What is a firewall: A simple explanation

What is a firewall: A simple explanation

Buildings have firewalls to stop fires from spreading. The cybersecurity world has its equivalent – firewalls that stop malicious traffic from entering and spreading all over your internal network. Read on to learn more about firewall security.

What is a firewall?
A firewall, sometimes also called a network firewall, is a cybersecurity tool that filters incoming and outgoing traffic. Its main goal is to create a barrier between your internal network or your device and external traffic coming from the internet. Why? There’s a lot of malicious traffic on the internet – viruses, malware, and hackers who are trying to compromise your system. A firewall provides network security by blocking some threats and preventing unauthorized access.

How does a firewall work?
External traffic can only reach your private network through a device’s entry points – ports. This is usually where the firewall “sits” and guards the traffic. It allows or blocks data packets based on defined rules or rule sets called access control lists. These rules can be based on IP addresses, domain names, ports, protocols, programs, and/or keywords.

Types of firewalls

What is a firewall?

A firewall, sometimes also called a network firewall, is a cybersecurity tool that filters incoming and outgoing traffic. Its main goal is to create a barrier between your internal network or your device and external traffic coming from the internet. Why? There’s a lot of malicious traffic on the internet – viruses, malware, and hackers who are trying to compromise your system. A firewall provides network security by blocking some threats and preventing unauthorized access.

How does a firewall work?

External traffic can only reach your private network through a device’s entry points – ports. This is usually where the firewall “sits” and guards the traffic. It allows or blocks data packets based on defined rules or rule sets called access control lists. These rules can be based on IP addresses, domain names, ports, protocols, programs, and/or keywords.

Types of firewalls

What is a firewall

There are different types of firewalls that have their pros and cons:

Different implementations:

  1. Software firewallsSoftware firewalls are, as the name suggests, installed on devices. They are great if you want to isolate individual network endpoints as they only protect individual devices, not the network as a whole. This makes them great for individuals but not for corporate networks. Maintaining so many discrete firewalls would be difficult and time-consuming. Also, not all devices might be compatible with your chosen firewall software.
  2. Hardware firewallsHardware firewalls are physical appliances that resemble routers. They are a better choice for businesses because they inspect data packets before they reach the network. However, hardware firewalls also have downsides. They are susceptible to attacks within the system and some might not be able to handle multiple simultaneous connections.
  3. Cloud-based firewallsCloud firewalls use a cloud server, which is often set up as a proxy server (they are sometimes called proxy firewalls). Cloud-based solutions are great for companies that are planning to scale their business as adding more capacity, and managing traffic load is much easier than with software or hardware firewalls.

 

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