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Differences between Network & Web Application Security. Comparing Network Security with Web Security

Posted in Web Application Vulnerability Scanners

Differences between Network & Web Application Security. Comparing Network Security with Web Security - 4.7 out of 5 based on 3 votes

netsparker-network-security-vs-web-security-1According to Wikipedia, security is defined as the degree of resistance to, or protection from, harm. It applies to any vulnerable and valuable asset which in almost all cases, will include an organizations’ website, web service and IT infrastructure.

At the same time, it is important to realize that security is a very broad term. Many people mistakenly associate network security with web application security. While there are some similarities, there are also many distinct differences that necessitate a unique approach to each. The assumption that a secure network results in a secure web application and vice versa is a critical mistake.

In this article, we are going to look at what makes web application security different from network security and why an approach that addresses both is the only way forward when it comes to maintaining an effective overall IT security posture.

What is Network Security?

Network security can be either hardware based (routers with a built-in firewalls, network intrusion and detection systems) or software based. Because network security has been around for a very long time, it’s often the first thing that comes to mind when people think about security. Web application security on the other hand, is a relatively new challenge.

Much like a moat, curtain wall and portcullis protect a castle, network security plays the important but restrictive and limited role of keeping the bad guys (hackers) out and allowing the “good guys” to enter. In the DMZ environment there’s an overall focus on protecting the perimeter that surrounds the website, web application or web service with the help of a Firewall security appliance. Although this works well in some instances, Firewall security appliances are no longer considered an adequate solution because they are unable to protect organizations from their own vulnerable web services or web application servers.

Minimise Internet Security Threats, Scan & Block Malicious Content, Application Visibility and Internet Usage Reporting for Businesses

Posted in GFI WebMonitor: Web Security & Monitoring

Minimise Internet Security Threats, Scan & Block Malicious Content, Application Visibility and Internet Usage Reporting for Businesses - 5.0 out of 5 based on 2 votes

gfi-webmonitor-internet-usage-reporting-block-malicious-content-1aFor every business, established or emerging, the Internet is an essential tool which has proved to be indispensable. The usefulness of the internet can be counteracted by abuse of it, by a business’s employees or guests. Activities such as downloading or sharing illegal content, visiting high risk websites and accessing malicious content are serious security risks for any business.

There is a very easy way of monitoring, managing and implementing effective Internet usage. GFI WebMonitor can not only provide the aforementioned, but also provide real – time web usage. This allows for tracking bandwidth utilisation and traffic patterns. All this information can then be presented on an interactive dashboard. It is also an effective management tool, providing a business with the internet usage records of its employees.

Such reports can be highly customised to provide usage information based on the following criteria/categories:

  • Most visited sites
  • Most commonly searched phrases
  • Where most bandwidth is being consumed
  • Web application visibility

Some of the sources for web abuse that can be a time sink for employees are social media and instant messaging (unless the business operates at a level where these things are deemed necessary). Such web sites can be blocked.

GFI WebMonitor can also achieve other protective layers for the business by providing the ability to scan and block malicious content. WebMonitor helps the business keep a close eye on its employees’ internet usage and browsing habits, and provides an additional layer of security.

On its main dashboard, as shown below, the different elements help in managing usage and traffic source and targets:

WebMonitor’s Dashboard provides in-depth internet usage and reporting

Figure 1. WebMonitor’s Dashboard provides in-depth internet usage and reporting

WebMonitor’s main dashboard contains a healthy amount of information allowing administrators and IT managers to obtain important information such as:

  • See how many Malicious Sites were blocked and how many infected files detected.
  • View the Top 5 Users by bandwidth
  • Obtain Bandwidth Trends such as Download/Upload, Throughput and Latency
  • Number of currently active web sessions.
  • Top 5 internet categories of sites visited by the users
  • Top 5 Web Applications used to access the internet

Knowing which applications are used to access the internet is very important to any business. Web applications like YouTube, Bittorrent, etc. can be clearly identified and blocked, providing IT managers and administrators a ringside view of web utilisation.

