You might have heard about a firewall before but do you know what is it? in this post, we are going to explain everything about the firewall.
What is a firewall?
There are different ways of securing your machines (PC or server) and having a firewall is definitely an important one. A firewall simply works as a border guard, it controls all of the outgoing and incoming data of a system or a network. So, It puts a barrier between two networks (network-based) or between the network and your machine (host-based).
Host-based and Network-based firewalls
We can categorize firewalls as host-based and network-based ones.
- Host-based: It is a software that is installed on each machine and protects the incoming and outgoing traffic of it. With this, you can say what is allowed to go through your ports and what is not. For example, you can: restrict a program from sending from your machine, restrict some IP addresses from having access to your machine, block suspicious data from entering or etc.
- Network-based: It controls the traffic that comes and goes between a secured LAN (Local Area Network) and the Internet. This means that it can filter the traffic and protect the LAN from attacks or harmful data. This doesn’t understand anything about the inside of the machines and only protects a network.
It is obvious now that having both of these means having more security. For example, if your machines are all in one network, you want that network to be secured and also you want each machine to be secured.
Hardware or Software firewalls
There is also another way of categorizing firewalls. A firewall can be hardware or software.
- Hardware: It is a physical device that controls the incoming and outgoing traffic for a network.
- Software: obviously it is a software and you should install it on an operating system. So as mentioned earlier, a host-based firewall is a software.
We should also mention that network-based firewalls can be both hardware or software. You can have hardware that has been specially built to be a firewall or you can have a device and install firewall software on it. Choosing one of them is completely up to your preferences and usage. The hardware one might be able to work better than basic devices with installed software or you can also have a strong device (that has a couple of network cards) with the software to work even better than the hardware type but You should consider that the second option might not be economical.
Software Firewall vs. Anti-virus
We should also shortly mention that firewalls and antiviruses are two completely different things. A firewall is only in charge of securing anything that is coming into or going out of a machine and doesn’t check the files or anything that is inside of the machine, however, antivirus is in charge of securing the files and data that are inside of a machine. So if a harmful file gets through and gets inside of a machine, it is antivirus’s responsibility to detect it and take care of it.
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