Attacks are susceptible to happen when your computer is accessible through an internet connection or Wi-Fi network. Nevertheless, by using a firewall, the risk can be lower as it can restrict outside access to your computer and the information on your computer. Here are the functions of firewalls:
- Firewalls provide protection against outside cyber attacks by shielding your computer or network from malicious or unnecessary network traffic.
- Firewalls can also prevent malicious software from accessing a computer or network via the internet.
- Firewalls can be configured to block data from certain locations (i.e., IP addresses), applications, or ports while allowing relevant and necessary data through.
There are 2 types of firewalls: hardware firewall and software firewall. Even though both have advantages and disadvantages, the decision on using a firewall is more important than the one on picking which type to use.
Hardware-based firewalls, which also named network firewalls, is the physical devices located between your computer and the internet or other network connection. It is usually included in the small office/home office routers that are offered by many vendors and some Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This type of firewall is particularly useful for protecting multiple computers and controlling the network activity that attempts to pass through them.
- The advantage of hardware-based firewalls: they provide an additional line of defense against attacks reaching desktop computing systems.
- The disadvantage of hardware-based firewalls: they are separate devices that require trained professionals to support their configuration and maintenance.
Software-based firewalls are usually present as a built-in firewall feature in most operating systems. Even if you have an external firewall, you should still enable it for added protection. Besides, you can also find it available separately from your local computer store, software vendor, or ISP. However, it is important to ensure the firewall software is downloaded from a reputable source and via a secure site.
- The advantage of software-based firewalls: their ability to control the specific network behavior of individual applications on a system.
- The disadvantage of software-based firewalls: it is typically located on the same system that is being protected. Being located on the same system can hinder the firewall’s ability to detect and stop malicious activity.
- Another possible disadvantage of software-based firewalls: you will need to update and manage each computer’s firewall individually if you have a firewall for each computer on a network.
Every network whether home or organization based, should have firewalls in place. Choosing the right firewall for your needs can be a difficult choice, but a necessary one. If your worried, you may not have the correct security settings in place invest in a gap assessment solution, to find out where your weaknesses may lie.
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