What is the best way to keep your network safe? Your first instinct might be to lock down every last network port and prevent all access from the outside world, but this kind of hardened approach can make it more difficult to connect devices to your networks, like phones and printers, or share files with your team members. A better approach is to use a firewall, which can monitor incoming and outgoing traffic and alert you when something out of the ordinary occurs. If you’re ready to keep your network safe with a firewall, follow these tips to get started right away!
A Brief History of Firewalls
A firewall is, as its name suggests, a barrier that prevents data from entering or leaving your network without your knowledge. Most commonly associated with computers and connected networks, firewalls are used to protect valuable information like credit card numbers and personal details when you’re using public networks (e.g., in an airport).
More recently, they’ve become more commonplace on home networks because they help safeguard your private data from nefarious activities like hacking. But how exactly do firewalls work? What kind of features should you look for when choosing one? And are there any alternative ways to protect your private information? Learn about these questions and more by reading our guide to network firewalls below.
What Are Some Types of Firewalls?
There are three main types of firewalls: hardware, software, and hybrid. Hardware firewalls, or routers, are network devices that create an impenetrable barrier between your network and anything else on the Internet. Software firewalls are installed on computers and can be set to allow or deny access to specific programs.
These two types of firewalls may sound similar, but they actually serve different purposes; it’s important to know what each one does before implementing it on your network.
Finally, there are hybrid firewalls that act as both hardware and software simultaneously by using components of both router and software firewall technology in one device.
Most businesses use some combination of all three kinds to maximize security without sacrificing usability or accessibility. But which kind should you choose?
How to use a Firewall
A firewall is a program or group of programs that prevent users from accessing certain parts of your computer. Without one, you could be at risk for hacking and identity theft. A good firewall acts as a security gatekeeper for all network traffic.
You can use it to control access to and from your computer, determine what type of incoming traffic is allowed, and monitor outgoing traffic for suspicious patterns of activity. While there are many types of firewalls available today, most firewalls work in similar ways: they accept or deny network packets based on pre-defined rules (called policies) that have been configured into them by administrators. It’s important to understand how your firewall works before configuring any policies because improper configurations can leave your network vulnerable to attacks.
Benefits of Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Setting up a network is straightforward and there are many available routes. However, in order to ensure that your network is secure, it’s important to set up additional layers of security. One such layer is known as a firewall; these firewalls can block incoming attacks from hackers on public networks and warn you of any suspicious activity on your network.
Before investing in a firewall for your business, however, be sure that it’s compatible with your router. It may also be important to consider whether or not you need additional features—such as parental controls or backup/restore—that some firewalls offer. Many antivirus software programs include basic firewalls which may suffice if your small business only utilizes Wi-Fi and has few computers connected to it.
What Else Can I Do to Stay Safe Online?
Well, besides getting a firewall, what else can you do to stay safe online? The best way to protect yourself online is by knowing how hackers work. Hackers tend to come in two varieties—black hats and white hats—so it’s important that you know what each of them wants from you.
Also, make sure your systems are up-to-date on all patches and updates. Finally, consider using an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate for any web services that have personal information such as your address, date of birth, or credit card information; an SSL certificate encrypts data between your web server and end-users so if a hacker manages to intercept it he or she will only get garbled code.
Chrome and Firewall
Google Chrome has built-in firewall technology. Go to Settings, then Show advanced settings…, then tick Enabled (recommended) and change Detect dangerous downloads: Not listed in malicious sites and safe files to Warn. Chrome will also alert you if there is a web page trying to install software on your computer.
To control Chrome’s firewall, open Google Chrome and type chrome://flags into your address bar; go through each flag listed, disabling ones that are problematic. In addition to using your browser’s built-in tools, you can also download an independent program like Avast or ZoneAlarm if you feel uncomfortable relying solely on your browser for protection.
How to Allow Chrome to access Network in your Firewall?
Network firewalls are special programs that monitor your computer for incoming and outgoing data. The firewall we’re concerned with is called Windows Defender, which comes standard on Windows 10. If you don’t have Windows Defender, consider installing it from Microsoft. If you can’t or won’t install it, any good third-party firewall will do.
Other popular options include Little Snitch and Little Flocker (for Macs), Comodo (Windows), Norton Security Premium (Mac and PC), ZoneAlarm Pro Antivirus + Firewall (PC), PC Tools Firewall Plus (PC), ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Security Suite (PC) and FortiClient Security Suite (Mac).
How to turn off a Firewall
Let’s say you know how to turn on a firewall, but aren’t sure about how to turn it off. (Who knows what some of those crazy kids are up to?) Here’s what you need to do: Click Start > Control Panel > System and Security, then click Windows Firewall.
In the left pane, click Turn Windows Firewall On or off. Under don’t allow exceptions, select Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended). Click OK and your firewall will be turned off. This procedure works for all versions of Microsoft Windows.
What does a Firewall Do?
The firewall monitors network traffic and only allows information to pass between your network and an external network if that information is appropriate. In order to do so, it applies rules to determine whether information should be allowed through.
These rules are typically based on source and destination IP addresses, protocols, ports, or any combination of these things. It can sometimes also be based on content (e.g., allowing outgoing HTTP requests but blocking all incoming ones).
The system administrator defines what type of access is allowed or denied under specific circumstances (called policies) and typically applies those policies globally across users or groups of users within an organization, where they can override permissions granted at a lower level by their own administrators.