> please tell me your opinion on this statement of mine (many people have
> been burned alive for much less than that).
> A firewall is something that must not be tampered with, so the fewer people
> know something about it (in the organization it is there to protect) the
> better. Thus, a UNIX O.S. is a good thing in an environment where many
> people know NT, i.e. almost everywhere.
the short one is that if the above were true, and the firewall person
left, was hit by a bus, etc, then the company is *FUCKED*. Additionally,
you may need to change the firewall to reflect changes in security policy
-- after all, the firewall merely enacts policy, it doesn't create it.
A better method, imho, of saying it (perhaps what you meant) would be:
Firewalls exist to enact corporate security policy. Since this policy
changes infrequently, access controls to the firewall should be both
severely restricted, and logged in such a way as to make any and all
actions obvious to an experienced administrator. Additionally, all changes
made to the firewall must go through authorized change control procedures
so that they can accurately reflect the security policy, and the coding
can be properly reviewed to make sure that policy is correctly enacted.
IMHO, knowledge is a good thing: if everyone knew about the firewall, how
it worked, and WHY it did what it did, and even the source code of the
firewall, it shouldn't matter if the firewall properly enacts your
policies (and they demand stringent access control). In fact, if the
people in the company were knowledgeable, then they would likely know the
policy and WHY it was in effect.
As for the OS choice of the firewall, unix/NT/OS2/mac/DOS/whatever,
security through obscurity is the worst case scenario in that you are
banking on people not knowing something rather than proper access controls
and channels to facilitate this.
A better question might be: if you are using unix/NT/OS2/mac/DOS/whatever
for a firewall, how could people (both internal and external) gain
unauthorized access to the firewall? If your policy states that this
should not be, then you should take every action to prevent it. For an NT
machine, it may mean not participating in a domain, blocking all of the
RPC/auth/whatever ports,disabling a rack of services,etc. for unix it may
mean not participating in a YP/NIS domain, not running RPC/portmapper and
a myriad of other daemons, etc. same ideas, different OS. But, all comes
down to policy and properly enacting it.
Craig I. Hagan "It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to back it up"
hagan(at)cih.com "True hackers don't die, their ttl expires"
"It takes a village to raise an idiot, but an idiot can raze a village"
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