Hardness of Firewall Analysis

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  • We identify 13 problems whose solutions can significantly enhance our ability to design and analyze firewalls and other packet classifiers. These problems include the firewall equivalence problem, the firewall redundancy problem, the firewall verification problem, and the firewall completeness problem. The main result of this paper is to prove that every one of these problems is NP-hard. Our proof of this result is interesting in the following way. Only one of the 13 problems, the so called slice probing problem, is shown to be NP-hard by a reduction from the well-known 3-SAT problem. Then, the remaining 12 problems are shown to be NP-hard by reductions from the slice probing problem. The negative results of this paper suggest that firewalls designers may need to rely on SAT solvers to solve instances of these 13 problems or may be content with probabilistic solutions of these problems. | TRID-ID TR13-08

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    Attribution 3.0 International