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Continuous Verification of Network Security Compliance

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posted on 2021-12-21, 04:50 authored by Claas LorenzClaas Lorenz, Vera Clemens, Max Schrötter, Bettina Schnor
Continuous verification of network security compliance is an accepted need. Especially, the analysis of stateful packet filters plays a central role for network security in practice. But the few existing tools which support the analysis of stateful packet filters are based on general applicable formal methods like Satifiability Modulo Theories (SMT) or theorem prover and show runtimes in the order of minutes to hours making them unsuitable for continuous compliance verification.
In this work, we address these challenges and present the concept of state shell interweaving to transform a stateful firewall rule set into a stateless rule set. This allows us to reuse any fast domain specific engine from the field of data plane verification tools leveraging smart, very fast, and domain specialized data structures and algorithms including Header Space Analysis (HSA). First, we introduce the formal language FPL that enables a high-level human-understandable specification of the desired state of network security. Second, we demonstrate the instantiation of a compliance process using a verification framework that analyzes the configuration of complex networks and devices - including stateful firewalls - for compliance with FPL policies. Our evaluation results show the scalability of the presented approach for the well known Internet2 and Stanford benchmarks as well as for large firewall rule sets where it outscales state-of-the-art tools by a factor of over 41.


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Submitting Author's Institution

University of Potsdam

Submitting Author's Country

  • Germany

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