What Is A Firewall? What Does It Do?

Know what protects your device from behind the scenes.


Firewall is a network security device that monitors incoming and outgoing network traffic. It decides whether to allow or block specific traffic based on a defined set of security rules. In simple terms, it is a barrier between your internal network and incoming traffic from external sources (Internet, USB, etc.) to block malicious traffic like viruses and hackers.

What does a Firewall do?

Essentially, Firewalls create ‘choke points’ to funnel web traffic, which is then reviewed on a set of programmed parameters. If an anomaly is found (virus, malware, etc.), it is acted upon accordingly by blocking or quarantining the threat. It also tracks traffic and connections in audit logs to reference what has been allowed or blocked.

How does a Firewall Work?

Firewalls can be present in software as a security program or a physical form such as a Router. In both cases, it performs the same function that is scanning incoming network traffic. The firewall scans small data packages collected from a device’s entry point called ‘ports.’

Imagine a device as a military base where only trusted sources (addresses) are allowed to enter. Even then, the people inside the base (device) can only access certain facilities (ports). Access to these facilities (ports) depends on who uses them (Admin, User, Guest). For example, an admin will have full access to every port, whereas the user and the guest will only have access to a specific set of ports.

How do I turn off Firewall?

Sometimes, the Windows Firewall can block out paid software or other programs. This can cause more harm than good, as it can be annoying if you install new software. The default Windows, in particular, is not enough to protect against sophisticated malware. So here is how you can turn off the firewall.

Method 1

1. Open the Control Panel.

2. Choose System and Security and then choose Windows Firewall.

3. From the list of links on the left side of the window, choose to Turn Windows Firewall On or Off.

4. Select the bubble next to Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended).

5. Select OK to save the changes.

How do I turn Microsoft Defender on or off?

1. Select the Start  button > Settings  > Update & Security  > Windows Security and then Firewall & network protection

2. Select any network profile.

3. Under Microsoft Defender, switch the settings to Off.

If you like this simple explainer, check out our Short Bytes section. We take complex tech topics and break them into short, easy-to-understand articles.


Nalin Rawat

Nalin Rawat

Nalin is a tech writer who covers VR, gaming, awesome new gadgets, and the occasional trending affairs of the tech industry. He has been writing about tech and gaming since he started pursuing Journalism in college. He has also previously worked in print organizations like The Statesman and Business Standard. In his free time, he plays FPS games and explores virtual reality. Reach out to him at @NalinRawat
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