There is no firewall in the IT industry which is completely safe from hackers. No matter how strong the security measures the leading enterprises take; there are certain strategies and high-end sophisticated technologies that can bypass the firewall. That’s why; in this digital age, cyber security has become so important.
While talking about cybersecurity, we all know about the importance of a firewall that works as a barrier between the outside world and the network. In case, it is not properly maintained or configured; even the advanced firewall can be breached.
To keep the network security from external threats; a firewall is required. It prevents sensitive data from unauthorized access. To ensure the utmost protection of your network and sensitive data as well; you need to know the functionalities and the ways it can be breached in detail.
What is a firewall?
In layman’s language; we can say that the firewall is an important line of defense that works as the protective shield for the computer network. However, this line of defense is not enough to protect the network as hackers are coming up with sophisticated technologies to exploit vulnerabilities and gain unauthorized access to the network.
According to Neustar’s Study, 40% of security professionals have informed that half of the cyberattacks can bypass the Web Application Firewall (WAF). So, we can say that to protect your business; you must be aware of the ways by which hackers can get access to your network.
How does the firewall work?
As per the predetermined security code, the firewall monitors and controls the network traffic (both incoming and outgoing). It works as a security system that protects any network or device from unauthorized access.
Generally, the firewall can be either hardware or software or it can be a combination of both. They can protect themselves from external threats like viruses, malware, and hackers. Based on various criteria like IP address, protocol, or port number; the traffic access can be allowed or blocked.
Methods Used by Firewalls:
To keep track of the network traffic; one of the following techniques is used by firewalls.
- Packet Filtering: Most of the firewalls are of this kind only. The small pieces are data called packets. While entering the network; the packets are examined by a number of filters. Based on their IP address of source and destination, ports, and protocols; the firewall will allow the packets to enter the network.
- Application/Gateway Firewall: In this method, the proxy server works as a middleman to prevent the direct connection between the packets and the network and it filters the traffic at the application level.
- Next-Generation Firewall: to prevent both web-based and network attacks; these high-end firewalls combine the technologies of classic network firewalls and web application firewalls. It also comes with upgraded features like antivirus, encrypted traffic inspection along with intrusion prevention systems. Deep packet inspection is another characteristic of NGFW.
- Stateful Inspection: This is the most updated version where the packets are examined for any particular distinguishing traits in time of comparing the components of the packets to the database. The packets are only allowed when there is a reasonable match.
Although Firewalls and IDS can prevent malicious packets from entering a network, attackers can still send modified packets to bypass these security measures and reach the target.
There are different types of evasion methods that can cause threats to the cyber network.
- Data Encrypting: As the data is encrypted; it becomes difficult for the firewalls to find out any malicious activities.
- VPN: The Virtual Private Network (VPN) will help to bypass firewalls. It also routes traffic via a secure server and also bypasses intrusion detection systems.
- Proxy Server: Many times, a proxy server masks the origin of traffic and eventually makes it difficult for the firewall to detect the source of the attack.
- TOR: As the TOR network can hide the traffic’s origin; it becomes difficult for the firewall or intrusion detection system to find any trace of threat.
- Port Hopping: A firewall or intrusion detection system faces difficulty in malicious activity detection if the ports are constantly changed while transmitting data.
- Steganography: The malicious data may hide within another file or message that has a different name and the firewall cannot find the threat in this way.
- Application Layer Protocols: Using malicious codes or malware is another way to bypass the firewalls.
- Malicious Code: Malicious codes or malware is another way to sidestep the firewall.
- Social Engineering: The hackers may trick the users to divulge sensitive data from certain actions and this way they can bypass the firewall.
- Physical Access: The hackers can physically access the network or the system and bypass the firewalls.
What are the 5 ways to breach the firewall?
A firewall, an important feature to protect data from hackers can be breached in various ways.
- Outdated Software: The software which helps the firewall to function properly needs to update on a regular basis unless your network can become vulnerable.
- Weak Password: If the user has a weak and easy-to-guess password, then the firewall can be breached and hackers can get easy access to the network.
- Malware infection: In case, your system is attacked by malware that is specifically designed to interrupt the system; the hackers can access the network.
- Unsecured Remote Access: The network should be protected with a two-step authentication; otherwise it becomes vulnerable to attacks.
- Wrongly Configured Rules: The functions of firewalls depend on the previously set rules to allow or reject traffic. If the rules are not configured properly; it may allow unwanted traffic to bypass the firewall and compromise the network and sensitive data.
So, finally, we can say that having a firewall is not enough. You need to update and configure it frequently to ensure better protection. You can also hire a cyber security service provider to get security solutions like firewall management, vulnerability analysis, and management and intrusion prevention systems so that you can protect your business and sensitive data from attackers.
Pankaj Tripathi is a content marketer with over 6 years of experience. With experience in the industries of B2B SAAS, e-commerce, and the hospitality sector, Pankaj brings a wealth of knowledge to his writing. In his initial role, he supported over 100 writers in creating content for diverse fields such as finance, medicine, insurance, and media and publications.