Our fast-paced, modern lifestyle demands that we are connected to the Internet almost all the time. Much of our lives depends on the ‘Net to some degree. From work to social interaction to leisure activities, the Internet is there. This reliance on the worldwide web brings with it a set of concerns, including security. We lose billions of dollars yearly because of security breaches and data theft. At the forefront of efforts to protect people from the Internet, threats are essential security tools: the firewall. From premium apps to firewalls freeware, we have many choices on how to secure our computers.
But just what are firewalls, and what do they do? Let’s find out.
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What is a Firewall?
Security experts always recommend users install and use a firewall. Place, a firewall is a system that allows you to track Internet traffic to and from your computer. It lets you set rules that will enable or blocks access to websites and other internet resources.
Firewalls come in two categories:
Hardware firewalls and Software-based Firewalls. Hardware firewalls check traffic between two or more networks. These operate on network hardware, such as routers. A software firewall, meanwhile, runs on a computer and manages network traffic from those machines.
How Do Firewalls Work?
A firewall uses a set of predetermined rules to screen network traffic, allowing traffic that meets it’s standards in and keeping others out. Firewalls use several different methods to protect your computer from threats. Here’s how they do it:
The simplest way used by a firewall to track traffic, A packet filter looks at sets of data and either allow it to pass or rejects it if it does not give the rules set by the firewall.
These new-generation filters not only keep track of individual data packets, but it also looks at the state of the network connections that packets travel across. A stateful firewall uses this information to check data packets efficiently.
Application-layer filters check data packets differently. This method looks at data from specific applications, allowing you to either allow or block data depending on what app it is coming from.
A proxy server can also function as a firewall. Proxies respond to input packets (connection requests, for example) in the manner of an application, while blocking other packets.
Next-generation firewalls perform a more in-depth, more intensive monitoring of the application layer. It includes the following functionalities:
Intrusion prevention systems – Monitors a network or a computer for malicious activities or policy violations and reports it to system administrators
User Identity management – A system that checks and authenticates user identity and authorizes the use of network resources
Web application firewalls – These monitors and block web traffic to and from a web application. A web application firewall can filter out data to and from a specific application, unlike regular firewalls, which only act as safety gates between servers.
How Does A Firewall Protect You?
Using a firewall adds protective filters to your network, and keeps you safe from a variety of threats. Here are a few of those threats:
Some apps meant to be accessed remotely. Many others are not, but maybe obtained because of bugs that leave a security vulnerability. Even operating systems may have a bug or two that allows outside hackers access to your system. A firewall stops attempts to use these backdoors and keeps others from accessing your computer.
Denial of service
This increasingly popular cyber-attack use to keep people from accessing a website or internet resource. Hackers send a connection request to a website. As part of the attack, the server won’t be able to find the computer that requested the connection. Hackers flood the site with multiple connection requests that never get resolved. It causes the website to slow down or even crash.
Viruses are a diverse lot, from irritating ones that can slow down your computer to more dangerous ones that can steal information or even wipe your laptop out. While some firewalls include anti-virus tools, it’s better to use a dedicated anti-virus app alongside your firewall.
And there you have it, a quick deprived of how firewalls protect you from threats on the Internet. Keep yourself safe, download, and install a firewall for your computer today.