Re: [fw-wiz] Coding a custom firewall manager for multiple firewall brands. Feasible?
- From: david@xxxxxxx
- Date: Tue, 30 Jun 2009 21:06:09 -0700 (PDT)
On Tue, 30 Jun 2009, plopz wrote:
I'd just recently got an extra job role as a firewall administrator and I'm
faced with a network that consists of multitudes of firewall brands (nokia,
sidewinder etc. ) bulging with almost 3000+ rules. The networks are also
segmented and structured in such a way that adding a new path from one host
to another services requires multiple entries into various firewalls that
are in the path. As the requests for new connectivity come in hundreds or
more per week, I feel that the current implementation is not really
scalable. (manual data entries into firewalls and fight-fire
I'd look at existing firewall managment tools such as solsoft, algosoft etc.
but they don't seems to cover some of the brands that we have. There are
also budget issues, red tapes, securities, stability etc etc issues from
third party vendor...
I'm contemplating on trying to code a custom firewall manager that is able
to handle the daily change request and push down the different rules into
the different brand of firewalls in our network. Do you guys think it's
worth the effort or acquiring a third party firewall manger is better?
one thing to note is that some of the brands that you have are not very receptive to remote administration.
Sidewinder actually has an extensive command line environment, but it's not well documented in their manuals, but the help functions and some examination of the output (cf <section> help and cf <section> query) make it fairly easy to figure out. note that for many cases you will need to execute many commands to set everything up. one gotcha to watch out for is that sidewinder has selinux-like permissions, so you have an extra file type to worry about for your scripts.
the one thing I haven't taken the time to look up is if there is a way short of expect to ssh in to a sidewinder, srole (change to the admin) and continue to have a script run)
I don't know if there is any way to script rules in and out of checkpoint firewalls (your nokias), if anyone can point me at things I would defiantly be interested.
I would start by trying to categorize the rule change requests that you are getting. if there are significant patterns, than automating it shouldn't be too hard, if ther eare no strong patterns I suspect that you will spend as much time manipulating your automatin tool as you would the firewalls.
for this sort of thing I am a big believer in home-grown tools. the one-size-fits-none nature of the do-everything tools doesn't attract me.
another thing to keep in mind is that by centralizing the management like this, you are working to save time and eliminate simple mistakes that keep things from working, but you will make it _much_ easier to make mistakes the other way and open up too much access. the management tool is also a _very_ poerful thing for any attacker to get control of.
having lots of segments with multiple firewall technologies is probably a sign of one of two things.
1. the business grew by aquisition and each company that was purchased used a different firewall and the result is just pasted togeather
2. someone made a deliberate choice to provide defense in depth with diversity so that a failure/exploit in one technology (or user error in rule entry) would be limited in how much damage it could do.
if you are in case #2 you should think a little bit before you throw away the advantages to get the time savings. if you have clueful management ask them about it (and in any case, make sure they know about what tradeoff you are making)
if you are in case #1 decide if you want to take advantage of the diversity or not. if you don't, seriously start a campaign to standardize the firewalls on one technology that you can automate (ideally something that you can script, think of the advantages of being able to have a web page for _some_ _standard_ requests that authenticates the requester and implements the rule without you getting involved) you don't have to replace them rapidly, just start replacing them as you get the chance.
you may also want to talk to management about eliminating some of the firewalls. if you are getting hundreds of requests a week, your current set of 3000 rules is only about half a year's worth of requests. either you are turning off a lot of requests, are combining many requests into a single rule, or your numbers aren't adding up.
at my place we have 60 or so firewall locations (each with a HA pair of firewalls), we just did a report from our ticketing systems and find that we are getting ~10 requests/day for the last year, and have 30,000 or so rules around the network. it's not fun, but I'm not convinced that a central management is a magic wand to make the pain go away although some of my co-workers are)
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