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What is Firewall

A Firewall is a device or software package that provides a secure gateway between two networks. Some network devices such as routers have firewalls built in. There are also 'personal firewalls' that do the same job but only protect one system (such as a laptop or PC).

Firewalls ensure that certain network traffic (e.g. from certain applications) is allowed to pass from one network to another according to a set security policy. Firewalls can prevent network-based attacks that are often targeted against systems.

Firewalls can log connection attempts and traffic and authenticate users trying to make network connections. They can inspect network packets, e-mail viruses and web pages, and track the state of connections to ensure they are behaving as expected. Firewalls also protect internal networks by performing Network Address Translation (NAT). Firewalls fall into three main types: Stateful Inspection, Application Proxy or Packet Filtering.

Crown Copyright. Material taken from the DTI - Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.

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Term created / updated 2007-02-26 11:47:15

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