What does a firewall do?

Network cable

With the ever-increasing complexity of digital communications that we all enjoy, there is a corresponding increased range of opportunities for people who are up to no good to attack organisations, companies and individuals by gaining remote access to their computers via the Internet.

The Firewall

Many companies have sprung up in response to these threats to produce a variety of defences against them. One of those defences is the firewall, and virtually all computers have a firewall installed. A firewall is a program installed in a computer that monitors all incoming and outgoing traffic. It has the ability to block any traffic that is recognised as suspicious or dangerous.

The Risks

Any online computer or network without a firewall is at great risk. With no firewall installed, it’s pretty easy to gain access to any computer connected to the Internet and do a whole lot of nasty stuff including gaining access to passwords, deleting important files and capturing personal information.

Working with a Firewall

Firewalls can be configured to alert the user about a source attempting to gain access instead of just blocking it. The firewall might just not like the look of a particular source, but if the user knows it’s a safe and trusted source, he or she can override the firewall and instruct it to allow access.