Network security has never been more important given the increasing rate of cybercrime. With headlines about data breaches populating the news cycle, consumers are very wary. The good news is that more options are now available for one to implement so they can stay safe and secure online. For many years, firewalls have been the first line of defense in home network security. They monitor incoming and outgoing data packets –units of communication you send over digital networks –and decide whether to allow or block specific network traffic based on pre-established security rules.
The Uses of Firewall
The way basic online activity works is that data is exchanged between IoT devices and routers and servers in cyberspace. Connecting your device directly to the global network is like leaving your front door open as it gives outsiders free access to your systems.
A firewall functions much like a gate as it creates a barrier between your trusted internal network and the untrusted outside networks. There’s no shortage of unwanted content over the internet as cybercriminals look for more ways to gain access to your network. A firewall prevents the passage of such unwanted content that would otherwise attack your system.
A firewall can also be used to prevent the entry of indecent/immoral content, thus allowing parents to keep their kids safe.
Last, but not least, a strong firewall prevents any third-party from gaining remote access into your network.
Risks That Firewalls Do Not Protect Against
A firewall is quite useful for cybersecurity but it alone cannot keep you fully protected. There are still several areas of risk for your network, including:
Malware such as viruses, worms, spyware, Trojan horses, and ransomware, is oftentimes acquired by clicking on email attachments and links or by simply browsing web pages. A firewall may not be configured to tackle up-to-date viruses and other malware, so it alone won’t protect you from such threats.
If an intruder tricks you into handing over personal or sensitive information, a firewall won’t be able to stop them. There are many types of social engineering attacks to watch out for and they include phishing, pretexting, baiting, tailgating, and more.
Wi-Fi Security Risks
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are more dangerous than you think. You are exposed to different types of risks when you connect to a public network. Again, a firewall does not give you full protection. For example, in packet sniffing, a hacker on the same network is able to record all your traffic including your personal information and accounts. You may also accidentally connect to rouge networks that are established by hackers to steal user information.
Measures for the Aforementioned Risks
If you want maximum cybersecurity, you may want to add other network security tools to your firewall. This includes:
This software is used to protect against a range of malicious software. Malware can remain dormant on infected devices and networks for days or even weeks; therefore, the best anti-malware should be able to scan files upon entry to prevent initial infection and also continuously scan and track files to detect anomalies, resolve malware infections, and fix the damage.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) encrypts the connection from an endpoint to a network. As your traffic and data goes through a private and secure tunnel, they are protected from prying eyes. It is also an effective tool that prevents you from different forms of hacking on unsecured networks.
Data loss prevention software
Humans are usually the weakest link in network security. For this reason, it’s important to implement DLP technologies as they can prevent human actions like downloading files, forwarding messages, or even printing sensitive information in an unsafe manner, which could potentially expose sensitive data outside the network.
Email security software
Numerous cyber threats can be incorporated into or attached to emails to persuade recipients to share sensitive information or even download malware into the targeted network. Email security tools help to identify dangerous emails and block incoming attacks while controlling outbound messages to prevent sharing of sensitive data.
Given the extensive nature of cyber threats, network security should be a priority for any individual or organization that works with networked systems and data. Be sure to implement these and many other effective security solutions to safeguard your networks.