The internet is a wild and crazy place. And an unprotected computer connected to it can be like putting out a welcome mat for cyber criminals. With so many devices that connect to the web, it’s impossible to protect them all with only one type of defence measure. That’s why you need a firewall! A firewall is a computer security system that monitors network traffic and blocks unauthorised access. A firewall protects your hardware from unauthorised access to the internet by blocking outbound connections, such as sending email or browsing web pages. The first step in securing your information on the internet is installing a firewall.
What is a firewall?
A firewall is a program that blocks incoming and outgoing traffic on your computer or network according to predetermined rules. A firewall can be used for many purposes, such as protecting the data on your computer from malware (malicious software) and stopping hackers from getting access to it. It is typically deployed near the border of an organisation’s network as it protects against outside attacks on the internal systems.
The two most common types of firewalls are hardware-based and software-based. Hardware-based firewalls are either built into the device you’re using, like an internet router, or installed in between devices in order to protect them both – this type of firewall might also double up as a wireless signal repeater/router combo unit. Software based firewalls work at the operating system level; they create individual “firewall” barriers when the device is switched on.
Software firewalls are generally considered to be more efficient than hardware based ones because they can work in the background without being noticed by users and don’t require any configuration from them, whereas with a hardware firewall you have to authorise every application or device that wants access and then create rules for when it’s allowed onto your network – this may mean having several different sub-firewall networks which all function differently depending on what type of data they’re protecting. There are also other types of firewall such as packet filtering (which only works at layer three) or proxy servers (which only work at layer four). Firewalls often replace antivirus software as their security level is usually higher, although some people feel like running both is better.
Is a firewall necessary?
The short answer is yes: having some type of firewall should be considered mandatory these days – even if it’s just the built in Windows Firewall which can protect against 80% of attacks.
Firewalls are a necessary protection for your network or device, but it’s not always clear when you need one as they do have an effect on performance and can allow certain types of traffic through while blocking others. It depends mainly on whether the data being transferred needs to be protected in transit from other networks (in which case a firewall would protect against hackers) or internally – if you don’t want people accessing files randomly then this is more likely to require a firewall than without one; plus there are different levels of access that could all benefit from firewalling off some areas where sensitive information might reside.
For more sensitive networks, firewall appliances are available that offer protection at the infrastructure level such as deep packet inspection. A firewall appliance can provide a robust line of defence to protect your network from unwanted intrusion and data theft by securing communications between internal servers, as well as lines connected to your system outside of your own network. Organisations with sensitive data (such as banking information) should take care when considering what level of protection they want from their firewall appliance.
It’s important not just to use firewalls but ensure they meet the requirements necessary – otherwise they may open up new vulnerabilities by allowing certain traffic through them which could compromise your system! The most common type of firewall uses a rule-set to determine which traffic is allowed through the firewall.
For less sensitive networks there are simpler options for security such as antivirus software that can be downloaded onto individual devices rather than requiring an expensive firewall device per machine in order to provide a basic level of protection; this would also considerably reduce any performance impacts on systems.
Why you need a firewall?
Networks are constantly being attacked by malware and other malicious sites. If your business has sensitive data that needs protection then the best way to do so is with an enterprise-grade network firewall. That means not just installing one but configuring it correctly so that they meet your specific needs and provide you with the desired level of protection for your organisation’s most important assets.
There are plenty of reasons why having a firewall in place might be necessary, including:
– PCI DSS compliance;
– Protecting employees from cyberattacks, whether internally or externally;
– Restricting access to critical data;
– Protecting against malicious hackers, viruses and malware.
A firewall would also considerably reduce any performance impacts on systems that the network traffic may have caused. Installing a firewall will help you achieve all of those things and more!
Common types of network firewalls
You need to know what type of firewall you’re looking at before making a decision about the level of protection it provides because different firewall devices have different capabilities, limitations and features that will allow them to provide varying levels of security. The following are some common types of network firewalls:
– Packet Filtering Firewall – A packet filtering firewall typically uses static rules where you have control over what gets access or not based off pre-defined criteria that cannot change dynamically such as IP address, port number range, protocol type etc. this type only allows traffic based on pre-defined rules, which can make them easier to configure than stateful firewalls but they typically have fewer features;
– Stateful Inspection Firewall (also called “stateful packet filtering”) – A stateful inspection firewall provides more protection because it analyses each connection in both directions, maintains session information about connections passing through the firewall, and can check content before it gets to the firewall or server. But this comes with some drawbacks like additional overhead required (i.e., processing power), also known as latency due to checking content before passing through , and might not inspect certain types of traffic such as DNS or ICMP.
– Proxy – Proxy provides a high level of security without compromising performance, and can be segmented to provide different levels of security for different parts of the network;
– Application Firewall – these are layered on top of other firewall types, and they try to identify malicious traffic by looking at application behaviour in addition to packet information.
In conclusion, it is a good idea to have some type of firewall, even if it is just the built-in Windows Firewall. The truth of the matter is that there are so many different ways for malware and hackers to sneak into your system these days that you should at least make an attempt at shielding yourself from them. If you don’t want or need more protection than what comes with Windows 10, then simply turn on the default settings. However, we recommend taking advantage of other free options like ZoneAlarm as well in order to get additional features such as antivirus software. And remember – always be vigilant! Don’t open any email attachments unless they come from someone you know personally and trust since this can lead to malware insertion.
What are your thoughts about firewalls? Do you use one with Windows or do you have separate software installed that does the same thing? What type of firewall do you like best and why? Have any horror stories related to malware on a PC? Share them below!