Next generation firewalls are core to many cybersecurity strategies, and yet most of these products were easily evaded in this test.

AUSTIN, Texas – July 17, 2019 – NSS Labs, Inc., a global leader and trusted source for independent cybersecurity product testing, today announced the results of its 2019 Next Generation Firewall (NGFW) Group Test. Twelve of the industry’s leading NGFW products were tested to compare NGFW product capabilities across multiple use cases. Products were assessed for security effectiveness, total cost of ownership (TCO), and performance.

Firewalls are the most widely deployed network security devices. Enterprises expect modern firewalls (NGFWs) to prevent exploits and malware from infecting critical systems.

This is the ninth year for testing NGFW products. NSS raised the bar this year by performing a significantly harder test for security effectiveness, which exposed weaknesses not seen previously. Test results showed that block rates for simple clear-text attacks remain strong (over 96%) for nine out of twelve products. However, while known/published exploits were frequently blocked, test engineers were able to bypass protection in all devices with minor modifications to known and blocked exploits. In addition, only one of twelve products properly blocked exploits that were obfuscated using Complex Evasions (HTML / JavaScript / VBScript). Palo Alto Networks and WatchGuard stood out as the only products that didn’t miss major evasions this year.

Key Takeaways:

·       Enterprises expect when they purchase products that they will remain viable over multiple years.

·       While it is tempting to draw conclusions from one test, NSS recommends enterprises favor vendors that consistently engage and improve over time. When in doubt, an NSS analyst is available to answer questions.

·       Scripting evasions are challenging for NGFWs since they require real-time code analysis in order to determine whether a function is legitimate or obfuscating an attack.

·       Vendor claims to protect vulnerabilities (regardless of the exploit specifics) are largely dependent on the nature of the vulnerability and whether it lends itself to such protection. Test results found all products had room for improvement when confronted with unknown variants of known exploits.

·       Research indicates that over 70% of Internet traffic is encrypted using TLS/SSL. NSS recommends measuring the performance of devices both with and without TLS/SSL enabled. Failure to do so could result in unexpected performance bottlenecks.

“Given the ever increasing integration of the cyber and physical world, it is imperative that cybersecurity products work properly,” said Jason Brvenik, Chief Executive Officer at NSS Labs. “The good news is that while we found flaws, most vendors are committed to protecting their customers and are fixing their products. Stay tuned for follow-on reports,” added Brvenik.

Of the twelve products tested, ten were rated as Recommended based on comparative scores for overall security effectiveness, TCO per protected Mbps, and performance:

·       Barracuda Networks CloudGen Firewall F800.CCE v7.2.3

·       Check Point Software Technologies 6500 Security Gateway R80.20

·       Forcepoint 2105 NGFW v6.3.11

·       Fortinet Fortigate 500E v6.0.4 build 0231

·       Huawei USG6620E v600R006C00SPC310

·       Palo Alto Networks PA-5220 PAN-OS 8.1.6-h2

·       Sophos XG 750 Firewall SFOS v17.5

·       SonicWall NSa 4650 SonicOS v6.5

·       Versa Networks FlexVNF v16.1R2-S7

·       WatchGuard Firebox M670 Firmware: 12.3 B589695 Ver-4.907

NSS Labs is committed to providing empirical data and objective group test results that help organizations make educated decisions about purchasing and optimizing security products and services. We believe if a product is good enough to sell, it is good enough to test. If you do not see a product you are interested in, ask them where their results are and encourage participation. As with all NSS Labs group tests, there is no fee for participation.