Comparison of 3 Firewall Systems: Network, Application, Host
Effective security measures are more important as cyber attackers become more sophisticated. To ensure that you are able to provide cutting-edge online security, it is important to understand the differences between firewall systems. This is essential for your business’s security standards. These may be required by regulatory compliance, while others are simply good security practices.
What is a Firewall?
A firewall is software that allows or restricts traffic between two points. It works according to predefined rules. Firewalls are used to filter traffic using the TCP/IP protocol suite. There are many types and features available for firewalls, even within this niche. Each business needs will dictate the type of firewall. Some firewalls do only basic traffic filtering, while others can inspect packets at the protocol level. Whatever type of firewall you use, the goal is to allow only the traffic you want and block all other traffic.
How does a Firewall work?
A firewall inspects traffic and matches it to established rules to determine what to do. It is nearly always in line with traffic flow so it can intercept and possibly block that traffic. TCP/IP firewalls are not all created equal. Many firewalls were not stateful in 1990 so it was necessary to create rules to accommodate traffic from both directions.
TCP sessions became more stateful and smarter as firewalls became more sophisticated. TCP sessions were monitored for abnormalities to ensure that the firewall could not be bypassed by guessing into an existing session. This allowed firewall rules to be used to allow the session to start in any direction. Once traffic is trusted, all subsequent packets are allowed to be sent over the connection or session.
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Start training. More premium firewalls were developed that could perform deep packet inspection up to layer 7 of OSI. This means that layer 7 firewalls can understand specific protocols such as HTTP, HTTPS, POP3, FTP, and block traffic based upon anomalies or criteria within these higher-level protocol sessions. This can be useful to reduce exploits and known vulnerabilities. This level of inspection allows us to discuss what an Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IPS/IDS), will address.
What are Host-based Firewalls and How Do They Work?
Host-based firewalls can be defined as firewalls that are installed on the host or endpoint in question. This could be a desktop, server, or laptop. If it is not already installed, it is usually software-based and installed onto your operating system. Windows Firewall is included by default in Windows. Many antivirus software comes with their own firewall. Linux’s iptables and firewalld are two common host-based firewalls. Many times, these firewalls are pre-installed.
Benefits of Host-based firewalls
A host-based firewall has the advantage of being able to catch malicious traffic before it reaches the host. If no other means have caught the malicious traffic it is still possible to catch it. Although rules and definitions are often managed at a higher level than the firewall itself, issues with specific hosts-based firewalls are limited to those that it affects. These changes are not usually pushed out simultaneously and instead rollout over time. This allows for issues to be caught earlier before they affect all hosts.
Disadvantages of Host Based Firewalls
Sometimes managing host-based firewalls can be difficult or tedious, especially if the software doesn’t allow for central management. If the host-based firewall is not configured for central management,