What is a Firewall and Its Use?

In this modern world, people widely use internet for all their works which includes shopping, travel tickets booking, buying basic utensils, bill pays, food purchase and several things. Moreover, internet is widely used by all business people to develop their business which includes small scale business, internet based companies and organizations. Likewise, the internet usage became vital one for all sectors either it may be personal or professional one. However, when the technology is widely used by people and there are several changes for misusing by others too in similar ways the internet usage also has many changes to hack the user applications. People would search for ways to avoid these type of misuse like hacking thus they end up with using firewall. Many people would wonder what does firewall mean and what is their use? The Firewall is nothing but a system especially designed to protect your network from hacking and unauthorized private network access.

The firewalls are available in hardware and software and it can be used based on the user’s preference and they can implement any effective firewall system on their devices. Many can think whether it is essential to use Firewall for internet protection but in reality it helps users to be secured from other private network access especially in intranets. To be more clear whenever user sends a message or try to get connected with the local network then the message or link pass via firewall if those contents do not match to the security level then it is blocked. The firewall is not only used to prevent the internet or intranet from private access but also it is designed for protecting network traffics too. Thus people need to do authenticate for using any specific network.

Different types of firewall system widely used:

When it comes to using firewall system for network protection, it is better for people to have security protection in specific manner. In general firewall is available in hardware and software thus people can use any type of firewall for protecting their network. Although there are several types of firewalls are build in different operating systems here are some of the common firewalls exists among people are listed below:

  • packet filtering
  • circuit level gateway
  • proxy server
  • firewall for web application

All above listed firewalls are commonly used one by people were all these firewalls has different protection features so based on the purpose people can choose right firewall protection system for their network.

Packet filtering: In this packet filtering firewall system whatever the function may be the firewall examines each packet which enters and leave through network and gets them accepted based on user defined rules. It always remains to be more effective and user transparent but its configuration is highly difficult and also this packet filtering firewall also suspects IP spoofing.

Circuit level gateway: This firewall system is widely uses security protection when the network system is connected with a TCP or UDP connection. When anyone of TCP or UDP connections is made then the packets are allowed to flow between hosts. Thus there is no further checking would be done on packets.

Proxy server: Proxy server is a gateway where the computer connecting true network addresses are hidden. If the user wants to connect to the page then the proxy server first connects to the internet and then makes request to the pages then connects to the server and goes on. Thus proxy receives the data on computer behalf there comes the firewall capabilities were user can configure this proxy it act as firewall. This proxy firewall just allows only certain types of pages to enter such as HTTP files, web pages and other basic things.

On other hand although the proxy server firewall is effective to protect the computer system as they keeps on having continuous analyzing the network packets in active manner it tends the user to have slow network performance speed.

Firewall for web applications: Firewall for only web applications is a hardware type firewall which has to be plugged into the server. While doing so the software has several filter levels which are user defined one and follow certain rules set in order to have HTTP conversation. Thus the set of rules can be customized depends on application used so it is easy to identify attacks too network and block them immediately.

Likewise, based on the purpose people can choose suitable firewall systems apart from above lists there are several firewalls are developed by Microsoft, Mac and many others. on other hand not only big companies build firewalls there are several third party firewall packages are also available for people use such as zone alarm, Norton personal firewall, black ice protection, tiny and McAfee. Among most of them in the list offers free trial version of packages which is highly beneficial for people. So based on usage either home based or office based it is better to go with trail version first when it is software firewall if it is hardware then make sure about their installation.

Roles played by a firewall in the Network security

System Administrator has many tasks where he has to look after the installation and setting of the firewalls in an organization or business area. This is because a firewall is a vital component of the firm’s network and it plays extremely more important part in securing and protecting the firm network. In general, the network security refers to the methods of addressing the internal and external threats to a company’s network system. Here, the firewall plays it major role and help the user in protecting and securing the network both from internal and external dangers of threats. The router is a device that essentially acts or connects as bridge between the two or more different networks. When any organization internal network is connected to the web, then it is usually assumed that the network is of vulnerable one to the threats from the external network which is found to be on another internet.

A firewall is nothing but a program that is installed between the both internal and external network area just to sort out all inwards and outwards data or traffic where this is also recognized as the “packet filtering”. A computer management program holds the certain kinds of rules in the firewall which are utilized to assess all incoming and outgoing data. The following are some of the major roles and tasks that a firewall performs on the network. They are:

  • It provides the defense against the external network threats and vulnerabilities just by refusing the unauthorized or third party links to the router from hackers.
  • The firewall protects the network infrastructure from within the network, i.e. it blocks the outgoing connections from the router and it mitigates the spread of key loggers, malware or viruses. Those have sneaked past on the network and on the router.

Therefore, it is very much important that firewall is installed and managed by the professional system administrator for providing the maximum amount of protection to your organization network infrastructure. When the firewall is installed correctly, then the advantage of using the firewalls cannot be ignored. The following are some of the main benefits of having the firewall installed in your organization.

  • Policing – A firewall perform as a shield and protector guard for your organization where it polices or monitors the incoming and outgoing data/traffic to your network. It also analyzes the information that are being sent or received where it either allows or blocks the data from entering into the network. This is done depending upon the rules that are established within the firewall device.
  • Blocks malicious programs – The firewall has the ability to potential block the viruses, Trojan horses and malware from infecting your organization network. The Trojan horses are found to be the most dangerous virus or threat because they attach themselves with the files and when you transmit these files to a system they further damage other computer systems. These Trojan horses’ threats are created by the potential hackers just for revealing your confidential information to the web servers.
  • No more hackers – When your organization is installed and monitored by the firewall device then it can stop a hacker dead in their tracks. Hackers can cause the damage or loss of data to your organization’s computer devices while they might even use those computer systems to carry out the illegal activities.

Firewall to the keyloggers

One of the most harmful programs that have ever written is key logger that tracks your key strokes and transmits the information back to the cybercriminals. In this way the third party users might gain the access to your personal accounts such as bank accounts. With the firewall in place, key loggers will have no chance of being entered into your computer device as they will be blocked in the first place during the incoming connection to the router device.