What is a Firewall and Whatâ€™s Its Purpose?.
Whether it’s your own system or crime dramas with a cybersecurity element, you’ve no doubt heard the term firewall. Your firewall is an important part of your computer’s security and helps prevent unwanted connections, potential hackers, and more.
There are different types of firewalls and network security. To understand the best way to protect your personal data, you need to first learn what a firewall is and what it is for.
What Is a Firewall?
Firewalls are named after interior walls in many connected homes that prevent fire from spreading through space from one home to another. Likewise, your computer’s firewall monitors traffic on your network and blocks unauthorized connections.
The term first appeared in the 1983 film WarGames , long before it was used in real computing. While it is unclear when the term was first used officially, it is easy to see its evolution.
In the late 1980s, network security routers could filter information as an early form of network security. Since then, several types of firewalls have emerged, each serving a different cybersecurity purpose.
Types of Firewalls
Basically, there are six different types of firewalls. All firewalls are software or hardware. Most of the types mentioned below basically just depend on how the rules and functions of the firewall work, in software or hardware.
Virtual firewall is also known as cloud firewall. This is a type of firewall used in a “virtual” environment such as the cloud or virtual machine. These firewalls are similar in many ways to hardware firewalls, but they can be more carefully configured to suit the application.
A virtual firewall can be very application-specific as it can work for one particular application and not for anything else. In other cases, it can protect the cloud environment from unauthorized traffic. For example, a service like DropBox or iCloud will use a virtual firewall to protect against intrusions.
A proxy firewall is an older, more primitive type of firewall that lacks the more advanced features of more modern network security solutions. In most cases, a proxy firewall protects traffic between point A and point B using basic filters.
The proxy firewall will monitor both inbound and outbound traffic and block any prohibited connections. Technically speaking, proxy firewall blocks connections at the application layer, not the network or transport layer.
Unified Threat Management Firewall
The Unified Threat Management Firewall or UTM Firewall combines the functionality of a firewall with antivirus software. UTM firewalls not only protect against unauthorized traffic, but also monitor many different threats.
UTM firewalls can also monitor email attacks as well as threats from remote work. Despite this, UTM firewalls are designed to be easier to use, with more simplified management schemes.
Next Generation Firewall
Next Generation Firewall, or NGFW, is a much more advanced and powerful type of firewall. Where a standard firewall can focus primarily on packet filtering, NGFW combines this technology with advanced intrusion detection and other features to deliver next-level protection.
In some cases, NGFWs use artificial intelligence to improve network security. This allows them to provide a significantly higher level of protection, but this type of firewall is generally more commonly used in corporate environments with large networks and databases.
Threat Focused NGFW
If NGFW is a more advanced firewall, then threat-oriented NGFW is the most advanced option. He is knowledgeable about the network to know where the biggest threats are and can respond to potential attacks with intelligent security automation.
Stateful Inspection Firewall
Stateful Inspection Firewall is a standard type of firewall used in most modern systems and blocks traffic based on the “state” of the connection. This is known as stateful packet inspection or dynamic packet filtering.
In other words, a stateful firewall only allows authorized traffic with the correct state to pass through and blocks all other connections. It also monitors threats based on port and protocol type.
Do You Need a Firewall?
In the early days of the Internet, it was not uncommon for users to install their own personal firewalls as an additional layer of defense against online threats. However, those days are long gone – not because of the absence of threats, but because firewalls are readily available.
Both Windows and macOS provide built-in firewalls in operating systems that offer tremendous protection. In addition to this, the vast majority of wireless routers also provide another layer of protection in the form of network address translation.
However, even with a built-in firewall in your operating system, your computer can still be vulnerable on public networks. Whether you’re connecting to Wi-Fi at an airport or connecting to a public network at a coffee shop, you’ll need more than just a firewall to stop someone from using a packet sniffer.
If you regularly use unsecured Wi-Fi networks, consider investing in a virtual private network or VPN – it encrypts your information and protects it from prying eyes. This is the only secure way to access banking information or sensitive data on the public network.
You can install a third-party firewall on your system for added protection, but this is not required. However, if you want to make sure your system is protected, we have a list of the best firewalls for Windows 10 that are not Windows Defender, the default software firewall.
The topic of firewalls is closely related to network security and can quickly become a high-tech topic, but the bottom line is this: Firewalls are important, but you probably already have access to multiple firewalls through your OS and network router. Just remember that if you decide to turn off the OS firewall for any reason (like an update or a fix), turn it back on when you’re done.
What is a Firewall and Whatâ€™s Its Purpose?
What is a Firewall and Whatâ€™s Its Purpose?