Safeguarding Automotive Operational Technology From External Threats With Ngfws

Modern vehicles use internal broadcast networks like the CAN bus to communicate; access to those networks presents an opportunity for hackers. NGFWs provide robust protection against these threats with broad visibility, advanced threat detection, and streamlined security management.

Unlike traditional firewalls that look at IP and TCP sections of data packets, NGFWs inspect deeper into the packet to check for website data content. This capability also reduces performance overhead.

Granular Application Identification

Granular Application Identification is crucial for robust external threat safeguards for operational technology (OT) environments. By pinpointing the exact applications running on your OT systems, you can implement targeted security measures like firewalls and intrusion detection systems, effectively shielding your critical infrastructure from unauthorized access and malicious manipulation. Remember, in the realm of OT security, precision is paramount; accurately identifying application traffic and defining security policies based on that information is essential for an effective zero-trust model. With it, security solutions can identify applications based on features such as IP addresses or port numbers, which can be misleading and inaccurate. 

A high-performing NGFW should also be able to inspect encrypted traffic, an increasingly popular communication protocol for business applications. A firewall with SSL inspection provides better protection against phishing attacks, data theft, and other cyber threats. It should also have integrated intrusion prevention to help prevent and block malicious traffic from entering the network. Lastly, an NGFW should feature user identity awareness to allow administrators to control access more granularly, down to the individual user level.

To avoid misconfigurations that can open the door to cyberattacks, look for a scalable NGFW that supports easy deployment and expansion as your network grows. Also, opt for an NGFW with user-friendly management interfaces that reduce the likelihood of errors that can leave your system vulnerable to attack. Last but not least, choose an NGFW with reliable vendor support to help you resolve any issues that may arise.

Deep Packet Inspection

Many cyberattacks today bypass traditional firewalls by exploiting the application layer of the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model to gain access to corporate networks. Traditional firewalls operate at OSI layers 2 and 4, which provides limited visibility into and control over application traffic. NGFWs can operate at higher OSI layers, including the application layer, to provide full-stack visibility and more comprehensive security controls.

Unlike conventional packet filtering, which looks at only the header information of each network data packet, NGFWs conduct deep packet inspection (DPI) to scan each packet for malicious content thoroughly. This allows NGFWs to identify applications, their content, and threats hidden in legitimate-looking traffic with scalpel precision without slowing down the organization’s network.

DPI also helps NGFWs detect attacks that may exceed the capabilities of existing firewall and intrusion prevention system (IPS) signatures. For example, attackers can alter their malware strains to evade detection by modifying attack patterns or adding new payloads. NGFWs can integrate threat intelligence feeds to update protections and detect emerging cyberattacks quickly.

When selecting an NGFW, look for one that can handle the specific security needs of your organization, including the number of users and types of devices connecting to the network. Ensure that the NGFW you select will work with your other security infrastructure, such as logging servers, authentication servers, and network access control (NAC) solutions.

The best NGFWs have inline deep learning, which goes beyond structured data analysis to find unknown zero-day attacks and stop them at the source. The first NGFWs to feature inline deep learning also enable you to run a variety of automated testing procedures on the NGFW, which helps ensure that your NGFW is protecting your network with the utmost effectiveness and efficiency.

NGFWs should be able to scale to meet your organization’s growing security and performance needs, enabling you to implement a more effective defense against the most advanced threats. Look for NGFWs that support multiple connection paths and that offer hardware that can easily be upgraded or expanded to accommodate future business growth and data requirements.

Intrusion Prevention System

Autonomous vehicles rely on stable and secure communication networks to exchange data with other vehicles, infrastructure systems, and central control centers. A breach in these communication networks could lead to road accidents, privacy violations, or sabotage. Implementing robust encryption and authentication protocols is crucial to preventing cyber threats.

While traditional firewalls operate on a simple deny/allow paradigm, NGFWs use an intelligent threat-detection system to recognize malicious traffic. These systems detect patterns in a network’s data, looking for “small clusters” that indicate anomalies. Once a cluster is detected, the system immediately flags it as potentially being an attack. The system then alerts the security operations center (SOC) to the potential intrusion and how it’s being exploited, enabling the SOC to act quickly.

NGFWs also provide visibility into application-level traffic, providing granular access controls. By utilizing deep packet inspection, they can inspect every element of a network packet in a context-aware manner. This allows them to identify the contents of a packet and determine whether it’s safe to pass through based on pre-set rules. This capability also enables NGFWs to pierce the protection offered by SSL-encrypted tunnels, commonly used to deliver malware and command and control traffic.

The advanced capabilities of NGFWs make them true cybersecurity multi-tools. While many businesses rely on basic stateful firewall and VPN features, others may regularly use sandboxing and advanced emerging threat detection capabilities. With the continuous expansion of cyber threats, a scalable security solution is critical to protecting the organization’s core business.

A good NGFW should scale with the company’s network infrastructure, allowing it to accommodate new users and traffic demands without negatively impacting performance. It should also support multiple deployment models, including virtualization and cloud environments.

Spread the love