Boral hammers security threats with next gen firewall

SQL scripting attacks, malware no longer a risk after 20-year-old firewall replaced

An outbreak of malware on its network in 2009 forced Australian construction materials supplier, Boral, to ditch its 20-year-old firewall system and install a next generation firewall.

Speaking at the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit in Sydney, Boral IT security and risk manager, Sonali Chaudhuri, told delegates that its traditional port firewalls were no longer effective and could not deal with Web based threats and applications lurking in social networking sites or Google Apps.

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“We saw the number of exploits targeting Adobe Flash and HTML/Jscript rising with the release of the Blackhole kit which is used by hackers. If you are not patched for Java or Adobe exploits, you might get a malware infection,” she said.

This was exactly what happened when a Boral company PC--which was not fully patched and had Java/Adobe vulnerabilities-- visited a website containing exploits. It was subsequently compromised and the company had to deal with a malware infection in 2009.

After going to market in 2010, the company selected a next generation firewall system which would perform deep inspection of Web traffic and blocking of attacks such as SQL scripting.

Since the implementation, the company has been able to block viruses, spyware and exploits, control non-work related Web surfing and prevent potential threats associated with high risk apps.

According to Chaudhuri, Boral can also identify users regardless of internet protocol (IP) addresses. In addition, employees can browse the Web at normal speeds while the security system is scanning for threats.

Business benefits

The introduction of the next gen firewall meant Boral consolidated its security controls and saved $120,000 per annum in licensing and maintenance of uniform resource located (URL) filtering.

“We also minimised data loss prevention and improved employee productivity by allowing access to specific applications,” she said.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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