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October 2011 Vol. 2, No. 5

Understanding the value of an enterprise application-aware firewall

Firewalls have been the predominant form of security for Internet-connected networks for some 25 years now. While the technology remained largely unchanged for much of that time, more recently a new generation of "application-aware" firewalls has emerged to deal with today's application-centric threats. More on application security SANS Top 25 programming errors: Application security best practices  Netsparker: Free Web application security testing tool Black Hat 2010 podcast: Mobile application security threats  During this last quarter century, attackers have moved from targeting operating systems to targeting the applications that run on them, moving up the protocol stack to use protocols such as HTTP and XML to launch sophisticated attacks. These attacks are designed to circumvent the traditional access control policies enforced by perimeter firewalls. In turn, firewalls have added more functionality to be able to operate on all layers of the protocol stack, from layer 2 to layer 7, inspecting traffic and analyzing protocols...

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