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Firewall is a network security system that monitors and controls traffic based on a set of rules. Firewalls usually sit between a trusted network and an untrusted one (like the Internet). It protects your devices and data from cyberattacks by preventing unauthorized users from entering into your private network.

A firewall can be implemented either as hardware or software depending on the type of your network. Physical firewalls are appliances that are physically plugged into the network, while software-based firewalls run on virtual machines in the cloud. Cloud providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine, and Microsoft Azure offer firewall capabilities in their offerings. These are generally configurable via their web interface.

First-generation firewalls started as packet filters, examining the content of each individual packet transferred across networks. They didn’t look at the bigger picture and lacked context, making them easy targets for hackers. Later, they added stateful inspection to examine the overall flow of packets in a communication. The next generation introduced application layer filtering to scan the payload of each packet and check for malicious code. Today, NGFWs have taken the technology further with multilayer inspection to ensure more robust security.

Regardless of the type of firewall you use, it is important to perform periodic security audits and keep all your devices updated with the latest software. This helps you detect any unauthorized changes in your firewall configuration and avoids the risk of security breaches. Simplilearn’s Cybersecurity bootcamp, CEH v11 – Certified Ethical Hacking course teaches you advanced network packet analysis and penetration testing techniques that help you build your cybersecurity skill-set to combat cyber attacks.