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Firewall is a security system that protects network devices and personal data from cyber threats by monitoring and controlling incoming and outgoing data based on rules set by the firewall administrator. In addition, firewalls have logging functions to monitor and assess security events.

New cybersecurity threats are constantly emerging, exposing large corporations and individuals alike. As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, firewalls are an essential first line of defense to protect from these attacks. Firewalls guard against potential malware infiltration by continuously scanning your network traffic based on rules defined by you and the firewall administrator.

These rules may include blocking access to websites known to contain malicious content, identifying specific applications or protocols being misused and denying access to these apps, and more. This continuous monitoring provides a much wider security net than simply looking at a website’s URL, so you can rest assured that your devices and private information are protected.

There are a few different types of firewalls, and each serves its own purpose. For example, packet filtering firewalls are the oldest and most basic firewall type, operating at the OSI network layer (layer 3). These firewalls examine individual data packets — smaller chunks of information that make up bigger files — and block those that don’t match certain criteria. This includes analyzing IP addresses, ports and packet protocols to prevent two networks from connecting directly without the firewall’s approval.

Another common firewall type is the stateful inspection firewall. This type of firewall operates at the OSI network layer (layer 4). It monitors and analyzes all current connections to a specific destination network. It then compares the information in each new data packet to its list of existing connections and allows those that meet established criteria to continue. This firewall type also inspects the data packets themselves to identify malicious content such as SQL injections and XSS vulnerabilities.