What is Stateful Packet Inspection?

27.07.2020 Read
What is Stateful Packet Inspection?

Stateful packet inspection is also known as the dynamic packet filtering and it aims to provide an additional layer of network security. Keep reading to learn more!

In business environments, we use network technologies very often. They allow us to share resources and files, set communication protocols and such. As much as they streamline and accelerate our business processes, they can also pose a serious vulnerability for our cyber security. An intruder or a hacker can infiltrate into our networks, steal our valuable information or lock us out of our systems. That is why network security is one of the most important practices in cybersecurity.

Most organizations rely on firewalls for their network security needs. A firewall can be defined as a network security system that allows the cybersecurity professionals to monitor and control the network traffic. In other words, a firewall sets the boundary between the internal and external network. There are two main types of firewalls:

  • Network-based firewalls: They are often positioned on the LANs, intranets or WANs of the gateway computers.
  • Host-based firewalls: They are implemented on the network host itself in order to protect the entire network traffic. Host-based firewalls can be a part of the operating system or an agent application in order to offer an additional layer of security.

What is stateful inspection?

The term stateful inspection (also known as the dynamic packet filtering) refers to a distinguished firewall technology. It aims to monitor the active connections on a network. Moreover, the process of stateful inspection determines which network packets should be allowed through the firewall by utilizing the information regarding active connections.

Stateful inspection keeps track of each connection and constantly checks if they are valid. That is why it offers a better protection than its predecessors.

In a firewall where the stateful inspection is implemented, the network administrator can customise the parameters in order to meet the unique needs of the organization.

What is the benefit of implementing stateful inspection?

Before stateful inspection has become mainstream, similar technology called static packet filtering was in use. This older alternative only checks the headers of the packets in order to determine whether they should be allowed through the firewall. As a result, a hacker can simply indicate “reply” in the header in order to extract information from the network. On the contrary, stateful inspection aims to carry out a more sophisticated investigation. That is why it analyses the application layer of the packets. A dynamic packet filter like stateful inspection can offer a better security posture for networks through recording the session information like port numbers or IP addresses.

In other words, stateful inspection is better at keeping the intruders away from your network since it uses a more refined technology.

If you would like to learn more about what you can do to keep your organization safe, you can contact us or take a closer look at our SIEM and SOAR products and check our SOAR use cases.

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