Firewall Compressor: An Algorithm for Minimizing Firewall Policies

A. X. Liu, E. Torng, C. R. Meiners
2008 IEEE INFOCOM 2008 - The 27th Conference on Computer Communications  
A firewall is a security guard placed between a private network and the outside Internet that monitors all incoming and outgoing packets. The function of a firewall is to examine every packet and decide whether to accept or discard it based upon the firewall's policy. This policy is specified as a sequence of (possibly conflicting) rules. When a packet comes to a firewall, the firewall searches for the first rule that the packet matches, and executes the decision of that rule. With the
more » ... . With the explosive growth of Internet-based applications and malicious attacks, the number of rules in firewalls have been increasing rapidly, which consequently degrades network performance and throughput. In this paper, we propose Firewall Compressor, a framework that can significantly reduce the number of rules in a firewall while keeping the semantics of the firewall unchanged. We make three major contributions in this paper. First, we propose an optimal solution using dynamic programming techniques for compressing one-dimensional firewalls. Second, we present a systematic approach to compressing multi-dimensional firewalls. Last, we conducted extensive experiments to evaluate Firewall Compressor. In terms of effectiveness, Firewall Compressor achieves an average compression ratio of 52.3% on reallife rule sets. In terms of efficiency, Firewall Compressor runs in seconds even for a large firewall with thousands of rules. Moreover, the algorithms and techniques proposed in this paper are not limited to firewalls. Rather, they can be applied to other rule-based systems such as packet filters on Internet routers. This full text paper was peer reviewed at the direction of IEEE Communications Society subject matter experts for publication in the IEEE INFOCOM 2008 proceedings. 978-1-4244-2026-1/08/$25.00 © 2008 IEEE 691 Authorized licensed use limited to: Michigan State University. Downloaded on October 3, 2009 at 12:02 from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.
doi:10.1109/infocom.2008.44 dblp:conf/infocom/LiuTM08 fatcat:4uhtqg5m55e6rpwkkypwxi2ete