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Steal This List of New Year’s Resolutions
Jan 04, 2019
Happy 2019! The holidays are pretty much over and it’s back to the daily grind. At some point in your life, most of you have…
12 Days of Cybersecurity Awareness
Dec 20, 2018
At FireMon we eat, sleep, and breathe Cybersecurity. And while I generally write about the day-to-day challenges of the enterprise, I thought it might be…
Keep the Lights on Your NERC CIP Compliance with FireMon
Dec 12, 2018
As a big American football fan, I have always been amazed at the amount of preparation the teams and the National Football League (NFL) go…
Notes from the Field: AWS re:Invent 2018
Dec 06, 2018
AWS re:Invent 2018 is in the books, and this one did not disappoint, with presentations and sessions spread across five hotel conference centers populated by…

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}



        Jan 17, 2019 Dark Reading: Consistency is Key with Cloud Security

        When it comes to cloud security, consistency is everything – your cloud controls should mimic your on-premise implementations, so you have complete consistency of security policy enforcement across environments.

        Cloud security breaches have not been the result of brilliant criminal masterminds. Rather, they have been the result of self-inflicted errors that are often caused by faulty migration and deployment practices – particularly when the right security personnel are excluded from the process.

        Nov 06, 2018 AWS Network Security Deep Dive
        Running workloads in the cloud makes provisioning and setup easier—just spin up a VM. But you might be surprised by how many firewalls you’ll end up with in the cloud if you follow best practices. Cloud providers are clear on this point. Amazon says, “Security and Compliance is a shared responsibility between AWS and the customer… The customer assumes responsibility and management of the guest operating system (including updates and security patches), other associated application software as well as the configuration of the AWS provided security group firewall.” In short, cloud security is in your court.
        Oct 25, 2018 SC Mag: Continuous Security for the Hybrid Enterprise
        The cloud is a notable business advantage, but it does bring numerous security concerns including: a lack of visibility across cloud or between on-premises and cloud environments, monitoring security controls and changes within cloud and multi-cloud environments, and maintaining compliance by monitoring cloud traffic for suspicious and non-compliant behavior. It becomes increasingly complex in hybrid environments because now you're managing security for on-premise, cloud, virtual, container environments, and more.
        Oct 11, 2018 Improve Visibility to Reduce Vulnerabilities and Protect Patient Data
        Healthcare IT organizations, already burdened with budget constraints and the scarcity of technically proficient staff, must also contend with significant blind spots within their own networks. These blind spots occur everywhere, from endpoints into the cloud, and every blind spot increases the opportunity for attacks such as ransomware to be successful. Lumeta has been deployed at some of the largest enterprises and government agencies based on our ability to eliminate 100% of your IP network and connected device visibility gaps, improve your overall security posture, and reduce the risk of patient data theft.


        Resource Library

        Audit Compliance


        Policy Change

        Solution Briefs

        Policy Change

        White Papers

        Visibility Monitoring Management

        Analyst Reports

        Policy Change

        Case Studies

        FireMon + Check Point
        FireMon and Check Point combine to bring configuration assurance, continuous compliance and reduced risk.
        FireMon + Amazon Web Services
        FireMon extends orchestration, vulnerability management, and compliance (both internal policy compliance and regulatory compliance) across on-premises, AWS, and hybrid cloud environments.
        Global Policy Controller
        Overview of FireMon’s Global Policy Controller solution.
        Security Manager
        Overview of FireMon’s Flagship Firewall Management Solution
        Policy Planner
        Overview of FireMon’s Change Automation Solution
        Policy Optimizer
        Overview of FireMon’s Rule Recertification Automation Solution
        Risk Analyzer
        Overview of FireMon’s Attack Simulation and Risk Measurement Solution
        Immediate Insight
        Overview of FireMon’s Immediate Insight Solution
        FireMon + Palo Alto Networks
        FireMon gives Palo Alto Networks users a fusion of vulnerability management, continuous compliance and orchestration capabilities that speed migration to the latest firewall technologies.
        FireMon Appliances

        Whether you’re monitoring 100 devices or 15,000, on one continent or around the world, we offer a FM appliance with the power and storage capacity to deliver FireMon’s high-performance, highly scalable firewall management and risk analysis solutions.

