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Do Firewalls Lead To Feelings Of False Security?

from the feeling-safe-may-be-an-illusion dept

Earlier this month we posted an article pointing out that if you can get behind the firewall of a company it may be very easy to install a spying device. Simson Garfinkel’s latest column goes beyond this to point out that many companies incorrectly think their firewall makes them secure, when they often just cause more problems. As an example, he says he visited a friend’s office recently, and plugged his laptop into an open ethernet port to check his mail. The system wouldn’t let him check mail, because he wasn’t configured for the firewall, but he had full access to the internal network (including other people’s emails). As he points out, this ethernet jack should have been either turned off, or should have set off some sort of alarm that an “unregistered” machine tried to access it. He also points out that firewalls often get worse over time, because sysadmins open up “temporary” holes in the firewall because some exec needs to access something. Those temporary holes tend to become permanent once people forget about them.

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