Cyber Security Institute

§ Current Worries

Top 3 Worries

  • Regulations
  • Old Firewall Configurations
  • Security Awareness

§ Listening

For the best information

  • The underground
  • Audible
  • Executive Excellence
  • Music (to keep me sane)

§ Watching

For early warnings

  • 150 Security Websites
  • AP Newsfeeds
  • Vendors

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Six software firewalls reviewed and rated

There is no excuse for failing to protect data on a network and there are plenty of options on the market Earlier this year we tested the hardware products and now it is the turn of the software firewall.

In this report, they asked six top vendors to provide products that deliver firewall protection to the enterprise network.

The hardware alternatives offer one distinct advantage as these appliances come complete with processor, memory and embedded operating system which provides intrusion detection and prevention straight from the box.

A key feature in four of the products was the inclusion of workstations that allowed policies to be managed from the desktop.  Virtually all hardware firewalls use stateful inspection which intercepts packets at the network layer, then analyses the header and contents of each packet to determine its communication state, as well as the source and destination addresses.  Although basic packet filtering offers higher performance, security is reduced as most filtering mechanisms only examine packets at the network layer and are unable to determine what application they are bound for.  Only the Zone Labs’ firewall product implements stateful packet inspection - a feature drawn from its popular personal firewall software.

To test installation, configuration, deployment and reporting of the central management consoles of each product we used a Pentium III 733-equipped system with 256Mb of memory and running Windows 2000 Server, while client duties were handed out to a variety of workstations running Windows 98 SE, ME and 2000 Professional.


Posted on 07/24