Palo Alto Networks® Next-generation Firewall Overview

Palo Alto Networks® Next-generation Firewall Overview
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Palo Alto Networks® Next-generation Firewall Overview
Fundamental shifts in application usage, user behavior, and network infrastructure create a threat
landscape that exposes weaknesses in traditional port-based network security. Your users want access to
an increasing number of applications operating across a wide range of device types often with little regard
for the business or security risks. Meanwhile, datacenter expansion, network segmentation, virtualization,
and mobility initiatives are forcing you to rethink how to enable access to applications and data, while
protecting your network from a new, more sophisticated class of advanced threats that evade traditional
security mechanisms.
Historically, you were left with two basic choices—either block everything in the interest of
network security, or enable everything in the interest of your business. These choices left little
room for compromise. The Palo Alto Networks enterprise security platform provides you with
a way to safely enable the applications your users need by allowing access while preventing
cybersecurity threats.
Our next-generation firewall is the core of the enterprise security platform, designed from the
ground up to address the most sophisticated threats. The next-generation firewall inspects all
traffic—inclusive of applications, threats, and content—and ties it to the user, regardless of
location or device type. The application, content, and user—the elements that run your business—
become integral components of your enterprise security policy. The result is the ability
to align security with your key business initiatives.
• Safely enable applications, users, and content by classifying all traffic, determining the business
use case, and assigning policies to allow and protect access to relevant applications.
• Prevent threats by eliminating unwanted applications to reduce your threat footprint and apply
targeted security polices to block known vulnerability exploits, viruses, spyware, botnets, and
unknown malware (APTs).
• Protect your datacenters through the validation of applications, isolation of data, control over
rogue applications, and high-speed threat prevention.
• Secure public and private cloud computing environments with increased visibility and control;
deploy, enforce and maintain security policies at the same pace as your virtual machines.
• Embrace safe mobile computing by extending the enterprise security platform to users and
devices no matter where they are located.
Virtualized Datacenter
Internal Users
Internal Datacenter
Branch Offices
Deploy Safe Enablement Policies Across the Entire Organization
Mobile Users
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The enterprise security platform helps your organization address a spectrum of security requirements
based upon a common principle. Using a balanced combination of network security with global
threat intelligence and endpoint protection, your organization can support business initiatives
while improving your overall security posture, and reducing security incident response time
incident response time.
Authorized Finance User
Authorized Sales User
Authorized User
Authorized User
Applications, content, users, and devices—all under your control.
Using Security to Empower Your Business
Our enterprise security platform allows you to empower your business with policies that revolve
around applications, users, and content. It uses a positive control model, a design unique to our
platform, that permits you to enable specific applications or functions, and block all else (implicitly
or explicitly). The next-generation firewall performs a full stack, single pass inspection of all traffic
across all ports, thus providing complete context of the application, associated content, and user
identity as the basis for your security policy decisions.
• Classify all traffic, across all ports, all the time. Today, applications and their associated content
can easily bypass a port-based firewall using a variety of techniques. Our enterprise security
platform natively applies multiple classification mechanisms to the traffic stream to identify
applications, threats and malware. All traffic is classified regardless of port, encryption (SSL or
SSH), or evasive techniques employed. Unidentified applications – typically a small percentage
of traffic, yet high in potential risk – are automatically categorized for systematic management.
• Reduce the threat footprint; prevent cyber attacks. Once traffic is fully classified, you can
reduce the network threat footprint by allowing specific applications and denying all others.
Coordinated cyber attack prevention can then be applied to block known malware sites and
prevent vulnerability exploits, viruses, spyware, and malicious DNS queries. Any custom or
unknown malware is analyzed and identified by executing the files, and directly observing
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their malicious behavior in a virtualized sandbox environment. When new malware is discovered,
a signature for the infecting file and related malware traffic is automatically generated and
delivered to you.
• Map application traffic and associated threats to users and devices. To improve your security
posture and reduce incident response times, it’s critical to map application usage to user and
device type—and be able to apply that context to your security policies. Integration with a wide
range of enterprise user repositories provides the identity of the Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
X, Linux, Android, or iOS user and device accessing the application. The combined visibility
and control over both users and devices means you can safely enable the use of any application
traversing your network, no matter where the user is or the type of device they are using.
Establishing the context of the specific applications in use, the content or threat they may carry,
and the associated user or device helps you streamline policy management, improve your security
posture, and accelerate incident investigation.
Complete Context Means Tighter Security Policies
Security best practices dictate that the decisions you make regarding policies, your ability to report on
network activity, and your forensics capacity depend on context. The context of the application in use,
the website visited, the associated payload, and the user are all valuable data points in your effort to
protect your network. When you know exactly which applications are traversing your Internet gateway,
operating within your datacenter or cloud environment, or being used by remote users, you can apply
specific policies to those applications, complete with coordinated threat protection. The knowledge of
who the user is, not just their IP address, adds another contextual element that empowers you to be
more granular in your policy assignment.
