Guide to Computer Firewall Protection

When it comes to computer firewall protection, there are few security measures quite as configurable and steadfast. It’s no wonder that many industries and regulatory bodies implement firewalls as part of their security practices. In this blog we’ll explain the relationships between firewalls and network protection to help you decide whether you might want to add this extra layer to your existing cybersecurity strategy.

What are Firewalls?

It might be useful to think of firewalls as the security working the doors to your network. They’ve been given a list of potential criminals and suspicious behavior to look out for, and won’t let any threats move past them into your exclusive network party. Not exactly a modern invention, firewalls have been around since the late 1980s, and are continually evolving to measure up to modern cyber security threats.

Firewalls monitor, filter and control incoming and outgoing network traffic based on whatever security measures they have been configured to follow. They act as a barrier, protecting secure internal networks from external networks and the cyber threats they might contain. Every time you visit a website you connect to its server, and a firewall makes sure nothing malicious is passed to your computer via this connection.

Many devices come with firewalls built in, and you should be able to configure your device’s firewall through your security settings to make sure it’s doing exactly what you want it to do. It’s worth checking to see what firewall features already exist for your device before investing in further firewall software.

Firewalls can also act as a proxy, similarly to proxy servers and VPNs. This means that when a user requests data from a website the firewall will take the request and forward it on their behalf, again acting as an intermediary between the user and the unfiltered internet.

Why are Firewalls Important to Computer Security?

Here are just a few of the reasons why firewall protection for computers accessing any external networks is so invaluable.

  • Firewalls can filter network traffic by looking at a variety of factors, such as source and destination IP addresses, port numbers, and even specific applications and services. Advanced firewalls allow you to closely monitor this traffic, which can be useful for both individuals and businesses in identifying cyber security threats and monitoring online activity.
  • Because firewalls can act as proxies they add an extra layer of privacy to your internet use and make it harder for attackers to gather any information on your network and users.
  • Firewalls can be configured to suit your specific needs, making them incredibly useful to organizations with unique security requirements.

Types of Firewalls

There are various types of firewall protection available. The main types are:

  • Packet Filtering Firewalls: As the name suggests, these firewalls filter packets of data and make decisions on what to do with it based on pre-set rules and protocols. This is the basic standard for firewalls, and can come as either software or hardware.
  • Stateful Inspection Firewalls: These firewalls can monitor the state of any active connections and the traffic they are experiencing. Decisions on whether or not to block or intercept the traffic are based on contextual information, not just black and white protocols, making them more advanced than packet filtering firewalls.
  • Proxy Firewalls: As previously mentioned, instead of allowing direct connections, proxy firewalls receive and forward requests on behalf of users, hiding the internal network structure and IP addresses.
  • Circuit-Level Gateways: Instead of inspecting data packets, these firewalls determine whether the entire remote system can be trusted and if the connections made with it are valid and legitimate. They need to be used alongside further security measures, as they don’t provide comprehensive protection on their own.
  • Next-Generation Firewalls: Abbreviated to NGFWs, they combine many of the features of other firewalls to offer more extensive security.

The Future of Firewalls

In their first iterations firewalls were very basic, and people quickly learned how to bypass them. Thankfully they have continued to evolve – however, so have cyber disruptions. One prediction for how firewalls will respond to these threats is through convergence, which will see networks and security measures consolidating themselves into a single, more secure and operationally efficient layer.

There is also likely to be a focus on cloud-native firewall solutions, as more and more providers move to cloud-based services. Firewalls need to be able to protect more dynamic virtual environments and integrate with cloud platforms to ensure the level of flexibility that modern internet users need.

Firewall Best Practices

If you’ve decided what firewall and security measures you want to use to protect your network, here are some best practice tips to remember.

  • Stay up to date with the latest security patches and software updates for your firewall to ensure it’s working at full capacity.
  • Use strong authentication measures to guard access to your firewall. If you struggle to remember complex, secure passwords then consider investing in a password management system.
  • Regularly test and audit your firewall configurations to make sure they’re performing optimally and aligning with your needs as a business or individual.
  • Understand what your normal network traffic looks like, so it’s easier for you to recognise any irregularities your firewall might flag.

Protect your Computer

In a time where threats are evolving just as fast as the firewall and network protections that keep them at bay, it’s important to invest in state of the art security measures for your PC. The solutions we offer at iolo are all designed with security, privacy and dependability in mind, but for comprehensive protection we would recommend our System Mechanic Ultimate Defense.

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What is iolo's Whole Home License?

The Whole Home License® is iolo’s licensing policy that allows you to install and keep your software running on all of your compatible devices within the same home. Previously, users were allowed to install and license their iolo software simultaneously on a maximum of three PCs. Under the Whole Home License, a single activation key allows you to use your iolo software on all of your PCs, other than any PCs you use for business purposes. What you need to know about Whole Home Licensing

  • You, your spouse, and your relatives living within the same household may use the same license on any number of PCs that you own which are not used for business.
  • For full legal terms and conditions, see

To install your iolo product on additional PCs:

  1. On the additional computer, download the latest version of your iolo product. Choose from the list of downloads offered here.
  2. Follow the steps in the installation wizard, and enter the same Activation Key that you used to install on your original computer.

You can view the Activation Key on the original computer from within System Mechanic > red menu bar > key icon > Activation Key.