The easiest way to hide system names and IP addresses from external scanners is to use Network Address Translation (NAT) on your network. NAT devices (usually border firewalls) allow you to use private addresses on your internal network and public addresses on your external one. Unless a NAT rule is specifically enabled, such configuration prevents anyone on the Internet from reaching systems that use private addresses.
When using NAT, it's a matter of best practice to use RFC 1918-reserved private address ranges. These include the 10.0.0.0-10.255.255.255, 172.16.0.0-172.31.255.255, and 192.168.0.0-192.168.255.255 address ranges. These addresses are not routable over the Internet, and they can protect you from firewall mis-configurations.
- A SearchSecurity.com reader asks whether firewalls alone can block port-scanning activity.
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This was first published in June 2008