Application Visibility: View application activity in a clear, easy-to-read format. Add and remove filters to learn more about the application,
its functions and who is using them.
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A rich set of graphical visualization and log filtering tools provides you with the context of the
application activity, the associated content or threat, who the user is, and on what type of device.
Each of these data points by themselves paints a partial picture of your network, yet when taken
in complete context provide a full view of the potential security risk, allowing you to make more
informed policy decisions. All traffic is continuously classified and as their state changes, the changes
are logged for analysis and the graphical summaries are dynamically updated, displaying the
information in an easy-to-use, web-based interface.
•At the Internet gateway, you can investigate new or unfamiliar applications to quickly see a
description of the application, its behavioral characteristics, and who is using it. Additional
visibility into URL categories, threats, and data patterns provides a more well-rounded picture of
network traffic traversing the gateway.
•All files analyzed for unknown malware by WildFire™ are logged on-box with full access to details
including the application used, the user, the file type, target OS, and malicious behaviors observed.
•Within the datacenter, verify all applications under use, and ensure that they are only being
used by authorized users. Added visibility into datacenter activity can confirm that there are
no misconfigured applications or rogue use of SSH or RDP.
•In public and private cloud environments, enforce policy and protect applications with the
enterprise security platform while keeping pace with the creation and movement of your virtual
•Across all deployment scenarios, unknown applications – typically a small percentage on every
network—can be categorized for analysis and systematic management.
In many cases, you may not be fully aware of which applications are in use, how heavily they are
used or by whom. Complete visibility into the business relevant aspects of your network traffic—
the application, the content, and the user—is the first step towards more informed policy control.
Reducing Risk by Enabling Applications
Traditionally, the process of reducing risk meant that you had to limit access to network services
and possibly hinder your business. Today, risk reduction means safely enabling applications using a
Unified Policy Editor: A familiar look and feel enables the rapid creation and deployment of policies that control applications, users and content.
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business-centric approach that helps you strike a balance between the traditional deny-everything
approach and the allow-all approach.
• Use application groups and SSL decryption to limit webmail and instant messaging to a few
specific application variants; inspect them for all threats and upload unknown suspect files (EXE,
DLL, ZIP files, PDF documents, Office Documents, Java, and Android APK) to WildFire for analysis
and signature development.
•Control web-surfing for all users by allowing and scanning traffic to business-related websites
and blocking access to obvious non-work related websites; “coach” access to questionable sites
through customized block pages.
•Explicitly block all peer-to-peer file transfer applications for all users using dynamic application filters.
•Embrace mobile devices by extending your Internet gateway policies and threat prevention
capabilities to remote users with GlobalProtect™.
In the datacenter, use context to confirm that your datacenter applications are running on their
standard ports, find rogue applications, validate users, isolating data, and protect business-critical
data from threats. Examples may include:
•Using security zones, isolate the Oracle-based credit card number repository, forcing the Oracle
traffic across its standard ports while inspecting the traffic for inbound threats and limiting
access only to the finance group.
•Create a remote management application group (e.g., SSH, RDP, Telnet) for only the IT department
to use within the datacenter.
•In your virtual datacenter, use dynamic objects to help automate security policy creation as
SharePoint virtual machines are established or taken down or travel across your virtual environment.
Protecting Enabled Applications and Content
When you apply threat prevention and content scanning policies, the context of the application
and the user become integral components of your security policy. Full context within your threat
prevention policies neutralizes evasion tactics such as port-hopping and tunneling. Reduce the
threat target surface area by enabling a select set of applications, and then apply threat prevention
and content scanning policies to that traffic.
Threat protection and content scanning elements available within your policies include:
•Prevent known threats using IPS and network antivirus/anti-spyware. Protection from a
range of known threats is accomplished with single pass inspection using a uniform signature
format and a stream-based scanning engine. Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) features block
network and application layer vulnerability exploits, buffer overflows, DoS attacks, and port
scans. Antivirus/anti-spyware protection blocks millions of malware variants, including those
hidden within compressed files or web traffic (compressed HTTP/HTTPS), as well as known
PDF viruses. For traffic encrypted with SSL, you can selectively apply policy-based decryption
and then inspect the traffic for threats, regardless of port.
•Block unknown or targeted malware with WildFire. Unknown or targeted malware (e.g.,
Advanced Persistent Threats) hidden within files can be identified and analyzed by WildFire,
which directly executes and observes unknown files virtualized sandbox environment in the
cloud or on the WF-500 appliance. WildFire monitors more than 200 malicious behaviors
and if malware is found, a signature is automatically generated and delivered to you in as little
as 15 minutes. All major file types are supported by WildFire including: PE files; Microsoft
Office .doc, .xls, and .ppt; Portable Document Format (PDF); Java Applet (jar and class); and
Android Application Package (APK), Adobe Flash applets (SWF and SWC), and webpages. In
addition, WildFire analyzes links in email to stop spearphishing attacks.
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Content and Threat Visibility: View URL, threat and file/data transfer activity in a clear, easy-to-read format. Add and remove filters to learn more
about individual elements.
