Internet Firewalls

COMPUTER SECURITY GUIDE

Routers and gateways help keep cyberbandits off the data superhighway.

Although the Internet was designed as an easy way for computer users to exchange information, it has turned into a major security headache for federal agencies trying to protect private networks from hackers. Internet-based data can be altered by anyone with a PC and enough skill and determination to crack passwords. A couple of years ago, for instance, a group of Danish teenagers used the Internet to gain access to the National Weather Service's main computer network and almost succeeded in shutting it down and grounding commercial airlines that depend on the center's forecasts.

The incident highlighted the vulnerability of Internet-based data and prompted many federal agencies to begin installing firewalls to guard against intrusion. Firewalls generally consist of a combination of hardware and software components that shield Web sites, e-mail and electronic-commerce transactions from intruders either inside or outside an agency.

Firewall products residing between internal and public networks monitor traffic and limit access only to authorized users. They are available from companies such as Digital Equipment Corp., Harris Computer Systems, IBM, Sterling Software, Telos and Trusted Information Systems. Prices range from $5,000 to $35,000 per system.

Several approaches exist to building firewall architectures. Some products incorporate special routers that use packet-filtering techniques to identify source addresses of users trying to enter networks. Routers can be programmed to deny access to unauthorized traffic and some can send out message alerts when suspicious activity is detected.

Other firewall products rely on gateways-connections between different networks-that oversee traffic, authenticate users and control access. Secure computer gateways known as proxy servers, installed between specific applications or agency work groups, can be programmed to hide critical information from outsiders. Like all firewall products, gateways can be difficult to maintain and therefore require coordinated management and technicaltrategies at all organization levels.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.