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A firewall is a software component that is developed to restrict unauthorized inward

network access. It allows outward information flow. It is set up to control traffic flow
between two networks by configured permissions like Allow, Deny, Block, Encrypt etc.
hey are normally employed to avoid illegal access to personal computers or corporate
networks from e!ternal unsafe entities like the Internet.
All the information flowing in and out of the network is scrutinized by the firewall. If
some data do not meet the necessary criterion, it is denied access from entering into the
network. A firewall"s key function is to legalize the stream of traffic among computer
networks of different trust levels. #imilar to physical firewalls installed in buildings
which help limit the spread of fire, the software firewalls also help control network
intrusions. A poorly configured firewall is useless. By default, the $deny% rule&set should
be applied and allow only those applications to communicate for which the permissions
have been e!plicitly set to $Allow%. But, such configurations re'uire e!pertise
understanding. (ack of such e!pertise understanding, many corporate networks keep
$Allow% as their default rule&set.
here are numerous firewall scrutiny
techni'ues. An easy techni'ue is to e!amine
the incoming re'uests to make sure they
arrive from trusted )formerly recognized*
domain name and networks. +any companies
develop firewall software. ,irewall software
features comprises of logging and reporting,
routine alerts at specified points of intrusion,
and a graphical user interface for managing
the firewall software.
Types of Firewalls
he most basic classification of firewalls falls
into -ardware firewalls and #oftware
firewalls. -ardware firewalls are considered to be e!ternal to the system whereas
#oftware firewalls as internal.
Hardware Firewalls
-ardware firewalls are normally situated between your network and the
connecting cable.modem. hese are e!ternal hardware devices usually called as
/etwork firewalls. +any a times, network devices called 01outers2 include
firewall security. -ardware firewalls provide high e!ternal level of defense from
intrusions since they are separate devices and possess their own operating
environment, offering an e!tra line of defense.
3se of #oftware firewalls become less important if a strong -ardware firewall is
implemented. he main fallback for -ardware firewall is they are 'uite e!pensive
as compared to #oftware firewalls.
Software Firewalls
#oftware firewalls are basically software components internal to your computer
system. hey work hand&in&hand with the computer2s operating system.
/owadays, many operating systems are shipped with an inbuilt software firewall.
/umerous firewall packages are available in the market developed by various
he disadvantage to software firewalls is that they will only guard the computer
they are installed on, not the entire network. -ence, it necessitates every computer
to have a software firewall installed on it. hey are comparatively less e!pensive
then the -ardware firewalls.
Working of Firewalls
Different kinds of firewalls functions in different manner. hey scrutinize, e!amine and
control the network traffic in numerous ways depending on their software architecture.
4iven below are types of firewalls which work in different ways.
The Packet Filtering Firewall
5ne type of firewall is the packet filtering firewall. In a packet filtering firewall,
the firewall e!amines five characteristics of a packet6
7. #ource I8 address
9. #ource port
:. Destination I8 address
;. Destination port
<. I8 protocol )=8 or 3D8*
Based upon rules configured into the firewall, the packet will either be allowed
through, re>ected, or dropped. If the firewall re>ects the packet, it sends a message
back to the sender letting him know that the packet was re>ected. If the packet was
dropped, the firewall simply does not respond to the packet. he sender must wait
for the communication to time out. Dropping packets instead of re>ecting them
greatly increases the time re'uired to scan your network. 8acket filtering firewalls
operate on (ayer : of the 5#I model, the /etwork (ayer. 1outers are a very
common form of packet filtering firewall.
An improved form of the packet filtering firewall is a packet filtering firewall
with a state oriented inspection engine. ?ith this enhancement, the firewall
@remembers@ conversations between systems and networks. It is then necessary to
fully e!amine only the first packet of a conversation.
The Application-Proxy Firewall
Another type of firewall is the application&pro!y firewall. In a pro!y based
firewall, every packet is stopped at the pro!y firewall. he packet is then
e!amined and compared to the rules configured into the firewall. If the packet
passes the e!aminations, it is re&created and sent out. Because each packet is
destroyed and re&created, there is a potential that an application&pro!y firewall can
prevent unknown attacks based upon weaknesses in the =8.I8 protocol suite that
would not be prevented by a packet filtering firewall. he drawback is that a
separate application&pro!y must be written for each application type being pro!y&
e!amined. Aou need an -8 pro!y for web traffic, an ,8 pro!y for file
transfers, a 4opher pro!y for 4opher traffic and so on. Application&pro!y
firewalls operate on (ayer B of the 5#I model, the Application (ayer.
The Application-Gateway Firewall
Application&gateway firewalls also operate on (ayer B of the 5#I model, the
Application (ayer. Application&gateway firewalls e!ist for only few network
applications. hey intercept and e!amine all the information traveling from
application to application. A typical application&gateway firewall is a system
where you must telnet to one system in order to telnet again to a system outside of
the network.
The SOCS Firewall
Another type of application&pro!y firewall are #5=C# firewalls. ?here normal
application&pro!y firewalls do not re'uire modifications to network clients,
#5=C# firewalls re'uires specially modified network clients. his means you
have to modify every system on your internal network which needs to
communicate with the e!ternal network. 5n a ?indows or 5#.9 system, this can
be as easy as swapping a few D(("s.