What Is A Firewall And How Does It Work?

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Thursday, April 18, 2024

What Is A Firewall And How Does It Work?

Today’s fast-paced digital world often leaves us with little time to worry about the security of our information. But you need to pay attention, as security threats like malware, viruses and hackers can threaten your personal information. You do have a way to protect yourself, however: Firewalls. But what is a firewall and how do they work? Well, let’s go and find out.

What is a firewall?

To put it plainly, a firewall is a privacy protection software. Think of firewalls as a wall that surrounds a fortress or a city. A firewall helps protect your computer or network by limiting access and providing rules that need to be followed before anything is allowed to enter.

A security guard might decide based on where a person is trying to go to, where the visitor came from, or both before admitting them into a building. A firewall functions the same way, examining each packet of data to find out where it came from and where it is going to, or both, before deciding if the data packet should be accepted and allowed to continue or if it should be denied or dropped. Just like in the real world, a denied packet is turned from the gate and sent back to where it originated from. A dropped packet, however, ceases to exist, unlike in the real world.

Firewalls can be either hardware or software. Let’s take a look at these two kinds of firewalls.

Hardware Firewalls

Hardware firewalls are often network devices, such as routers. Also known as network firewalls, these are connected to one or two networks and protect every computer and device connected to it.

Software Firewalls

Software firewalls are apps that protect the computer it is installed on. Also known as host-based firewalls, these firewalls control traffic to and from the computer they are installed on.

What Are Stateful Firewalls?

A stateful firewall acts similar to a border or crossing guard. It inspects data packets as it passes by, and records the traffic history. This recording of data history is what allows a stateful firewall the ability to make complex decisions on whether a data packet should be allowed entry or not.

What Are Application Firewalls?

An application firewall, meanwhile, is specialized to look at network traffic to and from a specific application. This kind of firewall is focused on the data itself, rather than where it came from and where it is going. Application firewalls check the data to see if it meets the rule sets before data is allowed in or out of the application.

How Do Firewalls Work? A Look At Firewall Policies And Rule Sets

Firewalls control traffic through policies and rule sets. A firewall, for example, could allow traffic from one website while blocking other websites. This is an example of a policy. The system administrator then translates the policy into a series of technical statements that tell your computer how to block traffic. These are called rule sets.

A firewall’s default setting is to deny all network traffic. This is especially true of Microsoft’s Windows Defender. Windows then prompts you if you wish to allow or to deny internet traffic. If you permit traffic, Windows then creates a rule set that tells your firewall to allow network traffic through.

Why Should I Have A Firewall?

A firewall is often your first line of defense against malware, viruses and hacking attempts. Installing and customizing a firewall to your needs seems like a lot of work, but the benefits you get outweigh the trouble it takes to install one. Here are a few more reasons why you should have a firewall.

A Firewall Protects Your Computer From Unauthorized Use

Think of this as everyone’s worst nightmare: You turn on your computer one day and find out a hacker has gained access to your computer. And what’s worse, they have taken control of it. Using a firewall can stop this from happening, keeping your computer safe from unauthorized users.

Firewalls Stop Suspicious Emails And Pop-Up Links

While email providers block spam and suspicious emails can still get through. Your firewall can be configured to block these emails, keeping you from having to deal with spurious emails and phishing scams.

Firewalls also stop annoying pop-ups from getting on your computer. These can carry their own links and firewalls can be configured to block these pop-ups from coming on to your computer.

Firewalls Save You Time And Money

Imagine this scenario: Your office is running smoothly and everything is going fine, until, out of the blue, your computers go down. What happened? A malware infection got to your office computers, turning your computers into lumps of plastic and metal. Not only does this cost you time lost because of downtime, but it also costs you money in lost revenues and fees paid to get your computers back in working order.

A firewall stops this nightmare from happening and ensures the safety of your important data.

The Runback

The world of the internet is a place filled with opportunity, information, and probably most important of all, cute cat photos and videos. It is also a place of danger, with threats from malicious people lurking under the surface. You need to protect yourself by making the right choices. Keep yourself safe in our digital world and use a firewall today.

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