Firewalls failing to protect banks

A leading expert in network security has revealed that banks are wasting millions of pounds on firewalls that do little to improve the security of their networks and by association, customers’ money. Nir Zuk, a renowned digital security innovator and co-creator of stateful firewall technology, laid out his concerns in a recent interview for ZDnet UK

Zuk met with major banks and grilled them as to their firewall usage. Allegedly none of those interviewed was able to sufficiently explain the security benefits offered by their firewall systems. Zuk believes that firewalls have stagnated over the last 7 years as they are required to do little more than manage ports. As such Zuk does not believe that the firewalls used by banks justify the level of expenditure they require each year.

He argues that the ineffectiveness of firewalls in the world of modern network security is symptomatic of a larger problem. His suggested approach to the future of security technology is one of a universal and comprehensive nature. Rather than tackling each security risk independently, Zuk is pushing for a climate in which security technology is able to address wider issues and thus prove to be more effective.

Some experts contest Zuk’s position, claiming that firewalls still offer basic perimeter protection and as such are still relevant to banking network security. However, Jan Guildentops offered a partial confirmation of Zuk’s recent statements. As a security analyst, Guildentops suggests that Zuk is promoting application intelligence as the next level of network security. Stateful firewalls go some way towards creating a holistic and discerning security system, but these experts want to push firewall intelligence even further.

A spokesperson for the security vendor Symantec proposed an additional viewpoint on the evolution of network security. Tony Osborn argues that companies and banks must make network security an integral part of every aspect of their business model. This is because in recent years the elements traditionally guarded by firewalls have paled into insignificance against the actions of bank workers and their customers. It is these human factors that some believe must be integrated into future banking firewall practise in order to ensure that customer money is not wasted on ineffectual, outmoded technologies.

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