What is a Firewall?

Firewall Network Security

The basic definition of firewalls can be quite tricky for beginners. Firewall are nothing but a network security device. Network security, on the other hand, helps to protect the usability and virtue of any network and its data. It is applicable for both hardware and software technologies. Its job is to stop threats from entering or spreading to a network. It tackles unauthorized access and misuse of computer systems.

Firewalls are a type of cyber security device that tracks all incoming and outgoing network traffic. Firewalls grant or block the traffic that comes towards the network depending on its threat level. It acts as a wall between administered and public networks. It is a technology which has been safeguarding network security for over a decade now.

Any information coming through the internet connection into a private network or a system is filtered by this hardware device, which leads to stopping any malicious information and is flagged by the firewall. Large companies often use firewall security for the hundreds of computers present on their premises, which without a firewall installation, is directly accessible to anyone on the internet. In the absence of network security, a situation may develop which will lead to probing computers and networks to make FTP and telnet connections which can further lead to hacking a system. A firewall installation is imperative to stop such activities.

The different types of Firewalls are:

  • PROXY: It is considered to be the most secured type of firewall. Unlike its contemporary types, the information packets in a proxy firewall don’t pass through. It is because the proxy itself acts as an intermediary where a computer connects to the proxy which then merges into a new network connection based on the request. Proxy firewall can provide safety or security to control information going in and out of the network and imparts internet access to computers on a network. This type of firewall also controls requests coming from a client and analyses it deeply to keep the network secure and free of viruses.
  • Stateful Inspection Firewall: Stateful inspection firewall allows only safe and secured network packets to go through with the help of information from active connections. Also known as Dynamic Packet filtering, this type of firewall continuously monitors communication packets and examines both incoming and outgoing packets. Depending on the port, state and protocol, this firewall allows or blocks traffic. An administrator who uses this type of firewall can set up variables to meet specific needs. This firewall monitors all the activities running on a computer right from the starting or switching on of a connection till it is shut down completely.
  • Unified Threat Management Firewall (UTM) – This type of firewall uses a single management console for security management allowing an administrator to monitor and manage a wide variety of security-related applications. It cohesively combines the function of a Stateful inspection firewall. Additional services and cloud management may also be included. UTM firewall is simple and made for convenient usage. It is also referred to as the Next Generation Firewall.
  • Next Generation Firewalls: An increased number of applications and malware is the reason this firewall was created. NGFW includes intrusion prevention to ward off any possible threats. It also involves tactful abilities to swiftly tackle growing threats. This type of firewall is slowly becoming a standard network protection for emerging companies.
  • Threat Focused NGFW: This firewall is similar to the Next Generation Firewalls, but with advanced threat detection to detect advanced malware. NGFW helps you to quickly react to attacks. With complete context awareness this type of firewall helps you know which assets are most at risk.

How Firewall Works with a Router

Unlike other firewalls, a router firewall does not permit any incoming query requests at the server level, which therefore helps in protecting the network. The router firewall keeps a network safe by simply turning it on as the router is the only connecting point of a computer on a network to the Internet. Routers are devices that carry packets of data between a network and the internet.

What are the two types of firewall routers?

Network Address Translation (NAT) sends network packets to the right direction with the help of a router and identifies the internet addresses that a network bridges data packets with.

Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) is an advanced router firewall. Before allowing it through the firewall, this router firewall deliberately concentrates on larger number of packet features. Therefore, a firewall security protects your computer by monitoring traffic, blocking threats, stopping hackers and keyloggers. It safeguards a network connection and is an essential tool in computer security with in-built anti-virus tool. A firewall can also identify if anyone is forcing attempts to enter an authorized network or an individual computer and sets an alarm when a dubious or fake activity is being carried out.

Michelle writes about cyber security as well as how to protect your data online. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She conducts workshops focused on web technologies and enjoys public speaking along with her connected rescue mutt.