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Firewall: Friend or Foe?

Posted March 30, 2016 2:21 PM by SavvyExacta
Pathfinder Tags: Belden Firewall iot security

As industrial systems have adopted Ethernet infrastructure and become interconnected to corporate IT systems, firewalls have become essential components for ensuring network security and increasing system robustness and resiliency. Firewalls come in a variety of form factors with a range of features and technologies optimized to play different roles as part of a comprehensive security architecture.

There are a number of different types of firewalls for industrial control systems. A layered approach may be best depending on the situation. Some firewall examples include:

  • Network-Firewall
  • Client-Firewall
  • IP Firewall
  • Deep Packet Inspection
  • Layer 2 Firewall
  • Stateless
  • Access Control Lists
  • Stateful Packet Inspection
  • MAC Filter
  • Learning Mode
  • Industrial Firewall
  • WLAN Firewall
  • Transparent Firewall
  • SPI

As the Internet of Things (IoT) grows, it becomes increasingly important to determine how to securely and flexibly connect previously isolated networks. Yet, firewalls can also cause frustration when legitimate access is denied.

Are firewalls part of your work or home network? How do you feel about them?


Learn more about firewalls, including the types, how various security mechanisms increase security, and how firewalls can be integrated into existing networks. Sign up for a free webinar by Belden.

Webinar Details:

March 31, 2016 -Thursday. It will also be available on-demand for 90 days after the live broadcast.

2:00 PM EDT - 3:00 PM EDT

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#1

Re: Firewall: Friend or Foe?

03/30/2016 3:35 PM

Depending on how you look at things, I either love the cantankerous beasties, or I hate that warm security blanket.

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#2

Re: Firewall: Friend or Foe?

03/31/2016 6:23 AM

The issue of security in industrial computers was highlighted by Suxnet, but that was a problem waiting to happen, and some of us were counseling our clients to use totally separate nets for their factory communications and the outside world long before Suxnet appeared. I still give that same advice today. When you write firewall software using tools like Java which is in itself insecure it is hardly surprising that the firewalls are written with inbuilt leaks. It is possible to write the software with a secure subset of Java but it is cumbersome and therefore time consuming and costly. You would also have a problem finding adequately skilled programmers because many of todays so called applications programmers merely cut and paste existing subroutines to achieve their goals. If you paste one insecure sub routine into an application then the whole becomes compromised. The Internet of Things is software industry pushed not customer lead. Because it is being developed around existing operating systems it does not have a secure base. Foisting it upon the world before sorting the security issue may be profitable but it is short sighted and will backfire in catastrophic ways. The current software industry has a justifiably bad reputation. Unless they get their act together I predict that within ten years, as a direct result of security problems that are currently being written into the Internet of Things, companies that are now household names will cease to exist.

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#3

Re: Firewall: Friend or Foe?

04/01/2016 3:53 AM

That's a long list. Although you've stated a layered approach, is it not the case that too much can cause problems ? I get that you are talking industrial, but complex systems seem to be more prone to failure.

I'll not ask questions, but CR4/IHS have done a good job on blocking the spam that used to happen.

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Firewall: Friend or Foe?

04/01/2016 7:58 AM

We are using a layered approach to spam these days.

Some still slips through, but I think there has been some improvement.

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