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Re: Client End Firewalls
From: Ansgar -59cobalt- Wiechers <bugtraq () planetcobalt net>
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 2004 01:12:11 +0200

On 2004-09-29 GuidoZ wrote:
Personally, I believe a client side solution is a MUST. That includes
a personal firewall and an antivirus suite of some kind. There are
ways past perimeter security, without a doubt. I was just discussing
this very thing with someone concerning the GDI/JPEG exploit. There
are ways around content filtering and such. You should have an
all-encompassing solution.

I agree on the AV part, but have to disagree on the client-side firewall

After all, say something gets through your perimeter AV solution and
firewall (maybe through an SSL session, for example). If a trojan
executes or is downloaded to the client system, wouldn't you want an
AV solution (centrally managed for ease of use and updates) to be
there to double check it? Giving the same scenario, wouldn't you want
a personal firewall to be there to stop any connect back attempts? The
GDI/JPEG exploit is a perfect example. It's possible you COULD of been
exploited before your AV knew a thing about it. A client side firewall
would stop the outgoing connection request.

Maybe it would, maybe it wouldn't. It will never be able to do this
reliably, since Windows provides far too many ways to work around it.
Once the box gets compromised it's simply not yours anymore and malware
may very well fool or disable the client-side firewall (more or less
easy, depending on the firewall's configuration).

I don't see much sense in client-side firewalling, especially in an
enterprise environment. You can't control outbound connections in a
reliable manner, and you don't need it to control inbound connections.
Shut down the services you don't need, set up an IDS/IPS, and you're
fine. Client-side firewalling doesn't qualify as defense-in-depth, since
there are more reliable ways to achieve the same goal. IMHO.

All this completely depends, of course, on client side education. =)
If they just allow all to pass through the firewall because they don't
know any better, then you shouldn't waste your time in allowing it.

If you really must have client-side firewalling (for whatever reason),
you want at least central configuration of the rules. You definitely do
*not* want your users to be able to allow or disallow connections.

Ansgar Wiechers
"Those who would give up liberty for a little temporary safety
deserve neither liberty nor safety, and will lose both."
--Benjamin Franklin

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