Firewall Fundamentals: Types, Operations, and Advantages

Hey there! You ever hear of firewalls but not quite sure what they are or how they work? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A firewall is like a guard at the gate of a castle, it keeps the bad stuff out and lets the good stuff in.

It’s a security system that helps protect your computer or network from unauthorized access. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of firewalls, how they work and the advantages they offer. So, buckle up and let’s dive in!

What is Firewalls?

A firewall is a security system that protects your computer from various threats on the internet network.

In other words, the function of a firewall is to work as a partition or wall that limits computers from the internet network. Through this “wall of fire,” you can manage what data, information, and activities are allowed to pass from the internet network to the computer and vice versa.

So, that was the definition of a firewall and its function. Do you want to know various other firewall functions? Let’s see the next part!

Types of Firewalls

Alright, so firewalls come in two types: software and hardware. Software firewalls are like little security guards on your computer, they keep an eye on the network traffic coming through different applications and port numbers.

Hardware firewalls, on the other hand, are like a big security gate that sits between your network and the outside world. And, if you’re using a cloud solution, you also have cloud firewall that protect your network.

There are a bunch of different types of firewalls based on how they filter traffic, how they’re set up and what they can do. Some examples include:

1. Packet Filtering

A packet filtering firewall is like a traffic cop for your network.

It controls the flow of data coming in and out of your network and decides whether or not to let it through based on things like where the data is coming from, where it’s going, what kind of data it is, and so on.

It’s like checking ID’s at the door, it makes sure the right data gets through and the bad stuff stays out.

2. Proxy Service Firewall

The task of a proxy firewall is to act as an intermediary for computers and servers that communicate via the internet network. You do this by forwarding requests from the computer as if the request came from the proxy itself.

By hiding the real identity of the computer, the proxy can protect the computer from potential malicious attacks.

3. Stateful Inspection

A firewall inspection is a more advanced way of protecting your network. It goes beyond just checking the packet’s source and destination addresses, it also checks the state of the packet, like if it’s a new or established connection.

It uses this information, along with administrator-defined rules and context, to decide whether to let the data through or block it.

This type of firewall provides a deeper level of security by inspecting the contents of the packets and can detect and prevent more sophisticated cyber threats. It’s like a security guard not only checking ID’s but also checking the bag before letting someone in.

4. Next-Generation Firewall

Next-generation firewalls are security devices that combine the functions of other firewalls. For example, checking packets, connections, TCP sessions, and much more.

In short, the role of the next-generation firewall is to examine every data transaction inside and out and not just focus on one aspect.

5. Hardware Firewalls

Which includes the types of firewalls are hardware firewalls. As the name implies, a hardware firewall is hardware contained in a network system, such as a router.

This firewall requires configuration to work effectively. To be able to work, a hardware firewall uses filter techniques to determine the primary packet, source, and destination.

Internally, the system will compare data according to defined rules. Then, it decides which data needs to be dropped or forwarded to the destination.

6. Circuit Level Getways

Circuit-level gateways are firewalls that work at the session, the third layer of the OSI Model.

In general, the function of circuit-level gateways firewall is to ensure that every connection and session that passes through TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) is secure.

These circuit-level gateways often come as part of other firewalls or are embedded in the software.

7. Software Firewalls

There is a hardware firewall, and of course, there is also a software firewall. These types of firewalls are usually created in the form of a separate application or as an additional feature of an antivirus.

Firewall software is the right solution to protect the network for home internet users because it can save traffic from the internet to the computer and vice versa and prevent you from Trojan viruses and worms.

8. Cloud Firewall

The last types of firewall are cloud firewall. As the name implies, a cloud firewall offers network protection and cloud-based data transactions. Like other cloud-based technologies, it is managed by an external provider.

So it does not surprise that the term often addressed to a cloud firewall is firewall-as-a-service or FaaS. Many companies rely on FaaS to protect their internal networks and the cloud infrastructure (IaaS or PaaS) that they build.

Advantages Using Firewalls

Now that you have understood the types of firewalls, let us look at the advantages of using firewalls.

1. Get Secured!

The benefit of a firewall is that it can make computers more secure. It makes sense because the firewall acts as a barrier if dangerous things like malware or scams want to infiltrate the computer.

Especially nowadays, computers are almost always connected to the internet network. Therefore, the benefits and functions of a firewall are becoming increasingly important so that your computer is always protected.

2. Clean Website Aways from Threats

Apart from protecting the computer, a firewall’s benefit is keeping the website clean from dangerous threats. It’s is because several types of firewalls are designed for servers to preserve the websites in them.

3. Avoiding Losses due to Data Theft

You know that one of the functions of a firewall is to protect personal and valuable data from being accessed by hackers or other irresponsible parties. Imagine if you don’t use a firewall.

Hackers are currently misusing your personal information. Either deceive others in your name or burden bills with your credit card details.

4. Prevent Access to Dangerous Content

Finally, the benefit of a firewall is that it prevents you from accessing harmful content. It’s in line with the firewall function, which can block unwanted content increasingly circulating on the internet.

Hence, a firewall is very useful if you have children under age and are given internet access. Because usually, they can’t tell which content is safe and which is dangerous.

Why Are Firewalls So Important?

Firewalls are like your cyber bodyguard, they keep your network safe and sound with all the modern security techniques.

Back in the early days of the internet, people realized that they needed to protect their networks with new methods, especially with the client-server model which is still the backbone of modern computing.

That’s when firewalls came onto the scene and have been protecting networks of all shapes and sizes. They check the traffic coming in and out and make sure there’s no bad stuff trying to sneak through.

They’re basically like a bouncer for your network, checking everyone’s ID and making sure they’re not up to no good.

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