According to the ISACA report 2021, cyberattacks are the top-most growing crimes in the US. it is no wonder then, that Firewalls are one of the most important topics in any cybersecurity discussion. And, the home network setup is no different.

As most of us continue to open our Wi-Fi to access from external sources, it is now more important than ever to protect our home network. Here, firewall and antivirus are the key components for securing your home network systems from unwanted intrusions and hacks. So, let us begin by understanding what firewall and anti-virus stand for and how relevant they are for your home network.

What Is A Firewall?

Home Network Firewall

First, and foremost, a firewall is a security component that filters traffic accessing your network. It blocks outsiders from gaining access to your private data. Firewall hardware (or software) also blocks malicious software that can harm your computer by providing different levels of protection. As a device owner, you can determine and set up the protection levels and the firewall will do the rest of the job.

Firewalls monitor and check any attempts at gaining unauthorized access to your systems. They block all unwanted traffic or malicious attempts from any unrecognized resources. In other words, the firewall is a barrier, or a layer of protection, between another network or internet connecting to your computer. This ‘traffic controlling’ aspect of the firewall helps keep your information safe as it blocks all unsolicited network traffic from entering without proper validation.

Firewall Protection For Your Home Network

Think of your firewall as a gatekeeper. You can do without one if you are certain that no one will try to gain access without proper authorization. However, the cyber world is filled with hackers trying to enter and steal information, spread malware, and infect your systems. Here, having a firewall can resolve your most acute security problem – unauthorized access to your operating system. However, you do not need a separate physical firewall in your home network. Most antivirus products like Intego Mac Internet Security X9 Antivirus come with pre-fitted firewall software as well. This firewall is just as capable of preventing any unwanted cyber-attacks in your Mac Operating System as any other physical firewall device.

how Does a Firewall Prevent Cyber Attacks?

A home network with firewalls can effectively analyze all incoming traffic based on a set of predefined rules. These rules have to be configured while setting up the firewall for your home network. Depending on the configuration, the firewall will allow or block incoming connections.

Going down a further level, the firewall performs this scrutiny by assessing specific data packets according to your security criteria. These data packets must be from an acceptable source or IP address. IP addresses are a computer’s identity. IP addresses function similarly to physical postal addresses such that the receiving computer can know where the data packet is coming from. Therefore, the firewall works as a guard sitting on your device’s port, or entry point. It will block all traffic except that coming in from trusted IP addresses.

What Is An Antivirus Software?

Antivirus is a set of software programs developed to detect, prevent, and eliminate an array of software viruses and other malware present in your system. However, installing an antivirus is not the end of the story. The software must be updated regularly to address newer viruses.

This tool is a necessity rather than a luxury. Your system will be vulnerable to virus and malware attacks the mere instant an antivirus is uninstalled and you connect to the internet. It is important to understand that viruses are constantly searching for vulnerabilities within your system to penetrate it. Therefore, you cannot have your guard down even for an instant.

In order to prevent such attacks, reputed antivirus companies like Intego regularly update their virus detection tools. This ensures that they are ever ready to deal with tens of thousands of new malware that is pushed into the network daily.

How Does An Antivirus Software Work?

Intego Mac Internet Security X9 Antivirus Firewall

While different antivirus products come with their unique set of capabilities, all of them are capable of performing certain essential operations. First and foremost, they can scan specific files for known malicious patterns or malware, in general.

An anti-virus tool allows you to run scans on-demand or schedule them to run automatically. The former process can be performed on specific files, a CD, a Flash drive, etc. Or, you can just go ahead and scan the entire computer.

The antivirus software will also notify the user in case it detects any malicious code. You can then take appropriate action by either cleaning the file or automating the virus removal process. But, most importantly, an up-to-date antivirus displays an accurate picture of your computer’s health, highlighting its vulnerabilities before they harm the system.

Protect Your Home Network Devices With The Right Antivirus

Intego Mac Internet Security X9 Antivirus Firewall

Antivirus products protect far more than office computers and systems. In a domestic setting, an anti-virus is one of the best forms of protection against malware attacks. From computers to smartphones and tablets, each home-use device requires just as much protection as your office systems.

In short, viable antivirus software installed on each device can help keep your important documents, images, and all fond memories safe from being destroyed by malware. Therefore, it is essential to have the finest security products installed that can protect all devices in your home network.

A typical antivirus software downloads malware definitions onto your device to scan the documents and files and highlight the matching content. However, more recent malware is found to be capable of morphing its appearance. They do this to avoid detection entirely as they access your files.

