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Get to know us better! Gain valuable insights into how we think by visiting our blog, or take a look at the industry events we're frequenting on our events page. You can also geek out with us by attending one of our security management webinars, or dive head first into the products and solutions we provide in our Resource Library. There's lots to keep you busy! 



Securing the Supply Chain with Security Policy Management
Dec 11, 2017
With the latest BCI Supply Chain Resiliency Report revealing that some of the top causes of supply chain disruption are cyberattacks and data breaches, and with global supply…
Why FireMon Continues to Dominate NPSM - Part 2: Real-Time Monitoring
Dec 05, 2017
In Part 1, we looked at how any solution that closes the Complexity Gap require Performance At Scale. If an organization is going to wrap…
Gartner’s Recommendations for Security Policy Configuration Assessment Part…
Nov 28, 2017
In Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of this series we saw how to implement Gartner’s first three recommendations for security configuration assessments (SCAs).…
Gartner’s Recommendations for Security Policy Configuration Assessment Part…
Nov 22, 2017
In this series, we're looking at the essential parts of a Security Configuration Assessment (SCA).  Let’s continue the dialogue and look at the other recommendations…

FireMon News

Identify and Remove Redundant and Hidden Firewall Rules

Firewall policies are complex. The networks they are implemented to protect are complex. The last thing you need to deal with is extra, unnecessary complexity. Redundant rules are exactly that. They obscure the rules that are actually needed control traffic through the firewall. Redundant rules represent a tremendous opportunity to clean up a firewall policy because removal of these rules is guaranteed to have no impact on the behavior of the firewall policy. But removing them will improve both the performance of the firewall and the performance of the administrators responsible for managing the firewall policy.

What is a Redundant Rule?

Firewall policies are comprised of a list of rules that are processed in order. When a data packet arrives at the firewall, the firewall attempts to match it to a rule in the policy. Once a rule is matched, the packet is processed according to the defined action such as to drop or pass the data. Since the packet will never be evaluated by any rule lower than the matched rules, any rule defined lower in the policy that would match this same packet is redundant.

However, since many rules define access for more than a single source IP, single destination IP and single service, there are varying degrees of redundant. Portions of one rule may be redundant to portions of another rule. While these present an opportunity for refinement as well, we will focus on the rules that are completely redundant. A completely redundant rule can be removed outright. A partially redundant rule may require modification or may even require creation of additional rules to properly remove the redundancy without affecting behavior. This will be addressed in another post to review these additional intricacies.

Let’s take a look at some example redundant rules that can be easily remedied:

    • Identically Redundant: This first example is an identical rule that is clearly redundant. All matching columns are identical. While the comments are different, the rule number and comments do not affect the behavior of the firewall matching. In this case, the second rule, rule 18, can be removed without affecting the firewall behavior.identical

      • Hidden: The next example is a fully hidden rule. In the below example, the source and service columns are different. However, upon further investigation, you can see that rule 14’s source network of fully includes rule 19’s source address of And the service of “ip” (meaning the entire IP protocol space) includes http (tcp/80). So, while the rules are defined differently, any traffic that rule 19 would match would already have been matched by rule 14, making rule 19 completely hidden.hidden

        • Redundant: An inverse of the hidden case is when a lower rule fully includes the higher rule’s criteriagroup plus more. In this case, while the first rule will match some traffic, you can’t get rid of the lower rule because the lower rule would not only match what the first rule matches, but will also match additional traffic. In the below example, it is not completely obvious because the service column of rule 2 contains a group object. However, on further inspection, you can see that the group object contains icmp-echo-reply that is referenced in rule 1. In this case, it is safe to remove rule 1 without affecting the behavior of the policy.redundant

        WARNING: You must take extreme caution when identifying this type of redundancy. Had there been a rule defined between rule 1 and rule 2 that treated some portion of the matched traffic uniquely, then while rule 2 fully encompasses the packet space referenced in rule 1, it would not be safe to remove rule 1 without affecting the policy behavior.

        How can FireMon Help?

        FireMon is able to perform all of this analysis on the policies to identify these situations and more. In large complex policies with group objects obscuring what each rule is doing it can be extremely difficult to do this analysis manually. FireMon’s Hidden Rule reports will identify these situations and even provide the actionable intelligence on exactly what step to perform. For example, in the Hidden example shown above, FireMon not only shows the rules, but clearly makes the recommendation on what steps to take to remedy the situation.


