Table of Contents
What is Firewall?
A firewall is a sort of network security hardware or software application that monitors and filters incoming and outgoing network traffic according to a set of security rules. It serves as a barrier between internal private networks and public networks (such as the public Internet).
A firewall’s principal goal is to allow non-threatening communication while blocking dangerous or undesirable data transmission in order to protect the computer from viruses and attacks. A firewall is a cybersecurity solution that filters network traffic and assists users in preventing harmful malware from gaining access to the Internet on compromised machines.
Firewall is Hardware or Software?
Whether a firewall is hardware or software is one of the most difficult issues to answer. A firewall, as previously noted, can be a network security equipment or a computer software programme. This means that the firewall is available on both hardware and software levels, albeit it is preferable to have both.
The functionality of each format (a firewall implemented as hardware or software) varies, but the goal remains the same. A hardware firewall is a piece of hardware that connects a computer network to a gateway. Consider a broadband router. A software firewall, on the other hand, is a basic programme that works with port numbers and other installed software to protect a computer.
Aside from that, cloud-based firewalls are available. FaaS (firewall as a service) is a typical moniker for them. The ability to administer cloud-based firewalls from a central location is a major benefit. Cloud-based firewalls, like hardware firewalls, are best recognized for perimeter security.
Need of Firewall:
Firewalls are used to protect against malware and network-based threats. They can also aid in the prevention of application-layer assaults. These firewalls serve as a barrier or a gatekeeper. They keep track of every connection our machine makes to another network. They only let data packets to pass through them if the data is coming or leaving from a trusted source designated by the user.
Firewalls are built in such a way that they can identify and counter-attack threats throughout the network fast. They can work with regulations that have been set up to defend the network, as well as conduct fast inspections to look for any unusual activity. In other words, the firewall can be used as a traffic controller.
The following are some of the major dangers of not having a firewall:
Open to the public:
If a computer is not protected by a firewall, it allows unrestricted access to other networks. This means it accepts any type of connection that is made through another person. It is impossible to detect threats or assaults going over our network in this circumstance. We render our devices vulnerable to malicious users and other undesired sources if we don’t employ a firewall.
Data that has been lost or mutilated:
We’re leaving our gadgets open to everyone if we don’t use a firewall. This means that anyone, even the network, can gain access to our device and have complete control over it. Cybercriminals can easily destroy our data or utilise our personal information for their own gain in this situation.
Anyone could gain access to our network and shut it down if we didn’t have a firewall. It may prompt us to devote precious time and resources to restoring our network’s functionality.
As a result, it is critical to employ firewalls to protect our network, computer, and data from unauthorized access.
A Quick Overview of Firewalls History:
For more than 30 years, firewalls have been the first and most reliable line of defence in network security. Firewalls were originally introduced in the late 1980s. Originally, they were intended to be packet filters. These packet filters were nothing more than a series of computer networks. The main purpose of these packet filtering firewalls was to look for packets or bytes that were being sent between computers.
Due to ongoing improvement, firewalls have gotten increasingly complex, however packet filtering firewalls are still used in legacy systems.
Gil Shwed from Check Point Technologies introduced the first stateful inspection firewall in 1993, as the technology matured. FireWall-1 was the name given to it. Netscreen introduced its purpose-built firewall ‘Appliance’ in the year 2000. Increased internet speed, decreased latency, and high throughput at a lower cost helped it acquire popularity and rapid acceptance among businesses.
During the mid-2010s, a new technique to firewall implementation was introduced around the turn of the century. Palo Alto Networks introduced the term “Next-Generation Firewalls.” These firewalls have features and capabilities such as Hybrid Cloud Support, Network Threat Prevention, Application and Identity-Based Control, and Scalable Performance, among others. As part of ongoing development, firewalls are still acquiring new functionality. In terms of network security, they are considered the first line of protection.
What exactly is the work of a firewall?
A firewall system examines network traffic according to pre-set rules. The traffic is subsequently filtered, and any traffic coming from untrustworthy or suspect sources is blocked. It only accepts traffic that has been configured to accept. Firewalls often intercept network traffic at a computer’s port, or entry point. According to pre-defined security criteria, firewalls allow or block particular data packets (units of communication carried over a digital network). Only trusted IP addresses or sources are allowed to send traffic in.
