in Modern Networks 💦

🪣Leaky Buckets: The Perils of Misusing Firewalls in Modern Networks 💦

🕵️‍♂️💦 Beware the Leaky Buckets!🕳️🔒 The compromise of firewall software stacks is like having leaks in your cybersecurity defenses. 🚨 Learn why misusing firewalls can turn them into leaky buckets, leaving you vulnerable to advanced threats🚀💻


3 min read

In the dynamic landscape of cybersecurity, the past two years have witnessed a series of significant compromises in firewall software stacks. No vendor has been immune to these vulnerabilities, with the primary culprits often being the Virtual Private Network (VPN) components integrated within the firewalls themselves.

The root of the problem lies in the improper installation and configuration of VPN software on firewalls within monolithic stacks. Instead of adhering to best practices, where VPNs should be isolated in a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), this architectural separation is rarely implemented. Consequently, when a VPN is compromised, the firewall becomes collateral damage, and vice versa.

The Pitfalls of Monolithic Stacks

The inherent clumsiness of incorporating VPN software within the firewall stack has been a significant contributor to recent breaches. Traditionally, separate physical components in networks allowed for the clear visualization and creation of appropriate security zones. However, with the advent of virtualization, best practices were often overlooked, leading to the erosion of security zones and an increased vulnerability to advanced persistent threats.

The Virtualization Dilemma

As networks evolved, the advent of virtualization made it easier to dismiss established best practices. Security zones, once a cornerstone of robust network design, fell by the wayside. This departure from best practices has created an environment where advanced threats can persist undetected, exploiting vulnerabilities within compromised firewalls.

Revisiting Best Practices

To mitigate the risks associated with misused firewalls, it's crucial to revisit and implement best practices that have stood the test of time. Creating security zones using virtual LANs remains a straightforward and effective solution. On host and access systems, containerization offers a modern alternative to maintain secure isolation.

Best Practice Designs: A Time-Tested Template

Reflecting on designs from decades ago, a template emerges that remains relevant in the face of evolving threats:

  1. Physical Separation: Separate physical components to establish clear security zones.

  2. Virtualization with Caution: Exercise caution when embracing virtualization to avoid overlooking best practices.

  3. Security Zones through Virtual LANs: Implement security zones using virtual LANs for clear segmentation.

  4. Containerization on Host Systems: Leverage containerization on host and access systems for secure isolation.

Wrap: Plugging the Leaks

Wrapping up, the compromise of firewall software stacks underscores the importance of revisiting and adhering to best practices. The misuse of firewalls, particularly through the improper integration of VPNs within monolithic stacks, creates leaky buckets that can lead to significant breaches. By embracing time-tested designs and recognizing the relevance of security zones, organizations can strengthen their cybersecurity posture and mitigate the risks associated with advanced threats.

It's time to plug the leaks and fortify our networks against evolving cybersecurity challenges.

Ronald ensures that Internet inhabiting things are connected reliably online at Fusion Broadband South Africa - the leading specialized SD-WAN provider in South Africa.