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Network Security 101: How Do Firewalls Work?

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Many individuals and organizations fall victim to cyberattacks every day. It’s estimated that cyber hackers will steal over 30 billion records in 2023. Firewalls have been regarded as the first line of defense against cyberattacks for the past two decades. The blog will discuss how firewalls work and expand on secure networks that can protect organizations from data breaches.

How Firewalls Monitor Your Network Traffic

According to Cisco, a leader in firewall development, a firewall is a network security barrier that monitors ingoing and outgoing traffic and enforces specific security rules. It scans for any data packets that don’t match the provided security information, flags, and discards it as a security threat. Firewalls can be in software or hardware solutions or a combination of both. Many organizations have hundreds of computers connected to a private network where a few or all have access to the internet. Without a robust firewall, a security threat can access one computer, spread through the connected network and compromise the entire organization.

How Firewalls Protect Your Valuable Data


When viruses enter a network system, they can multiply and spread to the devices connected to the network and possibly delete your valuable data. Firewalls feature virus protection to avoid such attacks.

Backdoors and Remote Logins

Backdoors are used by administrators to access a network system remotely. Unfortunately, bugs or skilled hackers can find their way into the system through backdoors and gain access. Firewalls prevent such security risks.

Denial of Service

A hacker can flood a server with session requests which can affect its performance and potentially go offline. Firewalls and other security measures can identify denial of service attacks to prevent the slowdown and shutdown of your server.

Code on a cybercriminal’s laptop

The Types of Firewalls

Packet Filtering

Packet filtering is the most basic form of network traffic monitoring, where a set of security rules create network filters that monitor information packets. The filters allow ‘good’ information packets to pass through and send them to the intended system. The filters flag the bad information ‘packets’ and discard them to prevent any threats.

Proxy Service

A firewall proxy service creates and runs a mirror of the computer on the application layer of the firewall and scans incoming and outgoing information traffic. It acts as an in-between system between the internet and the device to prevent any direct connection between them, enabling it to be a secure firewall.

Stateful Inspection

Stateful inspection is a modern firewall filtration system where it holds states of each connection in its database. It collects and filters a series of packets based on security rules and matches the trusted information rather than scanning each packet.

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