        In addition to generating reports for hidden rules, it is possible to search for all hidden rules across all devices and all policies. Using FMQL, it is possible to find hidden rules with the following query:

        rule{ ~ 'hidden'}

        And, using FMQL, it is possible to identify hidden rules matching additional criteria like rules that are not only hidden, but also missing comments.

        rule{ ~ 'hidden' and comment IS EMPTY}



        Dec 06, 2017 6 Ways to Evaluate Firewall Change Requests to Ensure Security and Compliance and Prevent Risk Creep
        Firewalls are like Roach Motels – rules check in but they don’t checkout. When you look at a firewall with thousands (or tens of thousands) of rules you have to wonder if they are all still needed. Join Ultimate Windows Security and FireMon to find out how to automate the work flow of firewall change requests, capture and document rule changes, evaluate the impact of rules and compare rules to the characteristics of the actual packets being passed by those rules.
        Nov 09, 2017 6 Steps for Firewall Assessment for Compliance and Security
        Don’t let the pendulum swings fool you; firewalls are not dead, and the perimeter still matters. But in addition to the perimeter we recognize the need for more internal segmentation to limit lateral movement and protect segregated zones like the red forest. So, we need and probably should have more firewalls than ever.
        Oct 31, 2017 Think GDPR Doesn't Impact You? Think Again...
        Companies across the globe are scrambling to meet the new compliance directives that are imposed by the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) set to go into effect in 2018. If you’re thinking, “I’m not in the EU, so it doesn’t matter”, think again.
        Sep 26, 2017 GDPR: Security Management Best Practices You Need to Know
        In this webinar, FireMon’s resident GDPR expert, Tim Woods, will help lay the groundwork for a plan to comply by the 2018 deadline. We’ll also cover the vital role security management plays in protecting data from the start, including these specific capabilities you need to comply with Articles 25, 32, 35 and 58.


        Sep 05, 2017
        SAO v. SIEM Security Suites: And the winner is...
        Aug 30, 2017
        Jimmy Nukebot Explodes on the Scene, Transforming NeutrinoPOS
        Info Security
        Aug 17, 2017
        The Top Security Challenges for 2017
        SC Magazine
        Aug 14, 2017
        Creditseva, KS Enterprises Breaches Highlight Need for Improved Cloud Security
        eSecurity Planet
        Jul 31, 2017
        What is IT governance? A formal way to align IT & business strategy
        Jul 28, 2017
        How organizations can work toward GDPR compliance
        Information Management
        Jul 09, 2017
        4 Signs Check Point Software's Best Days Are Ahead
        Motley Fool
        Jun 07, 2017
        Qakbot malware from 2009 returns, causes Active Directory lockouts
        SC Magazine UK
        Jun 06, 2017
        Botched security: Celebrities, other patients, affected after plastic surgery files are breached and stolen
        SC Magazine
        Jun 06, 2017
        Election cyberattack proves people are still the biggest flaw
        Jun 01, 2017
        250K Photos Leaked in Cosmetic Surgery Extortion Attack
        Info Security
        Jun 01, 2017
        OneLogin Breach Reignites Concerns over Password Managers
        Dark Reading
        Jun 01, 2017
        OneLogin Breach Reignites Concerns over Password Managers
        Dark Reading
        May 29, 2017
        How to manage the Complexity Gap
        IT Pro Portal
        May 26, 2017
        Hackers upgrading malware to 64-bit code to evade detection
        SC Magazine UK
        May 25, 2017
        83 percent of security staff waste time fixing other IT problems
        May 24, 2017
        Unsanctioned Computer Support Costs Companies $88K per Year
        Dark Reading
        May 23, 2017
        WannaCry Successor Is New ‘Doomsday’ SMB Worm That Uses 7 NSA Hacking Tools
        Information Security Buzz
        May 23, 2017
        WannaCry? Not really. A report from the 11th Eskenzi PR IT Analyst and CISO Forum
        Computer Weekly
        May 18, 2017
        Cisco Warns Of Un-Patchable WannaCrypt Vulnerabilities
        Information Security Buzz
        May 16, 2017
        Here comes the cloud...and it's all right
        SC Magazine
        May 15, 2017
        10 ways cyber security will evolve in the face of growing threats
        Information Age
        May 12, 2017
        Managing Complexity Is No. 1 Security Challenge in FireMon’s Annual State of the Firewall Report
        Computing Security
        May 12, 2017
        Sabre Breach
        Information Security Buzz
        May 12, 2017
        FireMon Announces Industry’s First Intelligent Cloud Security Management Solution
        IT Security Guru
        May 12, 2017
        FireMon Releases Third Annual State of the Firewall Report
        Dark Reading
        May 12, 2017
        WikiLeaks drops 'Grasshopper' documents, part four of its CIA Vault 7 files
          See all news from 2017

