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.

In Conclusion

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.