Therefore, it is important to look for antivirus software products like Intego Internet Security X9, which stores recognized malware definitions on the cloud rather than your device. In other words, they scan faster and develop an exhaustive cyber threat library while taking up much less space on your system.

The Threat of Cyber Attacks in Smart Homes

Cyber Threats on Home Network

As smart devices enter our homes, there is no denying that this technology is fast becoming mainstream. According to Gartner, the total number of smart home devices is going to exceed 30 billion in the next few years. As IoT becomes a part of our daily lives, it is now more than ever necessary to keep our controlling devices like smartphones, computers, and tablets free from malware.

A typical hacking of your home computer a decade ago would have only affected that system and resulted in some data loss. However, in a smart home, such an attack can even lead to physical damage threatening the lives of your loved ones. All of this, over and above exposing your personal data. No doubt the use of smart home devices has resulted in immense convenience in our daily lives. However, they can also make us more vulnerable to cyber-attacks if not secured properly.

Preventing Malware From Accessing Your Smart Home Devices

As new gadgets increase improve the quality of your life, you need to learn how to properly secure them. Smart home devices like security cameras, televisions, thermostats, etc. can increase the vulnerability of your home and other connected devices. Therefore, the best option is to implement a defense mechanism keeping all devices safe and secure without affecting their functionality.

Common Cybersecurity threats in a Smart Home

Ransomware attacks are the most serious threats in a Smart Home setup. A hacker can enter your network through a smart device initiating a ransomware attack. Such an attack will demand a ransom for getting your system up and running again. However, there is absolutely no assurance that the cybercriminal will restore access once you pay the ransom. Other common Cybersecurity threats in a smart home setup can be:

  • An attack can lead to the cybercriminal accessing your thermostat data to determine whether you are home or away. This can result in physical break-ins, theft, and property damage.
  • Intruders accessing any sensitive information shared with your smart home assistants like Google Home or Amazon Echo. These could include financial information, security passwords, etc.
  • Further, security camera hacks are increasing in number. These connected devices have little to no built-in security features. As a result, they become extremely vulnerable to malware attacks.

Considering our reliance on technology and interconnected devices accessing networks, it is very important to protect them appropriately. Let us take a look at how you can benefit from reliable cybersecurity implementation even at a domestic level.

Benefits Of Using Reliable Cybersecurity Products

  • Comprehensive Digital Protection: Cybersecurity solutions like antivirus and firewall can provide the necessary protection to keep your devices secure. With these installed, you can surf the internet whenever you need it without worrying about any serious risks from cyber threats.
  • Information Protection: Information-related transactions can expose your private and personal details if they fall into wrong hands. Malware can infect your system and obtain sensitive information without your knowledge. This information can be further sold or distributed leading to financial and identity theft. Antivirus products like Intego Mac Internet Security X9 Antivirus can help prevent such occurrences with built-in firewalls.
  • Safe Access: With the right cybersecurity in place, your home can become a safe haven where you and other household members can access the internet without worrying about a cyber-attack. On the other hand, without appropriate safety measures, your systems are highly vulnerable to outside attacks. And if only one system gets infected, it can impact the whole network.
  • Flexibility, Convenience, & Productivity: Apart from safety, antivirus software and firewalls offer convenience and flexibility in accessing the network. Moreover, infected systems can become slow, reducing your overall productivity. In most cases, an infected system can be impossible to work on, wasting precious time.
  • Protection From Adware and Spyware: Adware can flood your computer with advertisements leading to disrupted functioning. Spyware can spy on your computer and steal information for cyber-criminal activity. Fortified computer systems deny any spyware entry. They cannot infect your system or spy by latching onto your computers. And, your dealings remain private and secure.

Home Network Firewall – Final Words

There is no doubt that your home computers are just as vulnerable to ransomware attacks and identity thefts as enterprise-level systems. The good news is that you do not have to be an expert in cybersecurity to prevent such unforeseen attacks. By installing comprehensive antivirus and firewall software, you can improve the security of your devices and access the internet without restrictions.

These are fairly simple solutions that are easy to install and operate. Moreover, the need for antivirus software has also made it affordable where companies charge minimal fees to keep the software up-to-date with the ever-increasing number of malware and viruses.

Apart from implementing cybersecurity products, it is also essential to make sure that you do not share personal information on suspicious websites.

About the Author

Raymond Kenney, a master's graduate in Cybersecurity from Boston University, is a seasoned IT professional and expert in VPNs and online privacy. With over ten years of industry experience, Raymond has produced multiple authoritative articles on network security and data privacy. Renowned for his meticulous approach, he conducts comprehensive reviews on various VPN services, assessing their features and security protocols. His expert advice is based on extensive research and practical knowledge.

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