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Category: firewall

Do I Need Redundant Firewalls?

One of my readers sent me this question:

I often see designs involving several more than 2 DCs spread over different locations. I was actually wondering if that makes sense to bring high availability inside the DC while there's redundancy in place between the DCs. For example, is there a good reason to put a cluster of firewalls in a DC, when it is possible to quickly fail over to another available DC, as a redundant cluster increases costs, licenses and complexity.

Rule#1 of good engineering: Know Your Problem ;) In this particular case:

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Ethernet-over-VPN: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

One of my readers sent me a link to SoftEther, a VPN solution that

[…] penetrates your network admin's troublesome firewall for overprotection. […] Any deep-packet inspection firewalls cannot detect SoftEther VPN's transport packets as a VPN tunnel, because SoftEther VPN uses Ethernet over HTTPS for camouflage.

What could possibly go wrong with such a great solution?

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Virtual Firewalls: Featured Webinar in June 2016

Virtual Firewalls is the featured webinar in June 2016, and the featured videos (marked with a star) explain the difference between virtual contexts and virtual appliances, and the virtual firewalls taxonomy.

To view the videos, log into (or enroll into the trial subscription if you don’t have an account yet), select the webinar from the first page, and watch the videos marked with star.

If you're a trial subscriber and would like to get access to the whole webinar, use this month's featured webinar discount (and keep in mind that every purchase brings you closer to the full subscription).

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Palo Alto Integration with Cisco ACI and OpenStack on Software Gone Wild

A while ago Christer Swartz explained how a Palo Alto firewall integrates with VMware NSX. In the meantime, Palo Alto announced integration with Cisco ACI and OpenStack, and it was time for another podcast with Christer deep-diving into the technical details of these integrations.

Spoiler: It’s not OpFlex. For more details, listen to Episode 53 of Software Gone Wild

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Should Firewalls Track TCP Sequence Numbers?

It all started with a tweet by Stephane Clavel:

Trying to fit my response into the huge Twitter reply field I wrote “Tracking Seq# on FW should be mostly irrelevant with modern TCP stacks” and when Gal Sagie asked for more elaboration, I decided it’s time to write a blog post.

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Whatever Happened to “Do No Harm”?

A long time ago in a podcast far, far away one of the hosts saddled his pony unicorn and started explaining how stateful firewalls work:

Stateful firewall is a way to imply trust… because it’s possible to hijack somebody’s flows […] and if the application changes its port numbers… my source port changes when I’m communicating with my web server - even though I’m connected to port 80, my source port might change from X to Y. Once I let the first one through, I need to track those port changes […]

WAIT, WHAT? Was that guy really trying to say “someone can change a source port number of an established TCP session”?

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Stretched Firewalls across Layer-3 DCI? Will the Madness Ever Stop?

I got this question from one of my readers (and based on these comments he’s not the only one facing this challenge):

I was wondering if you can do a blog post on Cisco's new ASA 5585-X clustering. My company recently purchased a few of these with the intent to run their cross data center active/active firewalls but found out we cannot do this without OTV or a layer 2 DCI.

A while ago I expressed my opinion about these ideas, but it seems some people still don’t get it. However, a picture is worth a thousand words, so maybe this will work:

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Replacing Central Router with a Next-Generation Firewall?

One of my readers sent me this question:

After reading this blog post and a lot of blog posts about zero trust mode versus security zones, what do you think about replacing L3 Data Center core switches by High Speed Next Generation Firewalls?

Long story short: just because someone writes about an idea doesn’t mean it makes sense. Some things are better left in PowerPoint.

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ALF: Application Layer Fixup

I was talking about “application-layer gateways” on firewalls and NAT boxes with a fellow engineer, and we came to an interesting conclusion: in most cases they are not gateways; they don’t add any significant functionality apart for payload fixups for those broken applications that think carrying network endpoint information in application packets is a good idea (I’m looking at you, SIP and FTP). These things should thus be called Application Layer Fixups or ALFs ;)

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Microsegmentation in VMware NSX on Software Gone Wild

VM NIC firewalls have been around for years (they’re also the reason I got my first invitation to the awesome Troopers conference), but it sounds so much better when you call them Microsegmentation (not the one I talked about @ Troopers this year).

Marketing gimmicks aside, VMware NSX includes an interesting in-kernel stateful firewall, and Brad Hedlund was kind enough to explain the intricacies of that feature in Episode 27 of Software Gone Wild

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