Cisco ASA 5500-X Series Firewall with IPS, ASA CX & FirePower Services. Application Visibility and Control (AVC), Web Security, Botnet Filtering & IPS / IDS, Firepower Threat Defense

Posted in Cisco Firewalls - ASA & PIX Firewall Configuration

Cisco ASA 5500-X Series Firewall with IPS, ASA CX & FirePower Services. Application Visibility and Control (AVC), Web Security, Botnet Filtering & IPS / IDS, Firepower Threat Defense - 5.0 out of 5 based on 8 votes

cisco-asa-firewall-5500-x-series-ips-context-aware-firepower-firesight-services-1The Cisco ASA Firewall 5500-X series has evolved from the previous ASA 5500 Firewall series, designed to protect mission critical corporate networks and data centers from today’s advanced security threats.

Through sophisticated software and hardware options (modules), the ASA’s 5500-X series Firewalls support a number of greatly advanced next-generation security features that sets them apart.These include:

  • Cisco Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) services. A signature based IPS solution offered as a software or hardware module depending on the ASA 5500-X appliance model.
  • Cisco ASA CX Context-aware services. A software module for ASA 5500-X appliances except the ASA 5585-X where it’s offered as a hardware module. Provides IPS services, Application Visibility and Control (AVC), web security and botnet filtering.
  • Cisco FirePOWER Services. Cisco’s latest software & hardware threat protection, superseding previous technologies by combining IPS and CX services plus full contextual awareness of users, infrastructure, applications and content, URL filtering with advanced malware protection (AMP). Offered as a software module for 5500-X series appliances except the 5585-X, which requires a dedicated hardware module. Note that FirePOWER services run in parallel with the classical ASA software.
  • Cisco Firepower Threat Defense (FTD). This is the next step after the FirePOWER services which was released by Cisco in 2015.  While FirePOWER services run alongside with the classical Cisco ASA software, the newer Firepower Threat Defence combines the Cisco ASA Software + FirePOWER services in one software package. This is also the concept of the newer Firepower appliances (e.g 4100 & 9000 series) which run Firepower Threat Defense software. At this point, Firepower Threat Defence is under continious development but does not still support many features offered by the classical ASA software. For example at the time of writing site-to-site IP Sec VPN is still not available.

Our previous article examined Cisco’s ASA 5500 series Firewall hardware modules, which include the Content Security CSC-SSM & Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) / Intrusion Detection System (IDS) AIP-SCC / AIP-SSM modules. While these solutions are no longer sold by Cisco, they have been widely deployed in data centers and corporate networks around the world and will be supported by Cisco until 2018.

Note: To download datasheets containing technical specifications and features offered by the Cisco 5500-X Series Firewalls with FirePOWER, IPS and CX Context-aware services, visit our Cisco ASA 5500 & 5500-X Series Adaptive Security Appliances Download Section.

Since Cisco’s announcement back in 2013 regarding the discontinuation of its ASA 5500 series firewall appliances in favour of the newer 5500-X Next Generation Firewalls, customers have been contemplating when to upgrade to the newer 5500-X series. Given the fact that Cisco is no longer providing major firmware upgrades to the older ASA 5500 series and the appearance of new advanced security threats and malware (e.g ransomware), it is now considered imperative to upgrade to the newer platform so that security is maintained at the highest possible level.

Customers seeking advanced protection are likely to consider expanding their ASA Firewall capabilities with the purchase of an IPS module, CX Context-aware or FirePOWER services.

cisco-asa-firewall-5500-x-series-ips-context-aware-firepower-firesight-services-2

Figure 1. The Cisco FirePOWER hardware module for the ASA-5585-X Firewall

Cisco’s FirePOWER advanced security threat protection solution was introduced late 2014 and its purpose is to replace the current ASA 5500-X IPS and ASA CX 5500-X Context-aware offerings.

