What is a Firewall?
Firewall is a type of security system that filters network traffic based on specific rules. Without a firewall, hackers can gain entry into your internal systems and steal sensitive data.
Firewalls are used to protect large networks of computers and servers from threats that could compromise security. It works by blocking unsolicited incoming network traffic and by assessing it for malicious activity such as hackers, malware and viruses. It can also monitor communication between your system and the outside world. It can also block or restrict access to certain websites, IP addresses and services. There are two main types of firewall: network firewalls and host-based firewalls.
All traffic coming into and going out of your protected internal network goes through the firewall. This is because the firewall is installed at the point of connection between your system and the Internet (or your protected internal network).
All packets that reach the firewall are examined, based on their destination address and port number, to ensure that they meet the site’s security policies. It’s important to remember that a firewall is not a complete security solution, and that other security measures are needed to prevent various threats to your system such as physical security, host security and user education.
Firewalls are categorized as stateful or stateless. Stateful firewalls examine each packet individually, and try to understand the context of the entire conversation, whereas stateless firewalls look at each packet independently. This approach is not perfect, and has a few weaknesses such as the infamous CAN-SPAM attacks of the 1990s.