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Firewall is a cybersecurity solution that monitors the incoming and outgoing network traffic and, based on the set of rules it has, either accepts, rejects or drops the specific packets. It creates a barrier between secured internal networks and untrusted outside ones, such as the Internet.

Unlike packet-based firewalls, which inspect each data packet individually, stateful firewalls keep track of active connections and use the context of existing connections to decide whether to accept or deny data packets. This allows them to operate at the network and transport layers of the OSI model. It also helps them vet incoming data more quickly since they don’t need to examine each individual packet, which saves on processing power.

In addition to blocking unauthorized traffic, the firewall can also block commands sent from infected computers (sometimes called botnets) that are used to attack other devices on the network. This capability, known as threat intelligence, is the core of many modern firewalls.

Most next generation firewalls (NGFW) combine multiple features such as application-level filtering, integrated intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDS/IPS), and content filtering to protect against the full range of threats. These types of multi-layered defenses protect the integrity of business applications and information.

Firewalls can also provide a valuable source of cybersecurity intelligence by logging and auditing activities on the network, providing useful information to improve security policies. This is important because it provides insight into the threat landscape businesses are facing.