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        Security Manager
        Overview of FireMon’s Flagship Firewall Management Solution
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        Overview of FireMon’s Change Automation Solution
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        Overview of FireMon’s Rule Recertification Automation Solution
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        Overview of FireMon’s Attack Simulation and Risk Measurement Solution
        Immediate Insight
        Overview of FireMon’s Immediate Insight Solution
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        Delivering next-generation security management that boosts productivity and accelerates the agility of business
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        Intelligent Policy Automation: Orchestrating Change Management with Speed and Security.
        Hybrid Cloud Management
        Visibility into and control over Cloud Services, including AWS and OpenStack Platforms
        Accelerated Incident Response
        Immediate Insight in action - Orchestration, automation and analytics for data assembly and discovery
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        FireMon solutions and Check Point
        Cisco Solution Brief

        FireMon’s Intelligent Security Management platform enables users with Cisco Systems switches, routers and firewalls (Pix, ASA, FirePower) to work smarter, applying intelligence to the entire security program

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        Juniper Solution Brief
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        NSX Solution Brief
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        Palo Alto Solution Brief
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        Top 5 Requirements for Your NSPM Solution
        Network Security Policy Management (NSPM) continues to be a difficult practice for organizations the world over. In the last 20 years, network security policies (e.g. firewall rules) have grown by more than 3,500%. Yes, you read that number correctly. Why is that?
        Achieving Gartner's Recommendations for Secure Policy Configuration Assessment
        Gartner research has uncovered a number of security policy challenges for enterprises. Among these challenges are the typical assessments necessary to fortify policy for compliance and improved security posture.
        The Top 4 Myths of Policy Compliance
        Welcome to the world of overflowing regulations and compliance standards, of evolving infrastructure and the ever-present breach. It's a world where 72% of security and compliance personnel say their jobs are more difficult today than just two years ago.
        Planning Considerations for Compliance with GDPR
        The GDPR deadline is approaching quickly. If you haven’t started your GDPR journey yet, now is the time.
        2017 State of the Firewall
        Networking continues to evolve, yet the firewall remains critical to securing today’s enterprises. FireMon is proud to present its 3rd Annual State of the Firewall Report
        Firewall Cleanup Recommendations
        The implications of firewall policy complexity, why it remains a problem today and how to resolve it.
        Risk Solved: Automated, Real-Time Risk Analysis & Remediation
        Risk analysis with real-time change configuration is key to managing security risks in your IT infrastructure.
        Real-Time Data Triage
        Our Immediate Insight platform from FireMon can help organizations overcome the limitations and gaps inherent to the current analytic market.
        Bridging the SIEM Alert Triage Gap
        Immediate Insight enables security teams to improve event triage and incident response, extending the value of your existing full-featured SIEM.
        Automation Isn't One-Size-Fits-All
        Intelligent Policy Automation
        Intelligent Security Management

        Helping Enterprise Security Teams Improve Resource Efficiency & Reduce Overall Risk Exposure

        The Top 5 Myths of Data Breaches
        Five of the biggest myths that exist about data breaches, and explain how and why they occur.
        Firewall Sprawl: Top Four Security Gaps Exposed

        Firewall technology has come a long way since its initial, most rudimentary forms. Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW) are the latest development, and organizations are accelerating adoption to the new technology. But NGFWs aren’t a fix-all solution.

        2016 State of the Firewall
        2nd Annual State of the Firewall Report based on survey of 600 IT security practitioners.
        Avoid These 'Bottom Ten' Networking Worst Practices
        Overcoming the Complexity Gap
        When You Can't Patch It, Protect It from the Network
        Firewall Sprawl
        Aberdeen Group
        Quantifying the Value of Intelligent Security Management
        Aberdeen Group
        Security Analytics Brings Data-Driven Security Into the 21st Century
        Automate Zero Trust Policy and Enforcement
        The Return on Security of FireMon’s Security Manager
        Large Healthcare Provider
        The customer sought a data analysis tool to correlate application data with network and security data to spot service-impacting anomalies. They did not have an accurate picture of interoperability between applications and the underlying infrastructure.
        Major Airline
        Following a merger with another airline, this customer was left managing a large number of firewalls and routers from different security vendors using a home-grown application.
        National Insurance Provider
        This national insurance provider had three problems to tackle regarding their firewall policies. First, the number of rules under management was overwhelming staff and processes. They needed to increase visibility and effectiveness of their firewall change request/workflow ticketing process. And they also need help maintaining compliance PCI DSS requirements.
        Managed Service Provider
        Each time this Global MSP engaged a new customer, they had to onboard the firewalls – sometimes hundreds per engagement – into their network. Part of the onboarding process required assessing the policies against internal best practices – a manual, line-by-line process that took an average of 16 hours/firewall and was extremely error-prone.