12 Days of Cyber –What Are Firewalls and Why Are They Important


15 Dec 2015

12 Days of Cyber –What Are Firewalls and Why Are They Important

Firewalls are an important component for effective cyber security, combined with effective anti-virus software and secure password protection they are often a deciding factor as to whether a hacker will attempt an attack.

As with any common criminal, a cybercriminal will go for easy targets. A burglar for example would rather break into a property that has lax security in place than a heavily defended one. Hackers are no different. A poorly defended network is more likely to be attacked than one with effective cyber security measures in place.

What is a Firewall?

The name Firewall was borrowed from fire fighters and fire prevention. In the conventional sense a firewall is a barrier used to prevent a fire from spreading.

A Firewall is designed to stop unauthorised access to and/or from a private network. All messages entering or leaving pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.

They can be implemented in both software and hardware or both. Software firewalls are installed on a computer and will protect the machine from outside attempts to access it. Hardware firewalls on the other hand are installed on routers and performs the same function for the router as the software firewall does for a computer.

In addition to limiting access to your computer and network, a firewall is also useful for allowing remote access to a private network through secure authentication certificates and logins.

As the cyber threat grows, more sophisticated firewalls are being developed to keep up. Cyber security experts think that while firewalls still have a role to play, modern networks have so many entry points and so many different types of users that stronger access control and security at the host would prove more effective.

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