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What is a firewall?

Goldsmith-Anvitha

In these days of rapid digital advancement, there isn’t much we do that isn’t online. Even sensitive informationlike personal conversations, digital banking details, payment of subscription bills, records of personal identification numbers, passwords, etc. has all gone digital.

Subsequently, this has led to a rise in cybercrime, which is precisely why the need for sufficient cybersecurity has arisen.

What is a firewall?

Simply put, a firewall is a digital fortress that acts as a shield between your computer and a cyber threat from an external network (like the Internet). It can be compared to a filter paper that sifts out unwanted traffic like malicious softwareex: viruses and spyware, and allows only what is deemed safe for your computer.

What does a firewall do?

• It blocks malware from infecting your computer.

• It helps set policies that determine the extent of the protection you want your computer to have, thus effectively deciding what traffic to allow passage and what kind of traffic to restrict.

• It discerns suspicious, intrusive activity and halts it before a security breach can occur.

• It averts external perpetrators from acquiring unregulated access to sensitive information on your computer.

A firewall is therefore a quintessential tool in the realm of cybersecurity.

Types of firewalls

There are several types of firewalls. The workings of the three basic types of firewalls are briefly explained below.

1. Packet filtering firewall

A packet filtering firewall is an efficient, yet affordable, software that inspects incoming packets and decides whether to allow them to pass or reject them based on predefined parameters. If the packet’s IP address and port numbers fall under the permitted data rules, it is allowed entry into your network. However, packet filter firewalls are prone to exploitation by hackers.

2. Stateful inspection firewall

A stateful inspection firewall examines packet headers and IP addresses, and checks the validity of the connection throughout the session. The extent of security desired is also more customizable. Although stateful inspections may decrease network speed, they are advanced firewalls that are thorough and secure.

3. Proxy server firewall

The proxy server firewall is the most secure type of firewall. Here, the inspection process takes place in the application layer. Proxy-level firewalls monitor incoming traffic through one point of entry. A thorough examination of data packets occurs before the packets are permitted to enter the user’s network. Tailoring the scale of security to fit the organization’s needs is also feasible. However, proxy server firewalls are quite advanced, so chances are they’ll decrease the network speed.

It is also feasible to tailor the scale of security to fit the needs of an organization. Thus, you can choose a firewall best suited for your network.

Conclusion

Firewalls have established themselves as a necessity in ensuring the safety of the user’s network through thorough examination of incoming data and customizable access parameters.

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