Legacy firewalls are putting businesses at risk as attacks get stronger and internet use puts them under strain.
According to Matt Allbutt, technical manager at Icomm Technologies, legacy firewalls are putting businesses at risk of data ransom attacks. He claimed that the evolution of internet traffic and the weakness of legacy firewalls are enabling hackers to exploit flaws.
He said: “A lot of this is to do with a ‘fix and forget' mentality. Many organisations believe that once a firewall is in place, they are protected from attacks. This naivety may not have caused major issues to date, but many legacy firewalls simply do not have the capabilities to keep data safe.
“However, it's not just active hackers that put our networks at risk, but our own changing attitude to data consumption is potentially helping them out. Every type of traffic has traditionally been assigned a specific ‘door' through which to enter and leave a network. However, controlling the movement of sensitive traffic has become extremely difficult and, through evolution, certain types of traffic are now able to move through any door.
“This is due to the shift towards the growing reliance on web-based services for corporate activities – such as webmail or video conferencing, which have shifted from using individual protocols to simple web applications.”
He also said that the growth of bandwidth-hungry traffic, such as large data files, hosted video and images all put a strain on network quality and on firewalls that do not have the capacity to identify or prioritise traffic.
Allbutt estimated that around 80 per cent of businesses are at risk of an attack due to legacy firewalls being in place so it recommended that reviewing firewall capabilities must go to the top of any network administrator's agenda.
Tomer Teller, security evangelist at Check Point, told SC Magazine that he saw the permiter like a fortress where you build walls, but with a weak side that you protect in a different way.
Gil Shwed, CEO and founder of Check Point, was asked if it would continue to support legacy firewalls; he said it would as even customers from the 1990s continued to use legacy firewalls and it needed to keep them updated.
He said: “We launched our first appliances in 2006 and they have worked very well; we have a long history and customers who have been with us for 18 years who we very much support.”