Apr 18, 2024

Firewalls 103: Unlocking Advanced Security with Application Layer Inspection

Paul Painter, Director, Solutions Engineering

Continuing our firewall series, we explore Application Layer Inspection (ALI), a powerful security feature often missing from basic firewalls. Be sure to check out our articles about Network Address Translation (NAT) and ACL Rules to learn about their roles in network security.

In the world of cybersecurity, many out-of-the-box firewalls lack the advanced feature of application layer inspection (ALI). This critical capability is often an additional licensed offering, adding an extra layer of defense against sophisticated threats.

ALI: Going Deeper Than Packet Headers

Advanced firewalls, such as those used by HorizonIQ, take security to the next level by enabling application layer inspection. While traditional firewalls inspect packet headers for source and destination information, ALI dives deeper.  It analyzes the actual contents of data packets, identifying specific applications, protocols, and even malware signatures. This granular control allows for highly effective threat detection and prevention.

HorizonIQ & Palo Alto Firewalls: A Powerful Security Combination

Palo Alto firewalls, a cornerstone of HorizonIQ’s security infrastructure, offer application layer inspection through the “Threat Prevention” add-on. This feature actively seeks known signatures of hacking and malware, fortifying your defense mechanisms.

But Palo Alto’s security doesn’t stop there.  “WildFire” unlocks a comprehensive suite of advanced threat protection capabilities:

  • Dynamic Analysis: Execute suspicious files in a secure sandbox to observe behavior and identify malicious activity.
  • Malware Detection: By analyzing file behavior and characteristics, WildFire identifies known and unknown malware variants, including polymorphic and metamorphic strains, using signature-based detection and machine learning algorithms.
  • Zero-Day Protection: Effectively combat zero-day exploits, vulnerabilities unknown to vendors or lacking available patches, through dynamic analysis, preventing harm before it occurs.
  • Threat Intelligence: WildFire continuously updates its threat intelligence database, leveraging a global network of sensors to proactively protect against emerging threats.
  • Automatic Remediation: Swiftly respond to detected malicious files. WildFire automatically generates signatures and updates to Palo Alto Networks’ security devices, containing and mitigating cyber attacks in real-time.
  • Integration with Security Ecosystem: WildFire seamlessly integrates with various security technologies and platforms, sharing threat intelligence to strengthen the overall security posture. It collaborates with SIEM systems, threat intelligence platforms, and endpoint protection solutions.
  • Advanced Reporting and Analysis: WildFire provides comprehensive reports and analysis dashboards, offering insights into detected threats, affected systems, and the overall security posture of the organization. This enables informed decision-making and proactive security measures.

HorizonIQ: Your Guide to Enhanced Network Security

If your security needs surpass simple ACL rules, HorizonIQ’s expert staff can help you harness the power of Application Layer Inspection for unparalleled network defense.  Discover a new level of security and keep your organization safe from evolving threats.

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Paul Painter

Director, Solutions Engineering

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