Egress Filtering: Protect Your Data and Services
In today’s world, data is the most valuable asset any business will have. Whether a large corporation or an individual with a blog, everyone relies on their data to keep assets and stay connected. Yet, this data can be accessed by anyone if they know how to get through your firewall. To protect yourself from hackers and other unwanted accesses to your network, you need to implement egress filtering. This post goes over what that is and why it should be necessary for all businesses.
What is Egress Filtering?
Egress filtering is all about blocking access to your network. It tries to control the data coming and going from your system. You can do this by setting up rules that can block any data coming out of the network through specific ports, protocols, or IP addresses.
By doing so, hackers will have no way in, and bad actors will be unable to retrieve sensitive information without being detected. Egress filters are also great for stopping DDoS attacks. They only allow legitimate traffic into the system instead of allowing multiple connections from outside sources, which could trigger a large-scale attack leaving you vulnerable.
Why is Egress Filtering Important?
Extra Level of Security
The biggest reason why egress filtering should be necessary for every business is that there needs to be an extra level of safety when securing your data assets. Hackers are constantly finding new ways to get through your firewall, and by implementing this, you will be able to stop them before they can do any harm.
Helps Prevent DDoS Attacks
Another reason why egress filtering is essential for every business is to deal with the loss of revenue from not having it. If hackers can breach your system, then sensitive data could be stole,n which would leave you open to lawsuits, fines, or even lose clients because of poor security practices.
Egress filters also help prevent DDoS attacks as well since they only allow legitimate traffic coming in instead of allowing multiple connections like a flood attack does, where vast amounts of traffic come rushing in, making servers unable to keep up, causing downtime or slow response times due to server overloads leaving customers unhappy about service performance.
Minimal Risk of Security Breaches
Egress filtering is something that every business should have installed to protect their sensitive data and stay compliant with regulations such as PCI, HIPAA, and SOX. This ensures that you are leaving minimal risk for security breaches which could potentially damage your reputation or cost you a large amount of money in fines if one does occur. Egress filters aren’t difficult nor expensive to implement, so there is no reason why everyone shouldn’t already be using them today.
Examples of Egress Filtering Rules
Below are some examples of egress filtering rules that can be set on your firewall to ensure you’re protected:
Blocking Outgoing Connections on Ports 80-8080
Since these ports are frequently used for web traffic, if they were open, hackers could potentially use them to get into the system without being detected since it’s coming from an approved source. Blocking this will make sure no one can take advantage of these access points and remove all risks involved with having them available.
Block Incoming SSH Connection Attempts
This rule allows only outgoing connections, so any incoming attempts would immediately get blocked, preventing unauthorized users from gaining entry instead of waiting until someone tries. This gives them more time to do what they need without getting noticed.
IP Address Blocks
Not only should you be able to block specific ports but also IP addresses, which can help prevent hackers from finding alternate ways into your network, such as your server’s IDS/IPS system where one method was blocked. It detected another access attempt. This rule could catch that right away instead of waiting until an attack happens and then trying to stop it after the fact.
Blocking Incoming Traffic on Port 25
Hackers often use bots or infected machines across the Internet to send spam messages, so blocking them at the firewall level is a smart way of keeping all of those things out before they have a chance of doing any damage. Blocking port 25 will ensure no emails are sent to your server, which could overload it and cause downtime.
Blocking Traffic on Port 1433
Many hackers will try to use the SQL port to get into your system, so blocking it at the firewall level is a good way of keeping all that traffic out. It’s essential you only allow outgoing connections and block incoming ones; otherwise, leaving it open could create vulnerabilities if someone were able to compromise one of your systems or devices listening on this specific port and then try and send malicious commands through an active session.
Safety Precautions for Installing And Using an Egress Filter
When implementing an egress filter, there are some safety precautions you should be aware of so it doesn’t cause any problems with network connectivity:
- First, make sure you check the rules thoroughly to ensure there are no conflicts between them or devices listening on those ports. You don’t want your filter blocking one port that is needed for something else to work correctly. Otherwise, it will render that system useless and prevent any of its services from functioning. If not handled correctly, this can cause serious problems, so double-checking everything before putting it into place is essential.
- Second, egress filtering doesn’t block traffic coming in but instead blocks outgoing connections. Hence, it’s always good practice to keep servers with sensitive data behind an additional firewall if someone can find another way inside since this prevents all types of access points, whether incoming or outgoing. Although most DDoS attacks are made through open ports, there have been cases where companies behind a firewall were still being attacked, so the hackers found another way in.
- Third, you want to make sure any rules are added to match your current network setup since if they don’t, it could cause severe problems blocking access points needed for systems and devices to function correctly. You should always keep things as simple as possible when creating these configurations but ensure everything is working right before putting it into production just in case something didn’t go correctly, which can happen more often than not during implementation. After all, egress filtering isn’t exactly an easy thing to do since it requires quite a bit of technical knowledge and understanding of how networks work under the hood along with their components and devices.
- Last, make sure you don’t do any of the following while testing out your egress filter: Don’t shut down or remove interfaces Don’t change configuration files without making a backup first (when in doubt, always make one) Make backups before attempting changes to new ones after which they can be compared against each other if there are problems later on down the road that need troubleshooting for some reason.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What’s the difference between Outbound and Egress filtering?
A: An outbound firewall filters traffic coming into your network while an egress filter stops data leaving it. This is usually done through port blocking but can also be implemented by limiting or restricting access based on IP address, protocol, destination, etc., which would all fall under this category. The primary purpose of egress filtering is to stop unauthorized connections from being able to communicate with a server from anywhere across the Internet, so if someone were trying to connect using something other than SSH, for example, then they wouldn’t be allowed since the only SSH has been configured as part of these rules rather than any other type of communication such as telnet which isn’t needed all when you have SSH available.
Q.How do I set an Egress Filter?
A: There are many different ways egress filtering could be implemented, but there’s no difference between them all when it comes down to how they’re configured. The only time it would matter if you were configuring your server or another type of device, which usually depends on what operating system and version someone was using instead along with other factors so that each configuration process may vary accordingly depending on the setup being used by whoever is trying to configure their firewall at home for example. However, most people use either iptables or firewalld to implement an egress filter blacklisting all traffic not needed for the device or system it’s connected to.
Q. What are some typical applications blocked with an Egress Filter?
Answer: Most DDoS attacks come in over open ports, so blocking anything that isn’t needed for a device or system to function correctly would usually fall into this category, such as FTP, Telnet, etc. On top of this, you can also block anything that might be using up bandwidth since this is one of the main reasons companies implement these types of configurations to save money where needed.
Egress Filtering stops any such data escape that might end up harming you or your networks. Installing it is essential as it will prevent any outbound connections to unwanted hosts. It has many other uses as well. It can stop malware from reaching or connecting to the malware’s command server, block specific ports, and by blocking certain traffic as well.