You must have heard of firewalls, but why do you need them? And why do you need them in your home? Here we’ll dive deep into the answers to these questions, letting you know why everyone should have a firewall installed in their home.
If you use a computer or have undergone several IT classes, you must have heard of the term ‘firewall’, but it’s possible you don’t understand what it means or why you need it. Don’t worry; you’re not alone — the experts don’t usually give these IT concepts basic meanings we can understand easily, but that’s why we’re here, to provide you with a basic description of what a firewall is and why you should have it in your home.
Think of a building on fire, but imagine it’s a building with firewalls built into its structure to prevent the spread of fire inside the building. Got it? That’s the essence of a digital firewall. When we talk of a digital firewall, we’re looking at a barrier or shield designed to protect your device (a PC, phone, or tablet, to a media server, TV, and many other devices besides) from data-based malware dangers on the internet.
You can find these malware dangers in the recurrent data exchange between your devices, servers, and routers in cyberspace. Without the necessary protection, there could be instances where your data gets freely exchanged with a router belonging to a cybercriminal, who would then be able to steal your sensitive information quickly and hold it for a ransom that you’ll have to pay to get it back. Having a firewall prevents this from happening.
When you have a firewall, you have a mechanism that examines the data (sent in packets) exchanged between your device and cyber routers to ensure that they’re safe for you by ensuring the packets meet up with the rules you must have set up.
You can find firewalls in data transfer hubs where they check for malicious activities, and even in your home network, as most of our devices have a basic built-in firewall in their operating systems. However, better control options and more reliable results are gained from using third-party firewall applications. These are available as standalone tools or as part of a security suite.
Firewalls stop people from accessing your network from the outside without your permission. If a firewall detects something potentially malicious during data exchange between your device and a cyber router, it blocks the connection and protects your device from the source, ensuring remote intruders can’t access your information.
Now that you have an idea of what a firewall is and what it does, here are reasons why you should ensure you have one installed in your home:
Unsafe Internet use practices
The internet’s been a world-changing phenomenon since it first came about in the 80s, but you would agree that as much as there have been upsides to the internet’s advent, there have been downsides. These downsides usually manifest in data losses we’re prone to experiencing because, more often than not, we can be careless while using the internet.
For instance, many of us click on unknown links or attachments, log on to unknown websites, give out personal information, and have weak passwords for online accounts we operate on the internet. These unsafe internet use practices put us at risk every day, sometimes by our hands or those of others, like a minor we’re supposed to supervise who doesn’t know about these risks yet.
So if you use the internet at home, installing a firewall is in your best interest. A firewall protects you against evolving cyber threats and helps you protect your network and the personal information stored on your computer.
Home network security
Your home network security system is only as efficient as the least protected device in your home. So, in ensuring that your home network security is adequate, you also have a responsibility to make sure your devices are secure. You get to ensure this security for your devices through firewalls.
A Firewall represents your first line of defense in home network security, especially when you’re not around to manually ensure your data is protected.
Through a firewall installed in your home, you can ensure the security of your home network and that of your internet-enabled devices — including mobile devices with the latest operating system, web browsers, and security software.
Another consideration? As part of ensuring your home network security, you get to secure your wireless router when you have a firewall installed in your home. The process of securing your wireless router typically involves changing the name of your router from the default ID and password it came with from the manufacturer, reviewing your security options, and setting up a guest network for visitors to your home.
Safe online gaming
This is for the heavy gamers and gaming streamers who play many online games at home for recreation or to make money. Online gaming is one of the most exciting online activities people can indulge in, but it also remains one of the riskiest digital activities you can undertake. This is because cybercriminals have developed various malware that target the systems of online gamers running on unsecured or recently compromised game servers.
So for a gamer running their system at home, using a firewall is smart because when you have an installed firewall, you can easily block attempts by hackers to use their malware to get into your system and access your sensitive data.
Plus, getting a firewall to run with your gaming system is usually a seamless process because, most times, the firewall will configure itself based on the requirements of the game you’re playing using the information provided in the metadata. This configuration ensures you get optimal performance from your gaming system despite the firewall.
Blocking unsuitable or immoral content
Before we begin, let’s start by agreeing that morality differs from person to person, so what someone sees as immoral content may be viewed differently by another person.
Nonetheless, if you’re a parent or guardian to a minor, you do not want your child or ward snooping around with their computers at home, viewing unsuitable content for their age, which, unfortunately, they can easily access with the click of a button while they’re on the internet, whether by accident or intentionally.
Firewalls aren’t only about blocking hackers and their malware from access to your sensitive data; you can also use them to block your or another person’s access to specific online destinations like adult websites. You can also prevent yourself or others from coming across unsuitable content through Content Filtering — another prominent feature of a firewall.
Logging and audit functions
Besides defending your data from external threats, having an installed firewall in your home will give you access to important logging and audit functions. Firewalls keep a record of events that administrators can use to identify patterns of hacker and malware threats and improve rule sets to prevent these threats from being executed successfully against your sensitive data. These rules should be updated regularly to keep up with ever-evolving cybersecurity threats.
Without a firewall, you’d be leaving yourself open to accepting every connection into your home network without any means of detecting incoming cyber threats. This open access could leave your devices and personal information exposed and vulnerable to being accessed by intruders and used for malicious purposes. Those intruders could engage in hostile activities like gaining control over your computer or network, deleting your data, or using your personal information to commit identity theft and other online frauds.
The best way to prevent this from happening is by installing a firewall. If you need professional assistance in this regard, look no further than Security Pro. We’re in the business of researching, identifying, and connecting you with experienced cybersecurity personnel that can adequately help you achieve the installation of a tip-top firewall in your home to protect your sensitive data.