•Identify bot-infected hosts and disrupt network activity from malware. Complete, contextual
classification of all applications, across all ports, including any unknown traffic, can often expose
anomalies or threats in your network. Use command & control App-ID™s, behavioral botnet report,
DNS sinkholing, and passive DNS to quickly correlate unknown traffic, suspicious DNS, and URL
queries with infected hosts. Apply global intelligence to intercept and sinkhole DNS queries for malicious domains.
• Limit unauthorized file and data transfers. Data filtering features enable your administrators to
implement policies that will reduce the risks associated with unauthorized file and data transfers. File
transfers can be controlled by looking inside the file (as opposed to looking only at the file extension),
to determine if the transfer action should be allowed or not. Executable files, typically found in drive-by
downloads, can be blocked, thereby protecting your network from unseen malware propagation. Data
filtering features can detect, and control the flow of confidential data patterns (credit card or social
security numbers as well as custom patterns).
•Control web surfing. A fully-integrated, customizable URL filtering engine allows your administrators to
apply granular web-browsing policies, complementing application visibility and control policies and
safeguarding the enterprise from a full spectrum of legal, regulatory, and productivity risks.
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•Device-based policy for application access. Using GlobalProtect, an organization can set specific
policies to control which devices can access particular applications and network resources. For
example, ensure that laptops are compliant with the corporate image before allowing access
to the datacenter. Check if the mobile device is up to date, corporate owned, and fully patched
before accessing sensitive data.
Centralized Management
The enterprise security
platforms can be managed
individually via a command
line interface (CLI), or through
a full-featured browser-based
Log Collector
Log Collector
Log Collector
interface. For large-scale
deployments, you can use
Panorama to globally deliver
visibility, policy editing,
reporting, and logging features
for all of your hardware and
Panorama can be deployed on a dedicated appliance or in a distributed
virtual appliance firewalls.
manner to maximize scalability.
Panorama provides you the
same level of contextual control over your global deployment as you have over a single appliance.
Role based administration combined with pre- and post-rules allows you to balance centralized
control with the need for local policy editing and device configuration flexibility. Whether
using the device’s web interface or Panorama’s, the interface look and feel is identical, ensuring
that there is no learning curve when moving from one to another. Your administrators can use
any of the provided interfaces to make changes at any time without needing to worry about
synchronization issues. Additional support for standards-based tools such as SNMP, and RESTbased APIs allow you to integrate with third-party management tools.
Reporting, and Logging
Security best practices means striking a balance between ongoing management efforts and being
reactive, which may involve investigating and analyzing security incidents or generating day-to-day
•Reporting: Predefined reports can be used as-is, customized, or grouped together as one report in
order to suit the specific requirements. All reports can be exported to CSV or PDF format and
can be executed and emailed on a scheduled basis.
•Logging: Real-time log filtering facilitates rapid forensic investigation into every session traversing
your network. Complete context of the application, the content, including malware detected by
WildFire, and the user can be used as a filter criteria and the results can be exported to a CSV file or
sent to a syslog server for offline archival or additional analysis. Logs that have been aggregated by
Panorama can also be sent to a syslog server for added analysis or archival purposes.
In addition to the reporting and logging capabilities provided by the Palo Alto Networks enterprise
security platform, integration is also available with 3rd party SIEM tools, such as Splunk for Palo
Alto Networks. These tools provide additional reporting and data visualization capabilities, and
enable you to correlate security events across multiple systems in your enterprise.
Purpose-built Hardware or Virtualized Platforms
Our next-generation firewall is available in either a purpose-built hardware platform that scales
from an enterprise branch office to a high-speed datacenter, or in a virtualized form factor to
support your cloud-based computing initiatives. Palo Alto Networks supports the broadest range
of virtual platforms to cover your diverse virtualized data center and public & private cloud
requirements. The VM-Series firewall platform is available for VMware ESXi, NSX, Citrix SDX,
Amazon AWS, and KVM hypervisors. When you deploy our platforms in either hardware or
virtual form factors, you can use Panorama for centralized management.
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Purpose-Built Hardware or Virtualized Platforms
Our enterprise security platform is available in either a purpose-built hardware platform that
scales from an enterprise branch office to a high-speed datacenter or as a virtualized form factor
to support your cloud-based computing initiatives. When you deploy our platforms in either
hardware or virtual form factors, you can use Panorama, an optional centralized management
offering to gain visibility into traffic patterns, deploy policies, generate reports and deliver content
updates from a central location.
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Copyright ©2014, Palo Alto Networks, Inc. All rights reserved. Palo Alto Networks,
the Palo Alto Networks Logo, PAN-OS, App-ID and Panorama are trademarks of
Palo Alto Networks, Inc. All specifications are subject to change without notice.
Palo Alto Networks assumes no responsibility for any inaccuracies in this document
or for any obligation to update information in this document. Palo Alto Networks
reserves the right to change, modify, transfer, or otherwise revise this publication
without notice. PAN_SS_NGFOV_111014
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