80% of NGFWs Fail to Detect Evasions

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Eleven next-generation firewall (NGFW) products from 10 market-leading vendors turned in varying results in the latest NGFW Group Test from NSS Labs. More than 80% of the NGFW products tested missed evasions, and three moved from “recommended” to “caution” ratings.

The platforms were tested in the key areas of security effectiveness and total cost of ownership (TCO). Of the NGFW vendors whose products had results published today, seven products received a “recommended” rating, while four products received a “caution” rating.

With more than 80% of the products tested failing to detect one or more evasions, the impact of missed evasions weighed heavily on the overall scoring for security effectiveness. The average rating on that front was 67.3%.

“The NGFW market is one of the largest and most mature security markets,” said Jason Brvenik, CTO at NSS Labs. “Threats are constantly evolving and in this year’s test, only two tested products were resistant to all tested evasions.”

He added that although the product scores were impacted, several vendors quickly patched their products after the test to improve security—a testament to their ability to respond to the evolving threat landscape.

The following products were tested:

  • Barracuda NextGen Firewall F600.E20 firmware version 7.0.2
  • Check Point Software Technologies 15600 Next Generation Threat Prevention (NGTP) Appliance R77.20
  • Cisco Firepower 4110 v6.1.0.1
  • Forcepoint NGFW 3301 Appliance v6.1.2
  • Fortinet FortiGate 600D FortiOS v5.4.4 GA Build 1117
  • Fortinet FortiGate 3200D FortiOS v5.4.4 GA Build 1117
  • Juniper Networks SRX 4200 v15.1X49-D75.5
  • Palo Alto Networks PA-5250 PAN-OS 8.0.0
  • SonicWall NSA 6600 SonicOS 6.2
  • Sophos XG-750 Firewall v16.01
  • WatchGuard Firebox M4600 v11.10.7

NGFWs are a critical component of a defense-in-depth strategy. The attack surface in enterprise environments is constantly expanding. This is for a number of reasons, including the proliferation of enterprise applications; mainstream adoption of bring your own device (BYOD) policies; hybrid cloud environments; operational requirements—such as IT and security policy enforcements; and the constant need to patch operating systems and devices. Enterprises are investing in NGFW perimeter defenses that address these requirements and reduce the attack vectors that cyber-criminals can use to compromise their environments.

For this seventh iteration of the NSS Labs NGFW Group Test, the Test Methodology incorporated additional use cases to support current real-world requirements for security efficacy and encryption. In particular, evasion techniques were expanded beyond active, in-the-wild threats to include new, weaponized attacks. Evasions are a growing concern as many exploits are capable of bypassing security measures using simple techniques that can be applied to HTTP traffic.

Overall security effectiveness ranged from 25.8% to 99.9%, with seven of the 11 tested products achieving a rating greater than 78.5%. The average TCO per protected Mbps was $25.20; eight of the tested products were rated as having above-average value, and three of the tested products were rated as having below-average value. 

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