How Does a Firewall Stop Hackers?

How firewalls stop hackers & prevent attacks

Every responsible business is going to deploy some level of cybersecurity to keep their data safe, but why a firewall? Firewalls act as the security guard that determines whether Internet traffic is allowed to enter or leave your business’s private network. Packets of data are constantly streaming back and forth between the open “wild west” of the public Internet and your specific, private silo of data (your network).

Hackers are constantly looking for a way to establish a foothold in poorly protected networks so that they can:

  • Observe what kind of data is housed in your network (reconnaissance)
  • Establish administrative control over your network (privilege escalation)
  • Extract data they believe will be valuable (data exfiltration)
  • Encrypt important files to withhold until you pay up (ransomware)
  • Plant unwanted spam, advertisements, or bloat (junkware)

Placing a firewall as the gatekeeper between your data and the outside world is not a 100% guaranteed method of stopping hackers, but it does cut off huge swaths of attack vectors.

A firewall is the best way to cut off many common attack types quickly and efficiently. Stateful inspection and UTM firewalls cut off a huge number of attack types through known signature databases alone while Next Generation Firewalls go a step further by integrating advanced technologies to stop more elusive threats. Some of these technologies include:

  • Machine learning to make automated security decision based on AI
  • Sandboxing to isolate, detonate, and disarm potential payloads
  • Behavioral monitoring that detects zero-day threats based on characteristics
  • Automated response to isolate infected endpoints
Stop Hackers with Firewalls

What do hackers do when once inside your network?

As outlined above, hackers have several goals once they successfully infiltrate a network. The type of attack often determines what steps an attacker will take next.

  • Ransomware encrypts an organization’s data so that users are unable to access or use that data
  • Malware is often used as a way to open networks to more vulnerable, persistent attacks
  • Data breaches exfiltrate as much valuable data from a network as possible to be sold on the dark web or used for extortion
  • Lateral movement and privilege escalation allow hackers to infect a greater number of devices, making it harder to fully scrub networks clean of their presence
  • Business email compromise and account takeovers aim to steal credentials from company employees to be used for social engineering and theft

Services such as Sophos’s Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR), SonicWall’s Capture ATP sandbox, and security architecture like the Fortinet Security Fabric are designed to provide defense in depth by building smart security layers into multiple levels of your network.

Peace of Mind Network Security

Still have questions about your firewall? Our team can help! The Security Operations Center, located in our hometown of Indianapolis, is stocked to the brim with manufacturer-certified security experts who can resolve any firewall issue you may be facing! Offering custom configurations, premium support, and subscription-based Managed Security Services, our engineers take both the guesswork and legwork out of securing your network. Just let our team tap in, harden your defenses, and then we'll keep you up to date with event reporting, change documentation, incident response, and more.

Just give us a call at 317-225-4117 to learn how Managed Security Services can make security, compliance, and network performance an absolute breeze!

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