Don’t you hate it when you are at a party, meeting someone, getting to know them better, and all they want to do is talk about firewalls? How their network gets scanned by hackers 200 times a day, how they’ve survived worms and viruses, and how good they are at security? Aren’t they special?
Thankfully, party talk is not always that bad, but the term firewall has nonetheless broken the geek-speak barrier and obtained social buzzword status. Firewalls have also entered the world of the business mainstream. Businesses and home computer users have become comfortable with the concept of a firewall and its perceived role in the network. Perhaps too comfortable.
What people think: Firewalls solve all of our security problems. We are ahead of the game (sophisticated) because we have one or more firewalls.
What we think: Firewalls have become a defense that most
perpetrators can circumvent with great ease.
One technology that has greatly contributed to common knowledge of firewalls is broadband (high-speed) Internet access. Broadband is now available to people in their homes throughout many major cities around the globe. Before broadband, it could be argued that home computers were rarely on the Internet because modem connections were typically short. Home modem users didn’t feel like they were
exposed to hackers (although they actually were primary targets). However, a broadband connection is always on, and therefore creates a large stationary target for hackers. Home users now see themselves as potential targets (which they still are). As a result, firewalls are now marketed to both home and corporate consumers as necessary security solutions.
The above information is the start of a chapter in "Network Security Illustrated," published by McGraw-Hill and available from amazon.com, as well as your local bookstore. The book goes into much greater depth on this topic. To learn more about the book and what it covers, click here.
Below, you'll find links to online resources that supplement this portion of the book.