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Web Stalkers
Chapter 9 - Self Protection on the Web

What is a Firewall?

When many buildings are designed, they are built with certain walls more durable than others.  In concert with specially designed doors, these walls make it more difficult for a fire to spread.  By slowing down or stopping the spread of the fire, it allows more people to be evacuated safely.  These safeguards are called firewalls.

Positioning valuable assets so that they are protected by firewalls also provides more security for important documents and equipment.  In computer security, a firewall slows down or stops an attacker before they gain access to the information that should be kept private.  Figure 9.1 shows how a basic home network would look with a firewall.

Figure 9.1 - A simple diagram of a home network with a firewall


In the corporate world, organizations will sometimes use multiple firewalls to separate different parts of the organization for security reasons in addition to protecting its resources from unauthorized outside access.

There are different types of firewalls that provide different benefits.  Hardware and software firewalls each have strengths and weaknesses.

Types of Firewalls

All firewalls consist of both hardware and software.  The dividing line between what is classified as a hardware firewall is whether or not the hardware is used primarily as a firewall.  If the hardware is primarily a firewall, it will be called a firewall router.  Multi-purpose devices such as a wireless router fall into this category.  Otherwise, it will be considered a software firewall as it involves software being installed on a computer or network system.

The above text is an excerpt from:

Web Stalkers
Protect yourself from Internet Criminals & Psychopaths
ISBN 0-97-45993-9-5

by Donald K. Burleson, Stephen Andert

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