The diagram below shows key security features provided by most Cisco ASA Firewall appliances. Features such as Clustering, High Availability, Network profiling, Identity-Policy Control, VPN and advanced access lists have until today been fairly standard offerings across the ASA Firewall series, however, the newer 5500-X can now offer the additional FirePOWER services marked in red below:

Cisco ASA 5500 Series Firewall Modules & Cards – Content Security (CSC-SSM), IPS - IDS (AIP SCC & AIP SSM) Hardware Modules

Posted in Cisco Firewalls - ASA & PIX Firewall Configuration

Cisco ASA 5500 Series Firewall Modules & Cards – Content Security (CSC-SSM), IPS - IDS (AIP SCC & AIP SSM) Hardware Modules - 5.0 out of 5 based on 5 votes

cisco-asa-firewall-5500-series-ips-ids-content-filtering-antimalware-hardware-modules-1Cisco’s Adaptive Security Appliance (ASA) Firewalls are one of the most popular and proven security solutions in the industry. Since the introduction of the PIX and ASA Firewall into the market, Cisco has been continuously expanding its firewall security features and intrusion detection/prevention capabilities to adapt to the evolving security threats while integrating with other mission-critical technologies to protect corporate networks and data centers.

In recent years, we’ve seen Cisco tightly integrate separate security technologies such as Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) and Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS) within the ASA Firewall appliances in the form of hardware module add-ons (older 5500 series & newer 5500-X series) and, recently, software modules supported only by the newer ASA 5500-X series security appliances.

With the addition of the software or hardware module, customers are able to increase the firewall’s security and protection capabilities while at the same time simplifing security management and administration by dealing with a single firewall device instead of multiple firewall, IPS or IDS devices.

While this article covers the hardware modules available for the Cisco ASA 5500 Firewall series, upcoming articles will cover both software and hardware modules along with Cisco FirePOWER & FireSIGHT management services for the newer ASA 5500-X series.

Note: The Cisco ASA 5500 series hardware modules for ASA-5505, ASA 5510, ASA 5520 & ASA 5540 have been announced as End-of-Sale & End-of-Life. Modules below are no longer sold by Cisco, however, they will be fully supported until 30th of September 2018.

Users interested in the newer ASA 5500-X IPS, Context-Aware and FirePOWER services can read our article Cisco ASA 5500-X Series Firewall with IPS, ASA CX & FirePower Services. Application Visibility and Control (AVC), Web Security, Botnet Filtering & IPS / IDS.

Hardware Modules for ASA 5500 Series Firewalls

The ASA 5500 series Firewalls (ASA-5505, ASA 5510, ASA 5520, ASA 5540 etc) were the first security appliances with the capability to integrate hardware modules for enhanced security and threat protection.

To help target different markets and security requirements, Cisco split its hardware module offerings into two distinct categories:

  • Content Security and Control Security Services (CSC-SSM)
  • Advanced Inspection and Prevention Security Services (AIP-SCC & AIP-SSM)

Each hardware module card is equipped with its own CPU, RAM and Flash storage space, running a separate operating system that integrates with the ASA Firewall via its internal network ports.

Let’s take a brief look at each category.

The Content Security and Control Security Services Modules

The Content Security and Control Security Services module aims to cover corporate environments where comprehensive malware, advanced content filtering (including Web Caching, URL filtering, anti-phishing), and anti-spam filtering is required. This all-in-one hardware module solution is capable of providing a wealth of security and control capabilities essential for all size networks.

Following are the hardware modules supporting Content Security and Control Security Services:

Windows Server 2016 – Hyper-V Virtualization Update

Posted in Windows 2012 Server

Windows Server 2016 – Hyper-V Virtualization Update - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

windows-server-2016-new-hyper-v-virtualization-features-1The new Hyper-V virtualization features offered by Windows Server 2016 are planning to make major changes in the virtualization market. From Nested Hyper-V, revolutionary security, new management options to service availability, storage and more.

Learn all about the new hot virtualization features offered by Windows Server 2016 by attending the free webinar hosted by Altaro and presented by two Microsoft Cloud and Datacenter Managerment MVP’s Andy Syrewicze and Aidan Finn.

To learn more about the free webinar and register click here.

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