Definition of Firewall
White (2015), defines firewall as a set of systems implemented to authenticate and control how users access and use networks. Although firewall is very important for protection of data, network users and network devices, it presents strengths and weaknesses discussed below.
Strengths of a Firewall
- Firewall helps organizations enforce their security policies and safety measures.
- Firewall implements access controls where access to certain network services can be selectively assigned to specific groups through authentication.
- Firewalls also allow network owners to evaluate and monitor traffic entering the network.
- Firewalls are able to alert network owners and users of any suspicious network activities.
Weaknesses of a Firewall
- Since firewalls are often implemented as gateways or bridges between networks, attacks carried out from within the network system are not detected by the firewall. For example, if a user with access rights knowingly or unknowingly grants permission to access specific services to another user without access rights, the firewall will not detect.
- It can only filter intruders that pass through the firewall, therefore, if a hacker has a way to go around the firewall, he/she will remain undetected.
- Requires a set of well-structured security policies to operate well. Firewalls cannot protect networks with over permissive rules and policies.
- Once permission is granted, the firewall’s ability to protect or filter is limited. For instance, if a user grants a spam email permission to enter the inbox, the email filtering firewall will not stop emails from the exempted address even if it has malicious links and viruses.
White, C. M. (2016). Data communications & computer networks: a business users approach. 8th ed. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.