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What Can I Expect during a Firewall Test?

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  • Written By: Troy Holmes
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A firewall test is a security-testing program that verifies firewall software is working properly. An individual running a firewall test should expect the ports of the computer network to be tested by vulnerability scans. During the testing process, the program will attempt to penetrate ports using specific network protocols. Once the program has completed, a report will be generated that outlines the ports and protocols that are vulnerable in the network.

Firewall software is designed specifically to monitor and protect incoming and outgoing network traffic. This security software must be configured for each type of network protocol to work properly. The firewall test is the only tool that effectively verifies ports are disabled as intended.

Several types of firewall test software can be run on the Internet or installed locally onto the computer. When a test is run on the Internet, it requires special rights to the testing computer. This may be inconsistent for home networks because home computers typically use either cable or third-party Internet providers, which have additional firewall safeguards installed.

It is important to ensure that the firewall testing software is purchased from a reputable organization. Many pirate computer hackers use fake firewall testing Internet sites as fronts to infiltrate computer systems and spread viruses. While the test is running, the computer is vulnerable to the testing software, which could make it susceptible to a computer attack.

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There are many protocols evaluated during firewall testing. Some examples include hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP), file transfer protocol (FTP) and simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP). This process is meant to be a full intrusion test of all open ports on the network, which can be several thousand ports.

Firewall software includes many manual rules designed to prevent people from going to specific network addresses on the Internet. A firewall test includes rule set analysis, which is a process of validating the manual rules within the firewall. This analysis should be performed on a regular basis to ensure the rules are relevant to the current network.

A firewall test also includes a detailed review of network audit logs. This log analysis may uncover irregularities in personal usage or computer access. An example might be downloads of music files.

One of the benefits of running a firewall test is improving overall network performance. When the firewall security becomes latent with unnecessary rules, the network performance suffers. Firewall testing can outline redundant rules that can be removed, which can increase the performance of the firewall over time.

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