Cybersecurity loopholes, or just plain laziness in following security protocols, can turn out to be extremely expensive for your business. There have been plenty of businesses over the past years that never recovered from significant data breaches.
Cybercriminals cost the global industry billions of dollars each year, which businesses try to combat with cybersecurity policies and resources.
Unfortunately, the remote working situation forced by the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up many more targets for cybercriminals and hackers to exploit.
With workforces using residential services like Cox internet plans and a mix of personal devices, desktop applications, and cloud platforms, there is a lot of confusion.
This is the environment of choice for most cybercriminals, with plenty of opportunities to gain unauthorized access to devices and networks. You may now be panicking, thinking you’re not technically equipped to handle cybersecurity threats on an individual basis.
While rooting out and removing infected files, malware, spyware, or even botnets from your device or network may be difficult after an attack, you can certainly take a few precautionary measures to prevent the attack from succeeding in the first place.
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A great place to start is using a firewall, especially when you know the following:
Firewalls and How They Work
Firewalls can be a mix of software and hardware (or just either one) designed to protect internet networks and connected devices. The firewall guards the perimeter of your internet network, preventing malicious elements from gaining access to the network.
By extension, this also prevents them from gaining access to all devices connected to that network. The firewall monitors the data packets in information exchanges between devices and networks, ensuring the packets are safe and secure.
Any instance of data or data packets not meeting the firewall’s configured rules usually gets rejected.
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All Firewalls Don’t Perform Equally Well
All firewalls have the same purpose, but they have different ways of protecting your network and devices. Firewall systems that rely only on software are usually “live” on devices connected to the network.
While convenient to use and manage, software-only firewalls can only offer limited protection. Physical firewalls are usually network perimeter security hardware that manages and controls IP access, ports, sources, and network traffic.
However, modern firewalls focus on individual data packets instead of access points or devices alone. They scan individual packets, identify any malicious, infected, or corrupted data, and block it from infecting the network before it enters.
These modern firewalls outperform older hardware-only or software-based versions by a huge margin.
Firewalls Require Updates and Reconfigurations
Of course, despite its many wonders, firewall technology is still technology. This usually means it needs to constantly evolve and combat more complex and sophisticated threats as they emerge.
Therefore, when using a firewall, you need to constantly update not just your device software, but the firewall as well. Any loopholes can be exploited, and this is much easier with outdated software or set still in use.
Make sure to check for updates and reconfigurations regularly. If at all possible, you should set your firewall and other security systems to automatically download updates and install them.
Encryption Software Can Compromise Firewall Security
Encryption software, especially virtual proxy networks, is all the rage in the internet world. Beloved by digital privacy activists and torrent pirates alike, VPNs are a mixed blessing.
On one hand, they offer anonymous and unrestricted access to most of the internet.
So even if you live in a place where the government is trying to control internet access and content availability, you can bypass the filters imposed on or by your internet providers.
That way, you can access content that you would otherwise be prevented from accessing.
But there is also a crucial flipside to this. VPNs usually work by creating a virtual encryption tunnel between a device and the destination server.
This is what prevents snoopers and eavesdroppers from tracking or monitoring device activity, even with access to the network.
However, the same encryption tunnel that ensures your digital privacy and anonymity can also compromise your network security. The encryption prevents your firewall from seeing and analyzing data packets.
So, when you download an infected file, interact with a phishing link, or accidentally install malware on your device, the firewall won’t be able to detect and prevent this from happening.
You could let in a piece of malware that could cripple your network and devices, as well as compromise sensitive data and information.
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