Have you heard the term “firewall” and wondered what exactly it is?
With an online business, there are lots of terms and acronyms. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what all those terms mean and whether it’s one you need to pay attention to.
When it comes to the internet and our computers, data, content, websites, and other information are being communicated across the internet constantly. As a result, internet security is an important topic. We all want to be protected, but sometimes we’re not sure how to do that.
First off…What Exactly is a Firewall?
“Firewalls” are derived from what firefighters do to contain raging, destructive fires. To stop these deadly fires, firefighters build another fire in their path. When the out-of-control fire reaches this other fire, it stops.
Similarly, a “firewall” in the virtual world stops malicious or unwanted traffic or software that could harm your computer or network. It protects against cyber attackers by blocking anything that isn’t known to be safe or that the user hasn’t told them to let through.
How Important is a Firewall?
It’s an important piece to the overall security of your computer and networks. Here are a few risks associated with NOT having one.
- You have no way of monitoring malicious traffic or hacking activities
- Someone could access your network and private data
- They can steal it, share it with others, delete it, or use it in any way they want
- You’ll suffer from downtime and incur costs while fixing the system, recovering data, and remedying the damages
Two Types of Firewalls
A software firewall is a program installed on each computer. It monitors and controls traffic between the computer/network and the Internet. It can be programmed to allow or reject traffic, based on predefined criteria.
Good news! Many existing operating systems and software also include certain firewall functionalities built-in.
For example, Windows and Apple computer operating systems come with software firewalls installed by default. However, double-check in your computer security settings that the firewall is turned on (typically this is the default). Or, there’s stand-alone firewall software that you can install on your computer.
A hardware firewall is a physical device that sits between your devices and the router. Like the software firewall, it controls the Internet traffic coming into your devices. More good news! Many suppliers and internet service providers offer routers that include firewall features.
However, if your router is old, you should consider updating it immediately to provide maximum security.
Firewalls for Your WordPress Website
You can use a WordPress firewall to filter the traffic coming to your website. It lets the good traffic in while blocking any traffic that could harm or steal your data. A WordPress firewall is similar to a software or hardware firewall, but it’s built specifically for web applications.
Here are two popular WordPress Security plugins that have a firewall. They have both free and paid versions:
Don’t forget! There are other things you can do to protect your website from hackers – like having strong passwords, setting up two-factor authentication, and regularly updating your website.
Firewall vs Antivirus Software
Firewalls and Antivirus technology both provide important security to systems. However, they address different vulnerabilities. A firewall helps control network traffic. In contrast, antivirus software detects malicious viruses/files/malware and protects systems against them. The bottom line is that you need both.
Unfortunately, as internet usage increases, so do cyberattacks from hackers, malware, viruses, and ransomware. Fortunately, technology companies are working hard to combat these evil internet forces. A firewall is one of the many tools we can use to increase our security. There are a few types of firewalls, depending on whether you want to protect your computer, network, or website.
Staying safe and protected while we use technology is important. We want to do what we can to prevent any kind of attacks or hacking.
Firewalls are one way to do that. Fortunately, most people won’t need to install an additional one since you likely have one already through your computer or router. However, if you have a WordPress website, I recommend that you consider a firewall plugin to protect your site from attacks and data breaches.
And as always: Have strong passwords!