A firewall is a protective barrier between your PC and cyber world. When you are connected to the Internet, you are a potential target to an array of cyber threats, such as hackers, Trojans, and key loggers that attack through security holes. This means that if you shop or bank online, are vulnerable to identity theft and other security threats.
While using internet you are constantly sending and receiving packets of information. The firewall filters these packets and thereafter blocks or allows the data. This helps in preventing hackers to get inside and steal crucial data such as bank account numbers and passwords from you.
Basic firewalls such as the one in Microsoft Windows latest editions, only monitor incoming traffic by default. This may give you complete security, as outgoing traffic, like your credit card information, bank accounts, and passwords are not protected. An efficient firewall monitors both incoming and outgoing traffic. It also makes your PC invisible when you’re online, helping prevent attempted intrusions in the first place. Most firewalls are capable to continuously update the list of good and malicious applications. This way, your computer’s protection is always up-to-date.
You can categorize firewalls into two simple categories:
Hardware: A hardware firewall can be a router or any other security product that is placed between your PC and the outside world. More than one PC can be connected with that security device or router, and each will be protected by the firewall.
Software: A software firewall is installed on your PC, it will deflect incoming attacks and hide open ports. It will warn you about suspicious outgoing traffic. You can have a software firewall on each computer for strong protection. By installing software firewall, an attacker will have to cross two level security to access your PC.
There are different types of firewall techniques that will prevent unauthorized individuals to access your crucial data over the internet:
Proxy server checks all messages entering and leaving the network and hides the true network addresses.
Circuit-level gateway is used for TCP or UDP connection. On establishment of secure TCP or UDP connection, data packets can flow between the hosts without further checking.
Packet filter firewall checks each data packet entering or leaving the network. Packet filtering is fairly effective and transparent to users, but it is difficult to configure.
Application Gateway security mechanisms is applied to specific applications, such as Telnet and FTP servers. It secures server effectively but slow down performance.
Next Generation Firewall (NGFW)
NGFW – next generation firewall is the newer class of firewalls that filters internet and network traffic based upon traffic types using specific ports. Next Generation Firewalls (NGFWs) feature the basic functionalities of a standard firewall with quality of service (QoS) in order to provide deeper and smarter inspection.
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