Cyber Cops

Firewalls in Network Security

“To create a safe environment, we need to create boundaries” 

Technology has evolved rapidly in the last two decades. This has been the biggest boom ever in human history. However, with increasing technology, crimes related to cyber security have also increased. Individuals as well as organizations need to secure their private data and information. This becomes a very difficult task when everyone has access to technology and every single person is using it according to their needs.  

So, the question arises, how to keep yourself and your organization protected? Firewall security can be one solution to your safety requirements. A firewall is a device or software that can help safeguard your network and the connected devices from any outsider. It monitors incoming and outgoing traffic to determine the risks associated with them. A firewall then decides whether to let a specific traffic pass or block it. It establishes a barrier between secured internal networks and unsecured or untrusted external networks.  

How does a Firewall Work? 

The job of a firewall is to filter the network traffic within a private network. There is a fixed set of rules that is used by the firewall to determine whether traffic should be allowed or restricted. One can imagine it as a gatekeeper that is protecting the entry points of a system. It will allow only trusted sources or IP addresses into your network.  

A firewall will welcome only those traffic that are configured to accept. It can distinguish between good and malicious traffic depending on which decision to allow or block the traffic is made.  This is done based on the pre-established security rules.  

The rules followed by a firewall are based on various aspects that are indicated by the packet data like source, content, destination, and so on.  They can block the traffic coming from suspicious sources to prevent any cyberattack.  

In short, a firewall can carry out quick assessments to detect malware or any other suspicious activities, hence protecting your system.  

Types of Firewalls 

At different levels, there are different types of firewalls that read data packets. Firewalls are categorized on the basis of their traffic filtering methods, structure, and functionality. Let's learn what the different types of firewalls are. 

Packet Filtering 

A packet-filtering firewall controls the data flow to and from a network. The network firewall determines the risks associated with packets by checking the source address, the destination address, the application protocols used to transfer the data, and so on.  

According to its assessment, the firewall decides whether to allow or restrict a particular data transfer.  

Proxy Service Firewall 

Proxy Service Firewall is an application layer firewall that protects your network by filtering the messages at the application layer. A proxy firewall acts as a gateway from one network to another for specific applications.  

Stateful Inspection Firewall 

This kind of Firewall protection monitors and keeps track of the state of active network connections, simultaneously looking for potential traffic and data risks.  

It monitors all the activity from the opening of a connection and stops only after the connection is closed. The filtering decisions are made based on administrator-defined rules as well as the context. 

The context here refers to the information from previous connections and packets that belong to the same connection.  

Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) 

With evolving technology, firewalls have evolved beyond simple packet filtering and stateful inspections. Many organizations have deployed next-generation firewalls that block modern threats such as advanced malware and application-layer attacks. Some examples of Next-Generation Firewall are the Barracuda Firewall and FortiGate firewall.  

  • A next-generation firewall includes  
  • Intelligence-based access control with stateful inspection 
  • Integrated intrusion prevention system 
  • Application awareness and control to determine and block risky apps 
  • Upgrade paths to include future information feeds 
  • Techniques to address evolving security threats 
  • URL filtering based on geolocation and reputation 

These capabilities are becoming a standard for many organizations, however, NGFWs are not used to their full potential right now. 

Threat-Focused NGFW 

These firewalls have all the features of a traditional Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW). In addition to these features, it also provides advanced threat detection and remediation that is helpful for organizations in many aspects. With a threat focused NGFW, organizations can 

  • Determine which assets are vulnerable to risks with complete context awareness  
  • React quickly to attacks with intelligent security automation which toughens your defenses automatically. 
  • Improve the detection of evasive or suspicious activities with network endpoint event correlation.  
  • It helps in decreasing the time from detection to clean up with retrospective security continuously monitoring for suspicious activities and behavior even after initial inspection. 
  • Ease administrative processes and reduce complexity with consolidated policies 

Unified Threat Management (UTM) Firewall 

A UTM device integrates the capabilities of a stateful inspection firewall, intrusion prevention, and antivirus in a loosely linked manner. It includes additional services and cloud management in many cases.  

This firewall is designed to be simple and easy to use.  

Virtual Firewall 

A virtual firewall is like a tool that is deployed on a private or public cloud. It helps in monitoring and securing traffic across physical and virtual networks.  

A virtual firewall is a key component in software-defined networks (SDN).  

Cloud Native Firewall 

Cloud-native firewalls are the modern way to secure applications and workload infrastructure at scale. It has automated scaling features that help networking operations and security operations teams to run at agile speed. 

There are various advantages of Cloud Native Firewall such as: 

  • Agile and elastic security 
  • Multi-tenant capability 
  • Smart load balancing 

Now that we have learned so much about firewalls, let’s see why we need firewalls.  

Why do We Need a Firewall? 

The job of a firewall is to block all types of malware and application-layer attacks. When it is integrated with an intrusion system, firewalls can quickly identify and combat the attacks across the whole network.  

Firewalls work on a pre-defined set of rules that are designed to protect your network and carry out quick assessments. Any suspicious or invasive activity such as malware is detected and stopped. When you use a firewall for your security infrastructure, you set up your network with specific policies that decide whether to block or allow any incoming or outgoing traffic.  

Let's take a look at some of the key features of a firewall 

  • A firewall can be used in corporate as well as consumer settings. 
  • Firewall can encompass a security information and event management strategy (SIEM) into cybersecurity devices that concern modern organizations. 
  • It can perform actions such as logging and audit functions by identifying patterns 
  • It can also improve the rules by updating them to defend against immediate threats.  
  • A firewall can be used for a home network, digital subscriber line (DSL), or a cable modem that has a static IP address.  

These are just some of the features of firewalls. The list keeps going on and will continue to grow as new updates keep rolling in.   

Advantages of Using a Firewall 

Now that we have learned the need for a firewall, let's dive into the advantages of using a firewall.  

  • A firewall plays an important role in the security management of organizations. 
  • It provides advanced security from vulnerable services 
  • A firewall prevents unauthorized access to systems that are connected to the internet.  
  • Firewalls provide a faster response time and can handle more traffic loads. 
  • It safeguards your network from phishing attacks.  

How to Use Firewall Protection? 

After learning so much about firewalls, there must be a question at the back of your mind about how one can use a firewall effectively. Here are some tips to help you implement firewall security efficiently.  

  • Keep your firewall up to date always. Firmware patches can keep your firewall updated and protect you from newly discovered vulnerabilities. 
  • Use the latest antivirus protection: In addition to firewalls, antiviruses can also be used to protect your system from viruses and other threats.  
  • Organizations should limit their inbound and outbound connections to a strict list of trusted IP addresses.  
  • You should have data backups for network hosts and other critical systems. This will help you avoid data loss and productivity in case of any unexpected disaster.  

How can Cyber Cops Help? 

If maintaining proper safety for your organization feels like a hassle to you, there is always the option to outsource your security. You can contact Cyber Cops anytime and tell us your requirements. We believe that every organization is different, and every organization needs a tailored approach to security.  

At Cyber-Cops we have a team of dedicated professionals who are trained to develop organization-specific safety mechanisms. We will make sure that your enterprise is secure and safe from any form of cyber-attack. We will also guide you about how you can take steps on individual levels to make the systems more secure.  

As the name ‘Cyber Cops’ suggests, we are your protectors in the digital world. In the digital realm, your safety is our responsibility.  

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