What is a Firewall?

A firewall is a web security software that analyzes network traffic entering and leaving your network based on a set of security rules.

What is a firewall on a computer?

A firewall is a type of network security instrument that scrutinizes incoming and outgoing network traffic and allows or rejects data packets depending on a set of security rules. Its objective is to create a barrier between your internal network and incoming traffic from outside sources (such as the internet) in order to prevent unwanted traffic, such as viruses and data breaches.

What are the three main types of firewalls?

Firewalls are classified into three types: network firewalls, host-based firewalls, and web application firewalls.

  • Network firewalls – This is the most common type of firewall. It inspects and handles both incoming and outgoing network traffic. A firm, for example, may install a network firewall to prevent incoming and outgoing internet communications. Network firewalls can also be installed between network segments within an organization’s network. These firewalls enable the company to control communications between several groups of devices. 
  • Host-based firewalls – Host-based firewalls track and regulate the network traffic of a single device on which they are installed. Host-based firewalls operate on a per-device basis instead of network firewalls, which govern traffic flow across an entire network. They are available as third-party software but are sometimes included in the underlying operating system, such as Windows or MacOS.
  • Web application firewalls (WAF) – Web application firewalls are customized firewalls that regulate network access to online applications like web pages. Web application firewalls are installed before a web application, so when you interact with a website, you’ll send packets to the WAF rather than the web server. The WAF will then decide if your connection is allowed or denied.

What are the three main functions of a firewall?

The main three functions of a firewall are as follows:

  • Firewalls work by restricting access to the internet for individual computers.
  • Firewalls act as security guards in front of the house gate, identifying guests and filtering attackers attempting to enter a personal computer.
  • Firewalls act as the first security line against hacking attempts that penetrate the computer.

Firewall technology is evolving rapidly. Previously, the firewall used IP addresses, port numbers, and protocols to censor computer traffic. With its advancement, the firewall can now filter incoming data by first recognizing the content message it contains.

Is VPN a firewall?

Simply put, firewalls and VPNs fulfill different objectives and perform other functions. A firewall safeguards your device or network against external dangers, whereas a VPN protects your data and identity from prying eyes. A firewall operates on the network layer, whereas a VPN works on the application layer. A firewall neither encrypts nor changes your IP address, whereas a VPN does.

Wrapping up

A firewall is a functional barrier to block cyber threats while allowing authorized traffic to flow through your network. Used in conjunction with a VPN, your network will remain secure and anonymous.

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