As previously established, the firewall acts as a gatekeeper. It examines all attempts to obtain access to our operating system and blocks traffic from unidentified or unknown sources.
We can think of the firewall as a traffic controller since it operates as a barrier or filter between the computer system and external networks (such as the public Internet). As a result, the major function of a firewall is to protect our network and information by managing network traffic, prohibiting unwanted incoming network traffic, and validating access by scanning network traffic for dangerous things like hackers and viruses. Most operating systems (for example, Windows OS) and security applications provide firewall capability by default. As a result, it’s a good idea to make sure those options are enabled. We can also adjust the system’s security settings to update automatically whenever new information becomes available.
Firewalls have grown in power, and now encompass a number of built-in functions and capabilities:
- Preventing Network Threats
- Control based on the application and the user’s identity.
- Support for Hybrid Cloud.
- Performance that scales.
- Control and management of network traffic.
- Validation of access.
- Keep track of what happens and report on it.
Firewalls are the first line of defence when it comes to network security. However, the question remains as to whether these firewalls are powerful enough to protect our gadgets from cyber-attacks. It’s possible that the answer is “no.” When utilising the Internet, it is best to employ a firewall system. Other defence mechanisms, on the other hand, should be used to assist safeguard the network and data saved on the computer. Because cyber dangers are always changing, a firewall should not be the only thing you think about when it comes to protecting your home network.
Firewalls are obviously important as a security solution; nonetheless, they have significant limitations:
Firewalls are unable to prevent people from accessing dangerous websites, leaving the organisation open to internal threats and attacks.
Firewalls cannot prevent virus-infected data or software from being sent.
Passwords can’t be protected by firewalls.
If security rules are misconfigured, firewalls will not be able to protect you.
Non-technical security vulnerabilities, such as social engineering, are not protected by firewalls.
Firewalls cannot prevent or stop attackers using modems from calling in or out of the internal network.
Firewalls can’t protect a machine that has already been infected.
As a result, it’s a good idea to maintain all Internet-connected gadgets up to date. This includes the most recent versions of operating systems, web browsers, apps, and other security software (such as anti-virus). Furthermore, wireless router security should be a standard practise. Changing the router’s name and password on a regular basis, evaluating security settings, and setting up a guest network for visitors are all possibilities for protecting a router.
Types of Firewalls:
Different types of firewalls exist, each with its own structure and functionality. The following is a list of some of the most prevalent firewall types:
Proxy Firewall is a type of proxy firewall.
Firewalls with packet filtering.
Firewall with Stateful Multi-layer Inspection (SMLI).
Firewall with unified threat management (UTM).
Next-generation firewall (NGFW).
Firewalls with network address translation (NAT).
What is the difference between a firewall and an anti-virus ?
Anti-viruses and firewalls are both systems that defend devices from viruses and other sorts of Trojans, but they have important differences. The primary distinctions between firewalls and anti-viruses are listed below, based on the
|A firewall is a system that examines and filters incoming and outgoing data packets according to pre-determined criteria.||Anti-virus software is a sort of software that serves as a cyber-security measure. Anti-virus software’s basic role is to monitor, detect, and delete any suspicious or suspicious files or software from the device.|
|Firewalls can be either physical or software. A physical firewall is a router, while a software firewall is a basic firewall programme installed on the system.||Antivirus is only available as software. Anti-virus is an application that, like all other apps, is installed on the device.|
|Firewalls are available in both hardware and software, therefore they can be implemented in either way.||Anti-virus is only possible to apply at the software level because it is in the form of software. At the hardware level, there is no way to incorporate anti-virus.|
|A firewall is commonly referred to as a network management system. It basically means that firewalls are in charge of monitoring and filtering network traffic.||Anti-virus software is in charge of identifying and eradicating viruses from computers and other devices. Viruses can be transmitted through infected files or software.|
|Firewalls are more scalable than anti-virus software since they support both hardware and software implementations.||Antivirus software is often thought to be less scalable than firewall software. Because anti-virus software can only be implemented at the software level, this is the case. They don’t support implementation at the hardware level.|
|A firewall is primarily used to defend against network-based assaults. Is it primarily comprised of external network threats? Routing attacks and IP spoofing are two examples.||Anti-virus software is primarily used to detect, locate, and remove viruses, malware, and Trojans that can harm system files and software as well as share personal information with hackers (such as login passwords, credit card numbers, and so on).|