Are Firewalls Right for You?

Posted in Digital Data, laptop, Tech news  by Carol
January 6th, 2016

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Most people have heard of firewalls and understand that cybersecurity is a real issue in our digital era. However, few truly understand what protection a firewall offers and how it manages to do so. If you’e ever wondered exactly what a firewall does and how, this article is for you.

A firewall can come in the form of hardware or software. Either way, it filters the information that enters your device through your device’s internet connection. If any of that incoming packet of information is flagged by your firewall filter, it’s not allowed through to your device.

This service is instrumentally important to both private and public users. Especially in corporate settings, identifying and blocking packets of information that might allow crackers (malevolent hackers) to probe company devices is integral to the safety and credibility of any business.

That’s why companies tend to install firewalls at every node through which the internet is accessed. This firewall can implement security rules such as limiting the amount of devices that can receive public FTP traffic or controlling how employees connect to Web sites and whether or not they can upload information onto the internet.

Firewalls tend to perform three basic services: packet filtering, proxy service, and stageful inspection. Packet filtering involves analyzing packets of information against a set of filters. Anything that doesn’t make it is discarded. The proxy service feature allows the firewall to retrieve information from the internet and then send it to the requesting service and vice cress. Finally, stageful inspection refers to the process of comparing certain key parts of information packets to a database of trusted information. If the information coming out or in resembles what’s normally sent out and in, it’s allowed. If the information is very abnormal, it’s discarded.

computer-firewall-23219089Firewalls can also be customized to the users’ liking. Firewalls can be programmed to recognize IP addresses and keep foreign readers at bay. Firewalls can also be programmed to make sure particular domains are totally unaccessible. It can be set to follow certain protocols such as Internet Protocol, Transmission Control Protocol, Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and whichever ones a private or public user deems useful for its particular firewall needs.

Firewalls are also used for censorship, so parents worried about what content may come up in their children’s searches can sleep easier at night. Firewalls can be set up to catch particular text inputs like “x-rated” or “x rated” and make sure any information from those servers don’t end up on the display of young users’ devices.

Firewalls have become so prevalent that many operating systems come with their own firewall built in. Software firewalls can also be installed on your computer so long as you have an Internet connection. That computer can be considered a gateway since it provides the only point of access between your home network and the Internet, so keep that in mind.

If you opt into a hardware firewall, you’ll find that the firewall unit itself is generally called the gateway. Routers often have firewalls built in, for example.

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