        Compliance and Security for Utilities
        Meet NERC requirements and prevent catastrophic infrastructure events.
        Immediate Insight and Palo Alto Networks Application Framework
        Moving to the Cloud
        Central security control for expanding cloud intrastructures.
        Risk Mitigation
        Eliminate disruptions while removing security risks.
        Reduce Security Costs
        Continuous security that doesn't break the bank.
        Intent-based Network Security
        Continuous security starts with intent.
        FireMon and Elasticsearch: Warp speed security
        Continuous Security for Industrial Enterprises
        Command security for PCN and SCADA networks
        Internet of Things
        Taming the ever-expanding IoT attack surface.
        Zero Trust
        Continuous Security for Zero Trust Networks
        Migrations Made Easy
        Speed up adoption of NGFW with FireMon.
        Intelligent Security Management
        Delivering next-generation security management that boosts productivity and accelerates the agility of business
        Intelligent Policy Automation
        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
        Accelerating Incident Response. Immediate Insight in action - Orchestration, automation and analytics for data assembly and discovery
        Immediate Insight in action - Orchestration, automation and analytics for data assembly and discovery
        Change Simulation & Risk Scoring
        Proactively reduce risk based upon network exposure and host accessibility
        Check Point Solution Brief
        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

        Fortinet Solution Brief
        FireMon solutions for Fortinet
        Juniper Solution Brief
        FireMon solutions for Juniper
        NSX Solution Brief
        FireMon solutions for NSX
        3 Steps to Gain Control of Cloud Security
        Better cloud visibility brings better cloud security.
        2018 State of the Firewall
        The full report walks through budget needs, staffing concerns, five-year firewall strategies, and more about how network security professionals at best-in-class businesses of all sizes see the evolution of firewalls.
        A Primer On Intent-Based Network Security
        Intent-based network security (IBNS) decouples intent from implementation. In this model, intent becomes the bedrock of policies and controls, and implementation serves as the device-specific enforcement of the declared security goal.
        Hybrid Cloud Security: Minding the Gap
        Visibility is often a first step toward cloud security
        The Four Factors Necessary For Zero Trust

        FireMon helps organizations move towards Zero Trust by providing:

        • Visibility into the network
        • Analysis of network traffic flow and possible breach points
        • Security Intent to determine what’s permissible
        • Orchestration to consistently automate what needs to be done
        5 Reasons to Implement Security Policy Orchestration and Automation

        Reduce your attack surface with a Security Policy Orchestration and Automation solution like FireMon.

        Managing Migration Mayhem
        Migrations can strike fear into the heart of even the most seasoned security professional. Follow this roadmap for a smooth, successful migration.
        Four Ways to Reduce Your Attack Surface

        Larger attack surface means more opportunities for cybercriminals to do harm. Learn how FireMon can help you remove exposures before they become exploited.

        Why GDPR is Nothing to Fear
        A practical (and sometimes philosophical) guide to complying with the General Data Protection Regulation.
        Four Key Factors for a Successful Migration

        Migrations run the risk of cost overrun, delays and disruption of network service - often due to a lack of personnel and process to efficiently and effectively manage. To ensure a successful migration, consider these four key factors: 1) identifying and removing technical mistakes, 2) removing unused access, 3) refining and organizing what remains and 4) continuous, real-time monitoring.

        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 & How to Avoid Non-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.
        How Intelligent Policy Automation Can Increase the Speed & Security of Change Management Workflows
        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.
        Frost & Sullivan 2018 North American IoT Cybersecurity Technology Best Practices
        Lumeta Honored with 2018 Best Practices Award for IoT Cybersecurity Technology Innovation
        Using Security Policy And Automation (SPOA) Tools To Reduce The Attack Surface
        Attack surfaces have expanded greatly in the past several years, in part because of the amount of new applications coming online via Internet of Things and increasingly connected technology. Organizations have an admittedly tough time keeping up with all the new touchpoints and the rapid expansion of the attack surface. Complete defense is nearly impossible, and many companies struggle with visibility issues, mismatched or misaligned firewall policies, and an inability to comprehensively test the security configurations they do have
        The Zero Trust eXtended Ecosystem


        Forrester’s Zero Trust Model of information security helps teams develop robust prevention, detection and incident response capabilities to protect their company's vital digital business ecosystem. This report will help security pros understand the technologies best suited to empowering and extending their Zero Trust initiatives and will detail how Forrester sees this model and framework growing and evolving.

        Overcoming the Complexity Gap
        Firewall Sprawl
        Aberdeen Group
        Quantifying the Value of Intelligent Security Management
        Aberdeen Group
        Network 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
        Convey Health Solutions Centralizes Firewall Management and Achieves Continuous Compliance with FireMon
        For Convey Health Solutions, the FireMon solution streamlined their compliance efforts. With out-of-the-box and customizable compliance assessments, automated rule documentation and reporting, and workflows for rule review and recertification, FireMon can analyze and report in real-time that systems have been calibrated together to prevent unauthorized access and protect critical assets.
        Oil and Energy Company Increases IT Operational Efficiency and Enhanced Rule and Policy Compliance with FireMon
        This mid-sized US-based oil and energy company was seeking to improve both the operational efficiency of their IT organization and security operations. They needed to streamline their processes for proposing and implementing changes to their firewall rule base. At the same time, they needed to enhance the speed and efficiency with which they performed rule compliance audits post-change. Their ideal solution would need to effectively meet the needs of both their firewall administrators and security analysts.
        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.