A firewall is a piece of software or hardware that helps in preventing malicious attacks from entering a network through internet. The name comes from the real-life protection, preventing fire from going beyond a certain point. After the first known internet worm, the Morris Worm, the widespread use of firewalls began. On top of other security measures, firewalls act as an extra barrier. Software and hardware firewall systems work in different ways.
There are a couple of benefits of software firewalls in comparison to hardware ones. Outgoing data traffic can be monitored by it, and it prevents a computer from becoming a bot. It also prevents computer from broadcasting malware. Software firewalls can be customized, and these programs can be adjusted to meet user requirements. However, software firewalls can only protect one computer, as each system can only have its individual licensed product.
On the other hand, the hardware firewalls are basically systems that are not dependent on the computers they protect, filtering the internet with the information passing into a computer. Most internet routers have their in-built firewall. It works by analyzing the data flowing from the web and verifying whether the information is safe or not. Information gathered by the firewall is compared to a set of permissions to determine whether it should be allowed or dropped. Given the advancement of firewalls, they can examine more details.
One of the biggest drawbacks of using hardware firewall is that they can only analyze the incoming data, not the outgoing one. Wrapped data may look like coming from a trusted source but embedded into coding may be a damaging thing. Also, a few attacks may end up in the computer becoming a bot. Since a firewall doesn’t detect outgoing data, it won’t consider the rise in traffic.
Using both a hardware and software firewall is not a bad idea at all. They provide an extra layer of protection to keep your computer safe. Also, these firewalls are meant to be used alongside antivirus software. Firewall can only do its portion of work in blocking a known threat, and any attempt of stealth can easily break through physical barriers. This is particularly true in social engineering attack, where the system is tricked into bringing malicious software. This is where you need an antivirus software as a backup, as it can clean up all malware getting through the security.
The best way to protect your computer against possible threats is to keep all the software up to date, particularly the operating system software. This works well with firewalls to block insensitive attacks. It is also beneficial for computer users to gain knowledge about threats they can avoid, particularly the ones that can go through a firewall. By not opening attachments on e-mails and links in instant messages, you can avoid surprise attacks. Despite all the protection you can have, you need to be alert as well to avert clicking on any suspicious link.