Firewalls and Staying Secure Online

March 12, 2020

Staying safe and secure online is hot topic it at the moment. If you’re someone who doesn’t spend much time on the web, then you may feel that this is something with little relevance to you. However, cybersecurity can be a threat to anybody, regardless of internet usage. To tackle this problem, companies often use what’s known as a firewall. So, what do we mean by firewall? And how do they work to make the internet a safer and more secure place?

1. What is a firewall?

The straightforward definition of a firewall is: A system of network security, with a set of pre-determined security rules, that works to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic, blocking any traffic if necessary. Firewalls are a very well-established system of cybersecurity and are often used as the first line of defence.

Essentially, a firewall’s purpose is to act as a barrier between your secured, trusted network and the various untrusted networks out there on the world wide web. For example, this is utilised on TeamViewer’s Internet of Things system to allow for smooth and safe networking across a large network system. Firewalls can take the form of either software or hardware – more on that later.

what is a firewall

2. Types of firewalls

There are different types of firewalls that are used commonly today. Here are the main ones:

  • Proxy firewall: The earliest type of firewall, this mainly serves as a gateway for specific applications to move securely from one network to another. Proxy firewalls are also able to prevent direct connections from devices outside of the network. However, this can have limitations on the amount of data that can be passed through the network.
  • Stateful inspection firewall: This is the ‘traditional’ kind of firewall. It analyses the state, port and protocol of incoming traffic and blocks it accordingly. Activity is monitored from the opening of the connection until the closing. Administrators can define filtering rules, but the firewall itself also defines some of these based on context from previous connections.
  • Next-generation firewall (NGFW): The evolution of firewall technology has seen companies deploying what are being referred to as NGFW. These go beyond the more basic features of their predecessors to combat sophisticated threats such as advanced malware and application-layer attacks.
businessman and woman discussing in meeting

3. Hardware firewall vs. software firewall:

What’s the difference and which one do I need?

As we touched upon earlier, firewall security comes in both hardware and software forms. It’s important to know the function and limitations of both of these though. Hardware firewalls act as the protection from the outside world, while software firewalls provide internal protection.

So which one should you go for? Well, both! Not having a hardware firewall poses the risk that your network will get hacked from the outside world. Without a software firewall, however, you’re liable to virus-laden emails or files breaking into your network from the inside. Investing in both creates a firewall network, reducing the risk of dangerous malware or viruses compromising your system.

How do I make sure that my firewall is turned on?

Firewalls can be switched on and off in the laptop or PC’s settings so it’s important to double check that yours is always turned on. For a Windows device, this can be done in few easy steps.

  1. Click on the Windows icon on the bottom left of the screen and select the “Control Panel.”
  2. Click on “System and Security” which will open up a new panel.
  3. Select the “Windows Firewall” or “Windows Defender Firewall” depending on your device.
  4. The next window shows the status of the firewall. Look for the green light here which indicates that the firewall is on.
how to turn on windows firewall
Configuring firewall settings
Firewall & Network Protection

Configuring your firewall settings

Configuring and adjusting the settings of your firewall can also be done easily on your Windows device. For instance, there may be occasions when your firewall blocks an application that you know to be safe. Applications can be manually allowed through your device’s security system by adding them to an approved list.

  1. Go to the settings window and select “Update & Security.”
  2. On the left hand side, click on “Windows Security” and then select the “Open Windows Security” button.
  3. On the narrow left hand tab in the next window, select the option for “Firewall & Network Protection.”
  4. Scroll down and you’ll see the option for “allowing an app through the firewall.” In this window, you can also check the status and adjust the settings of your firewall.

If your device has a TeamViewer client installed, then attempts to connect to your TeamViewer VPN alternative won’t be halted by your firewall. You can safely and securely access your files without any hassle when the TeamViewer client is installed, making remote access and support easier than ever.

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