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A firewall is a security device that controls access to network-based information and applications. It is used to prevent unauthorized traffic from entering the network, or to protect the privacy of users.

Firewalls are used in consumer and corporate settings. They can be software or hardware. While some firewalls are installed at the perimeter of a network, others are within the network itself.

Throughout history, firewalls have developed into various different versions and variations. However, the most important factor that a firewall must have is the ability to block connections carrying malicious code. By doing so, firewalls can be a valuable tool for companies looking to keep their networks safe.

During the mid 1990s, many businesses were affected by a surge in internet attacks. This was particularly true during the early 2000s, when exploitable application vulnerabilities were affecting most companies.

The first generation of firewalls was based on packet filtering technology. These devices examined bytes transferred between computers and compared them to predefined criteria.

Later, firewalls evolved to include more protection from unauthorized connections. They were also able to thwart DoS attacks. In addition to blocking connections, firewalls also provide important logging functions.

Today, most companies use next-generation firewalls (NGFWs). NGFWs combine traditional enterprise firewall capabilities with intrusion prevention systems and application awareness. Some NGFWs even offer intent-based networking.

Next-generation firewalls also integrate VPN functionality and use deep packet inspection to detect and block malware. NGFWs are a great selling point for companies that need to offer improved data-protection to their clients.