Cyber Protection: Your Home Internet Firewall
The greatest wall in history.
Designed to keep out nomadic invaders, the Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure ever built. Dating back over 2,000 years, the wall was also intended to separate Chinese culture and people from the rest of the world.
History.com provides more details:
“Stretching 5,500 miles, the Great Wall is a hodge-podge of materials, made of wood or stone in some places, brick and compacted earth in others. It’s long enough to cross the U.S. and not quite back, and often compared to a dragon or snake winding around mountains, deserts, parks, and plateaus. The wall is 15 to 30 feet thick, and up to 26 feet tall: imposing enough in a physical and psychological sense to keep people in and invaders out.
“Today, the Great Wall is generally recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in human history. In 1987, UNESCO designated the Great Wall a World Heritage site, and a popular claim that emerged in the 20th century holds that it is the only man-made structure that is visible from space.”
Although the wall has deteriorated in many areas and has been modified in some places to allow for road construction and other modern conveniences, it still stretches so far that it could cross the U.S. – almost twice! The ultimate symbol of protection and strength, the Great Wall still stands as an incredible feat of ancient (and modern) architecture.
The greatest wall in technology.
While times and technology have changed since the creation of the Great Wall, the need for protection still exists – especially when it comes to interactions on the internet. Today, we have “firewalls” to offer an element of cyber security in a world filled with over 4 billion people accessing the internet daily.
The firewall: Security for your internet network and devices.
What exactly is a firewall? We think Forcepoint.com offers a good definition:
“A firewall is a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic and permits or blocks data packets based on a set of security rules. Its purpose is to establish a barrier between your internal network and incoming traffic from external sources (such as the internet) in order to block malicious traffic like viruses and hackers.
“Firewalls carefully analyze incoming traffic based on pre-established rules and filter traffic coming from unsecured or suspicious sources to prevent attacks. Firewalls guard traffic at a computer’s entry point, called ports, which is where information is exchanged with external devices.”
Think of it this way: If an IP address represents a house and port numbers are rooms within that house, then only safe and secure people (source addresses) are allowed to come into the house (destination addresses). That’s a simplified analogy but you get the idea. When working properly, firewalls literally provide a secure layer of protection between your internet network and data that is received from the internet.
For most home networks, home internet firewalls protect your network from unsafe cyber connections (including hackers and trojans) that may attempt to gain access to your personal computer files and computer setup.
Different types of firewalls.
Home internet firewalls are usually designed in two configurations. The first is a software firewall that will prevent incoming malicious connections from infiltrating and damaging your computer and internet of things (IOT) devices. Softwall firewalls almost always have antivirus software and may also include spyware, malware and firmware that allows for intrusion detection and intrusion prevention.
Hardware firewalls are a type of internet protection that are sometimes included with your WiFi router or can be connected to your router through ethernet ports. Unlike software firewalls, they can stop malicious connections before they enter your home network, which gives your internet connected devices (like such as laptops, smartphones or tablets) added protection.
Different types of firewall features.
You may already have cyber protection with your WiFi router’s built-in firewall but it never hurts to have backup options just to be sure. Let’s take a closer look at some of the different types of hardware firewalls and the benefits they offer.
Advanced web filtering allows you to select what type of content you will allow on your home internet network and what types of content you want the firewall to block. To protect your children from accessing inappropriate content, you can set parental controls. You can also block content by website address, subject matter or by keywords.
Stateful packet inspection monitor traffic on your home internet network and block packets (data) depending on where the IP address or IPv6 address is coming from, or other criteria that you select. With this firewall, you can inspect incoming and outgoing packets then determine what kinds of data you will allow and disallow through your internet connection.
VPNs (virtual private networks) give you safe access to your data and personal files but keep anyone from outside your VPN server network from doing so. When working properly, you’ll have peace of mind in knowing that your personal data is protected.
Remote access VPNs allow you to access your private network remotely – you can safely log on to your personal network anywhere, anytime. You will also have the same level of network security as when you are accessing your network from within your home. Note that there are other types of VPNs that are used for small business applications, such as protecting companies from data phishing.
The best home firewall brands.
If you do a little research on home firewalls, you will discover that there are a lot of great brands and models to choose from. You can choose from home firewalls such as Ubiquiti, Fortinet, Netgear ProSafe, Cujo, Cisco, Bitdefender Box, Soho SonicWall, USG, Zyxel, and many others.
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