Before we talk about the weaknesses of firewalls it is crucial to know and see to understand how a firewall is setup and how it actually works. Simply put, a firewall is either a software or a hardware based security system for networks, that is tasked with regulating the flow of incoming and outgoing network traffic. In order to decide which data packets should be allowed through and which should be prevented, the firewall carries out a proper analysis that is based upon an applied set of rules. Basically, the definition of a firewall can be stated in a variety of different terms, depending primarily upon your level of understanding of computer networks. Primarily however, a firewall creates a sort of a barrier between a network of computers that can be trusted, as well as an external network, such as the internet, which cannot be trusted. In case somebody tries to send in data packets that are infected with viruses, the firewall will automatically detect them and prevent them from entering the secure network. Primarily, most individual computers come with a firewall based security system that can be turned on or off at your behest. Hardware such as routers are also installed with firewalls to prevent access.
Firewalls are an important part of the corporate world, mainly because they are used to protect the secrets of a company. However, despite all of the positive points of a firewall, there are a number of weaknesses as well. Here are some of the most blatant weaknesses of a firewall:
As mentioned above, a firewall is created to protect a system from any harmful threats from another network. It acts as a sort of barrier. However, it can't fend off attacks that are launched from within the system that it is supposed to protect. This is quite a common issue. Imagine if someone gains unauthorized access from within the network or no authorized use of the network, the firewall is deemed useless in such cases.
Firewalls are created to prevent intrusions from traffic that only passes through them. This means that it only allows data to pass as long as it adheres to the applied set of rules. If a new virus, that has been undiscovered as yet is not mentioned in the set of rules, the firewall won't even scan it and allow it through.
If a company allows communication from an outside network, such as the internet, the firewall has no ability to be able to scan and prevent viruses. For instance, if a company has allowed access to receive emails from the outside world, the firewall will easily allow the emails to filter through. Anybody could disguise a virus or a Trojan within the email attachments, and gain access to the network inside, or even destroy the firewall.
These are some of the most blatant weaknesses of firewalls that affect day to day usage of the network.
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