The internet is not a safe place. There are people out there who try to make a living out of scamming or stealing data from people. If you have data uploaded on the internet or even saved to your devices, you are at risk of being a victim of hackers or scammers.
The threat gets more serious if hackers try to penetrate business networks to obtain important details, to put their website down, or to spread malware.
A way to repel hackers from accessing your devices is securing your network. The first step in securing your network is by setting up a firewall. However, setting up a firewall can be pricey and time consuming. But it can be costlier if hackers successfully gained access to important and confidential business and personal files. Or worse, they can destroy your entire network.
So, to lessen the probability of this happening to you, using firewalls is a safe bet. Read on to know more.
“Why do I need a firewall for network security?”
Network security has now become more important because of the popularity of smart appliances and smart homes. Majority of US households now own at least one smart appliance. Smart homes have almost all appliances controlled over the internet – and that’s where the threat begins.
Undeniably, smart appliances make life easier; but along with the convenience that they provide, smart devices also bring considerable security risks to your household. Security cameras might get hacked, providing intruders insight to your property and to your movements in real time. While smart speakers could be listening to your conversation while sending the recording somewhere else.
These smart appliances have little to no security measures at all. If they are connected on the same network as your computer, smartphone, and other smart devices, these appliances will provide a backdoor to intruders to your sensitive information.
What is a firewall?
A firewall is designed to monitor and filter inbound and outbound web traffic. It follows a set of rules (filters) defined by the user. If a network packet does not meet the criteria, it will not be allowed to enter or exit the network. Among the criteria that you can set are IP destination/source addresses, MAC addresses, ports, specific applications, and more – depending on the firewall’s capability.
Furthermore, modern firewalls maintain databases of known threats. They are also capable of monitoring the traffic condition and detecting suspicious activities. Firewalls are updated regularly as well to keep their databases prepared for new threats.
Thanks to its filters, a firewall can protect your home network from unauthorized remote access. Aside from that, although firewalls are usually associated with protection from external threats, they can also restrict outbound traffic from your network. This way, a firewall could allow you to prevent a specific app from accessing the internet; which could be useful in parental control.
Security Benefits of Software and Hardware Firewalls
There are two types of firewalls: software and hardware.
Also called host-based firewall, a software firewall is directly installed to a computer or a mobile device. So, even if a hardware firewall fails, a software firewall can still protect your computer. Aside from that, a software firewall can protect healthy devices from infected ones in the same network.
As for a hardware firewall, it is a standalone device that is intended to be installed between computers in your network and the internet. It protects your entire home network (not only computers but also smart appliances) from external attacks.
If you have a router and a computer, you most likely have both a software and hardware firewall.
Modern routers typically have some basic firewall functionality, while computer operating systems such as macOS, Windows, and Linux include a firewall out of the box (though in macOS and Linux, you have to manually turn the firewall on).
Aside from firewalls, routers also implement NAT (Network Address Translation). Thanks to this method, the IP addresses of all devices in your home network are masqueraded by your router.
All outbound packets from your network appear as if they were sent from the router itself rather than from a computer or smart device. Aside from that, your devices may not be accessed from outside, even if a hacker knew your IP address.
Although routers serve as hardware firewalls, and your Windows or Apple devices have preinstalled firewall software, the protection that they can provide is not absolute. And it may not be enough security to protect your home or office against security threats.
“If my router has a built-in firewall, why do I still need another firewall?
For extra security, you should consider enhancing your network security with a standalone hardware firewall.
While your computer has a firewall pre-installed, your phone and other smart appliances might not have one. If so, a hardware firewall installed is the only way to secure all other devices connected to your network.
“Does installing a firewall guarantee my network’s security?”
A firewall can significantly improve home security. But with firewall alone, it may not provide comprehensive protection.
Aside from a firewall, you should have a reliable anti-virus software on your computer. An anti-virus would protect you from threats (malware) that made it through the firewall.
If your online accounts contain weak, similar, and predictable passwords, a powerful firewall will not be able to stop people from guessing your passwords. Moreover, if you neglect to update the software of your smart devices and computers, you will be leaving software bugs and backdoors for hackers.
Additionally, hackers progressively devise newer ways of penetrating networks. For this reason, NO ONE is absolutely safe from online threats.
Among the risks that we accept when using internet is the risk of exposing ourselves and our data to potential hackers. Quite frankly, using the internet gives you vulnerability. However, who could survive today without an internet connection? Almost all businesses and jobs require internet use.
With your data vulnerability in mind, the primary way to protect your network is being knowledgeable about browsing the internet safely: Restrict your office computers from having access to other sites and software other than those used on your business.
As for personal use, never store details of your sensitive information such as IDs, passports, bank accounts, and passwords on your phone or email because these are the primary targets of hackers.
A network is only as secure as its most vulnerable component. With that in mind, to keep your data secure and your property safe, make sure that your overall network security is strong enough to repel malicious software and hackers. Arm your network with a hardware firewall, and all your devices with a software firewall.
Are you worried about the security of your business network?
Let CyberLife do a Cyber Security Audit of your network to make sure that your company and clients’ data are safe from being breached.
Call us at 424.349.3848 so we can start protecting your business.