Introduction:- A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized
Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet, especially intranets. All messages entering or leaving the intranet pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.
Following are the design goals for a firewall:1. All traffic from inside to outside, and vice versa, must pass through the firewall. This is achieved by physically blocking all access to the local network except via the firewall.
2. Only authorized traffic, as defined by the local security policy, will be allowed to pass. Various types of firewalls are used, which implement various types of security policies, as explained later in this section.
3. The firewall itself is immune to penetration. This implies that use of a trusted system with a secure operating system. Originally, firewalls focused primarily on service control, but they have since evolved to provide all four:
Service control: Determines the types of Internet services that can be accessed, inbound or outbound. The firewall may filter traffic on the basis of IP address and TCP port number; may provide proxy software that receives and interprets each service request before passing it on; or may host the server software itself, such as a Web or mail service. Direction control:Determines the direction in which particular service requests may be initiated and allowed to flow through the firewall.
User control: Controls access to a service according to which user is attempting to access it. This feature is typically applied to users inside the firewall perimeter. It may also be applied to incoming traffic from external users; the latter requires some form of secure authentication technology.
Behavior control: Controls how particular services are used. For example, the firewall may filter e-mail to eliminate spam, or it may enable external access to only a portion of the information on a local Web server.
The following capabilities are within the scope of a firewall:
1. A firewall defines a single choke point that keeps unauthorized users out of the protected network, prohibits potentially vulnerable services from entering or leaving the network, and provides protection from various kinds of IP spoofing and routing attacks. The use of a single choke point simplifies security management because security capabilities are consolidated on a single system or set of systems.
2. A firewall provides a location for monitoring security-related events. Audits and alarms can be implemented on the firewall system.
3. A firewall is a convenient platform for several Internet functions that are not security related. These include a network address translator, which maps local addresses to Internet addresses, and a network management function that audits or logs Internet usage.
4. A firewall can serve as the platform for IPSec.
Firewalls have their limitations, including the following:
1. The firewall cannot protect against attacks that bypass the firewall. Internal systems may have dial-out capability to connect to an ISP. An internal LAN may support a modem pool that provides dial-in capability for traveling employees and telecommuters.
2. The firewall does not protect against internal threats, such as a disgruntled employee or an employee who unwittingly cooperates with an external attacker.
3. The firewall cannot protect against the transfer of virus-infected programs or files. Because of the variety of operating systems and applications supported inside the perimeter, it would be impractical and perhaps impossible for the firewall to scan all incoming files, e-mail, and messages for viruses