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What is the Function of a Firewall?

Fortinet Network Security

A firewall is a computer security system that prevents unauthorised access to or from a computer network. Firewalls are widely use to prohibit non-internet users from engaging with private networks or intranets. (Fortinet Network Firewall)


A firewall is a device that sits between a network or computer and another network, such as the internet. It manages the network traffic that enters and exits the computer or network. If your computer or network does not have a firewall, almost any data can leave, and virtually any human or software can enter.



Different Types of Firewalls


What is the purpose of a firewall? The solution is frequently dependent on the location and what it is designed to protect. There are various types of firewalls, all of which aim to safeguard your computer or network. What happens if you don’t have a firewall relies on the attack surface it’s supposing to protect you from.


If your computer does not have a firewall, for example, viruses, malware, and hackers can gain full access to your computer and even take control of it. In other circumstances, even if your computer doesn’t have a firewall, you’ll be protected as long as the network it’s linked to is secure.


The following are some of the different types of firewalls and their functions:


In the transport protocol layer, the packet layer examines traffic. Applications can communicate with each other at the transport protocol layer utilising two protocols: Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP) (UDP). At this layer, the firewall scans data packets for malicious code that could infect your network or device. The firewall discards data packets that are flagged as possible threats.


At the circuit level, a firewall is positioned between the transport layer and the application layer of the TCP/IP stack. As a result, they operate at the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model’s session layer. The TCP model requires a handshake before data can be sent between cyber entities. A circuit level firewall examines the data flowing during the handshake. The data packets’ contents can notify a firewall to potentially malicious material, which the firewall can then delete before infecting another computer or system.


Before permitting data to come through, an application layer firewall ensures that only valid data exists at the application level. This is performed by a set of application-specific policies that allow or disallow communications made to or sent from the application.


Proxy server: A proxy server records and analyses every data entering and exiting a network. Between your device and the internet, a proxy server serves as a separate computer. Your computer connects to it using its own IP address. Information is filtered as it enters and exits the proxy server, and malicious data is caught and destroyed.


Software firewalls are the most popular type of software firewall found on most PCs. It works by analysing data packets sent and received by your device. The data packets are comparing to a threat signature database. A data packet is rejecting if it matches a threat profile.



What Can’t a Firewall Do?



A firewall does not guarantee that you are safe from all dangers. There are still various threats that could harm your network. One of the most common threats is malware. Ransomware, viruses, worms, spyware, adware, pharming, phishing, and Trojan horses are all examples of malware that may infect and control your computer.


Because these dangers frequently infiltrate your system via email, a firewall cannot always prevent you from them. When you click a link in the email, malicious software is installed on your computer, infecting it and potentially spreading throughout your network. Worms, Trojan horses, and viruses can all move throughout your network and infect several computers.


Types of virus


Trojans may disguise themselves as an innocent application, but once you click on it, your system is infecting. A worm reproduces on its own, spreading to other parts of your computer and posing a serious threat. A virus, on the other hand, targets specific regions of your computer, causing crashes, insufficient memory, destroyed data and programmes, and other issues. You may be vulnerable if you have a firewall in front of your wide-area network (WAN), yet a machine that has accessed your WAN has one of these dangers.



Unauthorized access to your computer is also not preventing by firewalls. If your computer has a password, it’s critical that you keep it secret. A hardware authentication device, such as a token, offers a better defence. To gain access to your computer, a user would require the token. If a malicious individual gains access to your device, they can use it anyway they want.



If a firewall separates your computer from the rest of the network, the attacker may not be able to infect others using your computer. A firewall can partition a network in this way. Notably, unauthorised users can attack your sector and all devices within it.



A firewall will not protect devices from theft or data loss. A hacker, for example, might be able to connect a USB device to your computer and track your keystrokes as you log in. This type of intrusion is outside the scope of a firewall. A firewall cannot prevent a thief from gaining access to your computer. Authentication using login credentials or multi-factor (MFA).



How Can Fortinet Assist?


A next-generation firewall (NGFW), such as FortiGate, filters network traffic to safeguard your firm from external and internal threats. Packet filtering, Internet Protocol security (IPsec), secure sockets layer virtual private network (SSL VPN) support, and network monitoring are all features of FortiGate. Secure transmission of sensitive information such as login credentials, Social Security numbers, and credit card details is possible with SSL. A VPN encrypts your data and offers you with a secure communication tunnel. IPsec encrypts data packets as well. Because FortiGate supports these functionalities, you can use it as a firewall while benefiting from the additional security.


As an NGFW, FortiGate inspects data flowing into and out of your network more thoroughly. These inspections enable it to detect malware, targeted assaults, and other types of threats and prevent them from accessing your network. FortiGate also does SSL inspection, which allows it to intercept, decrypt, and scan traffic. FortiGate checks for threats during the scan. Encrypted malware can infiltrate your network without SSL inspection.


FortiGate includes paths for future updates to ensure that your network is appropriately protect not only now but in the future. This allows it to stop novel threats as they emerge on the danger landscape. Moreover, the FortiGate intrusion prevention system (IPS) protects against known and unknown threats, including zero-day threats. FortiGate can play an important role in your threat detection and response system.


Final thoughts:


A firewall is a critical component of your computer’s security system, but it is not foolproof. There are many ways that a hacker can gain access to your computer, and a firewall will not stop all of them. However, a firewall can protect your network from many threats, and it is an important part of your overall security strategy.



I hope I’ve shown you the concept how does firewall works and I hope you can share this article to your friends if you find it useful for them.

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Learn more: Fortinet Network Firewall 

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