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The Role Played by a Firewall in Network Security

By 02/11/2016 No Comments

FirewallOne of the many tasks of a system administrator is the installation and setting up of firewalls in an organization. A firewall is a vital component of a firm’s network and it plays an extremely important part in securing and protecting it; network security refers to methods of addressing external and internal threats to a company’s network system. Firewalls can help secure a network from both internal and external dangers.

Everyone has heard of the word ‘router’; it is a device that essentially connects or acts as a bridge between two or more different networks. When an organization’s internal network is connected to the internet, it is usually assumed that the network is vulnerable to threats from the external network which is the internet in this case.

A firewall is a device that is installed between the internal network and the external network (internet) to filter all incoming and outgoing traffic or data. This is also known as ‘packet filtering’. A system administrator programs certain rules in a firewall which are used to evaluate incoming and outgoing data. A firewall performs two major roles:

  • Provides defense against external threats by refusing unauthorized connections to the router from potential attackers such as hackers.

  • It also protects the network infrastructure from within. In other words, it blocks outgoing connections from the router. It mitigates the spread of viruses, keyloggers, or malware that have sneaked past the router and on the network. Such malicious software might transmit confidential data back to the hacker such as passwords. Only a firewall is able to prevent them from doing so by inhibiting their connection.

Therefore, it is important that a firewall is installed and managed by a professional system administrator to provide the maximum amount of protection to your company’s network infrastructure. When done correctly, the advantages of using firewalls cannot be ignored. Their main benefits are:

  • Policing: A firewall acts as a security guard that monitors or polices the outgoing and incoming traffic from/to your network. It analyzes the information being sent or received and either allows it or blocks it, depending upon the rules established within the firewall.

  • Blocks Malicious Programs: Firewalls have the ability to block potential malware, viruses, and Trojan horses from infecting your network system. Trojan horses are the most dangerous because they attach themselves to files and when you transmit these files, they do further damage to other computer systems. Plus, they reveal your confidential information to web servers being hosted by potential hackers.

  • No More Hackers:A firewall can stop a hacker dead in their tracks. Hackers can cause loss of data and damage to an organization’s computer systems, while they might even use these systems to carry out illegal activities.

Farewell to keyloggers:

One of the most harmful programs ever written, a keylogger tracks your key strokes and transmits the information back to cybercriminals. In this way, they might gain access to your private accounts such as bank accounts. With a firewall in place, keyloggers will have no chance of being lodged into your computer systems as they will be blocked in the first place during an incoming connection to the router.