Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your personal or business safety has been threatened or compromised? Such threats inevitably cause us to revert to various self-protection mechanisms in an attempt to re-establish safety and stability, but it also forces us to review our existing environment and to try and build a wall of protection to shield us from future threats. We do this instinctively to protect those closest to us, as well as our assets and belongings.
At Salt, we recently experienced a “large scale Distributed Denial of Service” attack. What this means is that one of our clients had unintentionally exposed themselves to Internet hacking. Salt currently hosts this client’s data as well as several other clients’ data on our virtual firewall. As a result of this exposure, our firewall was blocking more than 700 000 attacks per hour in order to protect our Hosted Environment i.e the environment in which your business systems are located!
The firewall was using all its available resources to ward off these attacks in order to keep our client’s systems and data safe. The attack itself was severe and resembled something out of an American war movie where several missiles were being fired from the USA, Europe, Asia – targeting Namibia, and more specifically the Salt firewall. Several hackers from across the world were attempting to access our client’s data and our firewall was shielding these attacks successfully with none of our other clients having reported any threats, data loss or internet hacking.
If this account of the recent attack has left you fearful and concerned then please be assured that your data is safe with Salt.
If however you currently do not make use of a firewall to monitor and protect all incoming and outgoing network traffic then it would be advisable to consider renting or purchasing a firewall to secure your business network.
So what exactly is a firewall?
According to Wikipedia, “A firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. A firewall typically establishes a barrier between a trusted, secure internal network and another outside network, such as the Internet, that is assumed not to be secure or trusted.
Historically, a firewall was a device that monitored and restricted data flows in- and outbound towards the Internet. In recent years however the term “Next Generation Firewall” was branded whereby the firewall engages in an in-depth inspection of Data Streams up to the application level in the entire Active Network Infrastructure.
Why does Salt require a new firewall?
As Salt hosts a wide variety of clients, it is essential that we have a firewall to protect the privacy of our clients and to shield them from cyber attacks. Business requirements and performance needs have also increased and as such, Salt desires to offer its clients a truly Active Solution with additional features.
How will the firewall implementation affect our clients’ businesses?
Sascha Radisic and Frans Herrle, two of our lead engineers, have been working extensively to prepare for the cutover and to ensure that the transition to the new firewall will be as seamless as possible.
As such we have sent a notification letter informing clients of the implementation date: 24h00-02h00, Saturday 13th May – Sunday 14th May 2017. In line with our dedication to delivering a consistent service to support our clients in their service delivery we have also engaged directly with the clients whose businesses will be most affected by the cutover. Salt has been preparing for the new firewall implementation for the past two months and we endeavour to do our best to minimize the impact that this installation could potentially have on day-to-day business processes. We are currently in the process of preparing the rules and exporting all the settings to allow for faster cutover during the freeze period. The purpose of the freeze period is to cater for the process of changing the internal design of the firewall as the old design cannot be transferred to the new installation.
Possible impacts on our clients’ businesses might include the loss of connection to ALL SERVICES linked to the Salt Data Centre regardless of the type of connection clients might have, as well as physical downtime estimated to be from 24h00 pm (midnight) until 02h00 am (morning).
How will our clients benefit from this new firewall installation?
The new firewall will provide our clients with Decreased Latency (network latency, internet latency, operational latency, audio latency, etc.), Active Session Failover if a node fails, increased IP Sec Functionality that enables the client to get rid of expensive leased lines, and Advanced Logging Features that can be accessed from the client’s premises and can show a real time overview of the business application and its users.
Who can I contact should I have questions regarding the firewall implementation?
Please assist us to assist you by contacting us immediately to inform us of any business essential processes that might be impacted by the firewall installation. For any other enquiries you can contact our Help Desk on +264 61 433 9911.
We believe that this change will greatly improve our service delivery to our clients and we want to thank all our clients for their continued support and commitment during this journey together.