Architecting the lumeta firewall analyzer

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

Abstract

Practically every corporation that is connected to the Internet has at least one firewall, and often many more. However, the protection that these firewalls provide is only as good as the policy they are configured to implement. Therefore, testing, auditing, or reverseengineering existing firewall configurations should be important components of every corporation's network security practice. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. Firewall configuration files are written in notoriously hard to read languages, using vendor-specific GUIs. A tool that is sorely missing in the arsenal of firewall administrators and auditors is one that will allow them to analyze the policy on a firewall. The first passive, analytical, firewall analysis system was the Fang prototype system [MWZ00]. This was the starting point for the new Lumeta Firewall Analyzer (LFA) system. LFA improves upon Fang in many ways. The most significant improvements are that human interaction is limited to providing the firewall configuration, and that LFA automatically issues the "interesting" queries and displays the outputs of all of them, in a way that highlights the risks without cluttering the high-level view. This solves a major usability problem we found with Fang, namely, that users do not know which queries to issue. The input to the LFA consists of the firewall's routing table, and the firewall's configuration files. The LFA parses these various low-level, vendor-specific, files, and simulates the firewall's behavior against all the packets it could possibly receive. The simulation is done completely offline, without sending any packets. The administrator gets a comprehensive report showing which types of traffic the firewall allows to enter from the Internet into the customer's intranet and which types of traffic are allowed out of the intranet. The LFA's report is presented as a set of explicit web pages, which are rich with links and cross references to further detail (allowing for easy drill-down). This paper describes the design and architecture of the LFA.

Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes
Event10th USENIX Security Symposium - Washington, United States
Duration: 13 Aug 200117 Aug 2001

Conference

Conference10th USENIX Security Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWashington
Period13/08/0117/08/01

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