Atlantek Computers being a responsible Cheapest Broadband Deal provider takes great care about internet security. There are many ways how to make sure you are not a target of an attack. Some are manual and some automatic. The simplest and requiring least maintenance and attention is a firewall but have you ever wondered what a firewall is? If you use the internet, you are probably familiar with this term. But what exactly is a firewall? How does it protect your computer?
Definition of firewall
A firewall is literally a wall of fire, a term that accurately describes the element that protects networks, computers and systems from outside attacks. Firewalls are a type of network security designed to control traffic entering and leaving the network. A firewall filters all packets according to certain rules and allows or prevents them from reaching the device. In what cases can a firewall block?
Traffic from the network (i.e. the above-mentioned packets) is blocked if the firewall itself detects suspicious activity, such as viruses or hacker attacks. A firewall is therefore an important element to protect the device from possible external attacks or dangerous software.
The firewall controls the device’s outgoing traffic, but its strength lies in the incoming traffic. The firewall analyses each packet very carefully and if it comes across suspicious code, it compares it with the filters and rules programmed into the firewall. The first thing that happens is when you want to run a certain online game in Windows, for example: the system sends a message to add this address to the firewall’s exceptions. Otherwise, the firewall may block all traffic and prevent you from playing the game comfortably.
A simple explanation of how the firewall works | Source: medium.com
Packet filtering is one of the many methods used by firewalls, but for home devices (which use software bombs) it is the most commonly used method. A firewall is therefore the first line of defence and is probably better than other monitoring software.
Types of firewall
I have already mentioned that there is a software firewall, but there is also such a thing as a hardware firewall: what is the difference? The former is a programme installed on the computer (e.g. the Windows firewall), the latter is an external device connected to the network and the target device whose sole purpose is to filter traffic to and from the connected hardware. But is it worth using both types of firewalls to get 100 per cent protection?
Such a solution certainly increases device security, but for home computers or laptops, it is too much of a stretch. For home use, a firewall and common sense when surfing the internet is enough.
However, firewalls with packet filtering are sometimes too weak for more sophisticated attacks and are generally not suitable to protect targets where attacks are most likely to occur. This is due to their limitation, as they cannot determine whether the content of a specific application is corrupt or not. Yes, such a firewall can detect a suspicious file, but cybercriminals can effectively hide the file so that it passes the firewall’s scan and becomes active only when it reaches its target (e.g. the system). However, there are firewalls that are better equipped to deal with such threats, such as NGFWs and proxy firewalls.
The Internet like the one provided by Atlantek Fibre Broadband is an interconnected system full of threats. A firewall is the first line of defence against them, so it is worth using one.
NGFW – This acronym is derived from the acronym Next Generation Firewall. It is sometimes also called third-generation firewall. This type of firewall is a combination of traditional firewall methods with the addition of more powerful features. These include encrypted traffic management, intrusion protection and even a special anti-virus programme that works in conjunction with the firewall. The main feature of NGFWs, however, is the so-called DPI (deep packet inspection), a technology that makes this type of firewall very different from filtering firewalls. It inspects each packet individually, inserts it and carefully checks its content.
Proxy firewall. This is a type of firewall that uses a proxy to connect a computer to the network. This type of proxy controls traffic very carefully, but has the disadvantage of limiting the bandwidth of the connection. However, proxy firewalls are sometimes considered the most effective firewalls.