What is a Firewall?
Firewalls are hardware and/or software systems which protect end users from malicious traffic on the Internet. When data is sent over the Internet, it comes packaged with information about where it is coming from and where it is supposed to go, as well as an indication as to what application the data is for. Firewalls analyze the data, and then throw it out if it looks malicious or forward it to the network if it looks benign. For example, if the firewall sees a stream of data in which a random computer on the Internet is trying to connect to a computer inside of your network, it will discard the data and may also warn you about the attempted connection. However, if it sees that you are trying to initiate a connection to a website, it will forward that data along to the router where it will eventually reach the targeted website.
Why do I need one?
Firewalls generally do not allow connections inside the network that are initiated from outside the network unless you give them permission. This is why they are so crucial to safe web surfing. Without firewalls, any applications you have running on your computer that accepts network connections could be connected to by anyone on the Internet. If an attacker is able to make connections to any one of your applications, he or she could potentially compromise your computer if there exists a security vulnerability in the application. Firewalls are an absolutely essential line of defense for your computer on the Internet.
In summary, firewalls are used to protect your computer while you are connected to the Internet. They are essential for preventing intrusions into your private network and the PCs connected to it. If you are connected to the Internet, it is highly recommended that you position your computer behind a firewall to avoid it being compromised by an attacker.
For more information regarding firewalls or any other networking/technology needs, you can reach out to any of our techs at SandStorm IT at 901-475-0275.