What is a firewall?

What is a firewall?

The term firewall originally referred to a wall intended to confine a fire or potential fire within a building. Later uses refer to similar structures, such as the metal sheet separating the engine compartment of a vehicle or aircraft from the passenger compartment.

A firewall can either be software-based or hardware-based and is used to help keep a network secure. Its primary objective is to control the incoming and outgoing network traffic by analyzing the data packets and determining whether it should be allowed through or not, based on a predetermined rule set. A network’s firewall builds a What is a firewall? bridge between an internal network that is assumed to be secure and trusted, and another network, usually an external (inter)network, such as the Internet, that is not assumed to be secure and trusted.


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