A firewall is an invaluable asset in your business’s cybersecurity strategy. Whether hardware- or network-based, it will protect against malicious traffic. Cyber attacks often involve malicious traffic. A hacker may perform a brute-force attack to try and access an otherwise protected database, or a hacker may use a botnet to conduct a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
You can protect your business’s network from malicious traffic by using a firewall. Once deployed, the firewall will scan incoming and outgoing traffic while cross-referencing it against a set of rules. The firewall will reject traffic that fails any of the rules. But if you’re going to use a firewall, you should avoid firewall pinholes.
What Is a Firewall Pinhole?
A firewall pinhole is a particular port on a network that’s not covered by a firewall. All networks have ports. A port is a uniquely identifiable point of connection. Computers and other network-connected devices may have one or more ports each. A firewall pinhole is simply a port that’s not covered by a firewall.
The Dangers of Firewall Pinholes
Firewall pinholes are vulnerabilities. Like other vulnerabilities, they can pave the way for cyber attacks. Each firewall pinhole is an open port that a hacker may use to access your business’s network.
Ports are oftentimes left open so that apps can access a service on the network. But leaving these ports open for an extended period will place your business at risk of a cyber attack. Assuming an open port isn’t covered by a firewall, it will become a vulnerability. These open, unprotected ports are firewall pinholes. Hackers can bypass the firewall by targeting a firewall pinhole.
Eliminating Firewall Pinholes
To protect your business’s network from cyber attacks, you should eliminate firewall pinholes. A simple solution is to configure your business’s network so that firewall pinholes close automatically after a short period.
The longer a firewall pinhole stays open, the greater the risk of a hacker exploiting it and using the open port to conduct a cyber attack. You can set firewall pinholes to close automatically, however. If a firewall pinhole has been open for two or three minutes, for instance, you may want to close it. Configuring your business’s network to automatically close firewall pinholes after a few minutes will minimize the risk of cyber attacks.
Open ports are common on networks. You’ll have to keep some of the ports on your business’s network open. If a port is open and not covered by a firewall, though, it will become a firewall pinhole.