How do you stop cyber attacks on your network?

How do you keep hackers off your network? This question arises amongst a number of companies. We put this question to our Solution Advisor IT Security Tom Meekers.

Direct attacks from outside on the corporate network are really the old-school way of cyber attacks. So what's their target? Various cases can be possible:
  • They want to collect data and resell it to the highest bidder;
  • They're going to take data hostage and ask for ransom through bitcoins to release it;
  • Hackers may want to get in to engage in corporate espionage.

A simple firewall used to be the solution against attacks on the network. Nowadays, there are new and complex ways to get into the network and such a standard firewall is no longer sufficient.  That's why we speak of Next Generation Firewalls, these are much more intelligent than before and can determine what an attack is and what is not. Previously, the IT manager had to decide which data was allowed on the network and which data had to be blocked. Because of the enormous increase of data, this is no longer possible today. It is impossible for a person to monitor such amounts of data, connections and users. In addition, numerous users work in the cloud and data is continuously exchanged with all kinds of applications outside the network.


For example: Your firewall notices that a lot of data traffic suddenly goes to China, which has never happened before. A red flag pops up, because this is an abnormal situation. Your firewall will then protect your network and block the data traffic.


Next Generation firewalls continuously analyze data by means of artificial intelligence. Which data is good, which data is bad? It is impossible for an IT Manager to keep track of all this himself, so you need an AI for this. The AI will look at things like:
  • What kind of data is coming in?;
  • Is the content of the data stream suspicious?:
  • Is the data coming from a reliable source?;
  • Is it normal for that person to send this data?;
  • Is the sender's location normal?;
  • Is the time of the order normal?
For example: Laurens is an employee in your company. Suddenly he appears to be making intensive use of a cloud application that he normally never uses. He does this from a location abroad where Laurens has never connected to the network before. This connection is suspicious and will be blocked automatically. The next day, Laurens uses another application that is allowed by company policy and with which he regularly comes into contact. This connection will be allowed.


Imagine that you, as an IT manager, would have to check this information for hundreds of employees. That is impossible. Smart firewalls can automatically track and control such things. Our security partner Sophos offers such a smart firewall (Sophos XG Firewall). Sophos' AI uses machine learning and is constantly fed with input from their Threat Intelligence team. In this way, they keep abreast of all new developments in the field of threats and don't even stand a chance of zero-day attacks. In other words: The AI can do so much more than a human being. Do you want to secure your network against cyber attacks? Then a Next Generation Firewall is certainly a first step in the right direction for the security of your company.”