Firewalls 20 years on: Gil Shwed interview
Firewalls 20 years on: Gil Shwed interview

Industry pioneer Gil Shwed got into computers early, aged 10, any by 24 the company he founded, Check Point, launched its industry-changing first product, FireWall-1. Twenty years later, with mobiles and the cloud subverting barrier approaches, and decade-old malware found on hardware,'s Tony Morbin asks Shwed, are Firewalls are still working?  

Unsurprisingly Shwed says they are, and goes on to explain why. “If you look at the role of the firewall, it is a pretty reliable device and does its job.The new attacks that are getting in .... Usually it's by downloading files, by sharing files – so it's not through network communications. They find it harder to penetrate the network. If companies were using all the layers that our company, for example, offers, many of these attacks would have been prevented.  Companies are not using their gateway to the full extent today.”

Shwed noted that there is a wide spectrum of threats today, commenting: “if there is a back door or if there is a hole in your security strategy, then the hackers will find a way and get through that hole. But the two biggest threats in 2015 – one is the advanced threat. The new types of malware they have discovered.  The second is big threat mobility, the new types of devices that are becoming the back door of the enterprise environment.”

The IoT is seen more as a consumer and home user threat, and even then not in 2015, but in the near future when advanced threats will also attack via other devices, not just computers.

According to Shwed, there are three key ways to protect a mobile environment:

“One is to create a create a secure working environment on the mobile, separating the games and the personal stuff – create a secure working environment on the mobile.

“The second is to channel traffic through gateways that will scan the traffic.  (eg via a cloud service that will scan and analyse traffic and try to prevent the attacks).

“The third way and the most advanced is to go to the protection of the data itself. Encrypt documents and keep all your data secured so even if the data leaves the secure environment and corporate boundaries it is still secure.”