This modern era is highly dependent on Computers. The virtual world has become as important as the real, if not more. Many things like Education, Entertainment, Work and even interpersonal relationships have now grown to adapt to and be done online.
With these radical changes, Cyberspace has become a reality for many, and they treat it as such. In such a scenario, Cyber Security becomes a prime concern for all.
Networks and Cyber Security
The lion’s share of security risks in the real world occurs due to your interaction with the environment and the inhabitants. Being in the wrong place and time, with the wrong people creates security disasters.
The same can be extrapolated into the virtual world, where the majority of security issues pop up related to networks. The Internet is a universe full of opportunities, but some doors lead us to traps. This is where Cybersecurity, especially firewalls are critical.
Firewalls are applications that monitor and control network traffic on your personal or on a public mainframe. It has a strict security policy to which it follows. Based on this policy, channels are allowed through or blocked.
Firewalls work on Networks, Personal Computers or Large Servers. Localized networks have an ingrained Firewall but connecting to the Internet contains risks that must be regulated using a Personal Firewall.
The market is flooded with paid as well as free services that perform the functions of a Firewall. One of the most reputed Open source firewalls is pfSense, which is a Firewall/Router Software Distribution that works on FreeBSD.
FreeBSD is also an Open Source Operating System. Unlike Linux which is an Open source OS, FreeBSD provides a full OS, including traits such as kernel, device drivers and so on.
pfSense Firewall can be installed on a real or virtual system to make a dedicated Firewall cum Router for networks or PCs. The interface is relatively simple to handle and modify. It runs using a web-based interface and does not demand any expertise on FreeBSD principles upon which it operates.
Free and Easy Security
In this age, good things are never free, and the free items are never what we hope them to be. This principle is valid in any industry, including Cyberspace. There are exceptions and very few Open Source products that are reliable and as efficient as branded ones.
Cyber Security especially revolves around products like Anti Viruses and Firewalls. Firewalls especially are a prerequisite feature that every system needs to have to be safe on the internet. Open Source options in this category are limited and somewhat below par as compared to paid versions such as AWS, and pfSense proves its significance here.
pfSense boasts plenty of features which make it versatile, powerful and equipped to deal with any demand that the user may have and neutralize any threat. Some of these features come at a cost when availed from other firms.
Filtering is a fundamental feature for all Firewall and is the backbone of its functioning. Firewalls use filtering techniques to sort out and flag potential threats to the system.
pfSense allows the user to set filter parameters and control the influx of content. This process involves filtering by IP Protocols, Source and Destination port for UDP and TCP traffic, among several others. This trait allows the user to block or stream content from their favorite sources safely.
It also has an added p0f which is a passive OS and Network Fingerprinting utility tool. This tool helps to passively detect the platform on which an attempted connection is established. This parameter can later be used to concede, or bar systems based on their OS.
The granting of Multiple WAN Connections to be maintained at the same time is perhaps the most revolutionary feature of pfSense. It allows multiple WAN connections to be filtered through simultaneously. These connections may be of identical or different types, including static, IPv4, IPv6 or any other.
Multiple WAN is supported using Gateway Groups and local services obey the pfSense routing table. They go out the primary WAN line unless programmed to do so otherwise. Inbound traffic will return through the incoming network.
Load Balancing from uneven WAN connections can also be taken care of in pfSense. The load balancing can also be disabled as a whole or selectively for addresses. The main problem with Load Balancing occurs in HTTPS sites and sites that maintain login sessions, which do not allow multiple connections or IPs. So, they can be disabled for such websites or sessions.
Packets are fragmented units of data, created from meaningful information. This system allows a segmented mode of communication which eases the burden on networks. These packets need to be pieced back together upon arrival at destination, and pfSense makes that easier.
Packet Normalization allows the use of Scrub documentation for this purpose so that there are no uncertainties in the interpretation of the final data. This feature is a default option in pfSense and protects some platforms from attacks and malicious content. It can also be disabled if need be.
pfSense offers a very flexible and customized experience due to a wide variety of options available on all fronts. The software can adapt to almost any kind of user and application, ranging from personal use to enterprise and open networks.
The software can act as a transparent double-layer Firewall, bridging interfaces and regulating the traffic between them. It even allows for an IP less Firewall. The filtered transmission of data between interfaces is seamless using pfSense.
In the era of Information, Knowledge is Power and a powerful weapon as well. This weapon is at its most destructive capability in the Cyberspace. The safety in the Virtual World can be guaranteed only by the use of a powerful and reliable companion like pfSense.
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