Most of us have heard the term and know it has something to do with security, but do you really understand what a firewall is? Firewalls were traditionally intended to keep danger at bay—they were doors (or walls) that prevented fire from spreading to other areas, hence the term firewall. Modern hardware and software firewalls are similar when it comes to protecting your online security. They serve as barriers against illegal access to your personal data.
Firewalls are software or hardware devices that filter information passing via your computer’s Internet connection (and all the devices that are connected to that connection). A firewall protects you and your devices by scrutinising every bit of data that passes between your devices and the Internet.
Hardware firewalls, such as those found in some routers, are a good first line of defence against outside threats and require little to no configuration. One disadvantage of merely using a hardware firewall is that it only protects you when you are at home. If you take your computer to a cafe or on a trip, the home-based firewall will no longer protect you.
Fortunately, software firewalls can detect these dangers since they run on your computer and can examine network data more closely. This gives them the ability to stop a dangerous application from leaving your machine.
Now that you know what firewalls are for, follow these guidelines for better online security:
- As a first line of defence, be sure you’re using a router with a firewall.
- Use a complete security solution like McAfee LiveSafeTM, which includes a two-way firewall that filters both incoming and outgoing traffic, as well as protection for all of your devices, identity, and data.
- If you don’t need file-sharing or printer-sharing, turn them off.
- Use caution when clicking on links or opening attachments from someone you don’t know—you could unwittingly give them access to your computer.
While the bad guys are always seeking for ways to cause trouble, we must all be cautious in safeguarding ourselves and our gadgets, which helps to protect everyone else. As we celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month, this is an excellent reminder for us all.
What is the Function of a Firewall?
Firewalls were originally classified into two categories: proxy and stateful. Stateful inspection became more advanced over time, and proxy firewall performance became too slow. Almost all firewalls today are stateful, and they are divided into two types: network firewalls and host-based firewalls.
A host-based or computer firewall protects only one computer, or “host,” and is commonly used on home or personal devices, with the operating system often included. However, in some cases, these firewalls can be employed in business settings to give an extra degree of security. The potential for scalability is limited because host-based firewalls must be deployed and maintained separately on each device.
Firewall networks, on the other hand, provide broad scalability by protecting all devices and traffic passing via a demarcation point. A network firewall, as the name implies, scans traffic between external sources and your local area network (LAN), or data flowing between various segments inside the network, at OSI Layers 3 and 4. They serve as a first line of defence at the network’s or network segment’s perimeter, monitoring traffic through deep packet inspection and packet filtering. The firewall rejects and blocks communications whose content does not fit previously established criteria based on rules created by the network administrator or security team.
Learn more: Fortigate Firewall