Walls Ward Off (Virtual) Flames! Campus Heats up Security with New Firewall Services

Using a firewall can help protect you and the campus against hackers. A firewall is one of many tools that can be used to defend one??'s computer against attacks.

What is a Firewall?

Much like its metaphoric namesake, a firewall acts as a protective barrier between your computer and the Internet, monitoring all incoming and/or outgoing traffic and allowing only the network traffic you permit. There are two main types of firewalls, software and hardware. Software firewalls are usually programs that you install on your computer system to help protect it against attack by limiting network activity that could be dangerous. Hardware firewalls are physical devices (routers) that stand between your computer and the Internet.

How Does It Work? Firewalls employ various methods of protection:
  • Packet Filtering
  • The firewall analyzes small pieces of information (packets), permitting only data consistent with user-defined rules to pass.

  • Proxy Services
  • The firewall prevents information about your computer from being transmitted to another computer.

  • Stateful Inspection
  • Only trusted information, defined in a database, is permitted to pass.

  • Customization
  • Firewalls can be customized to allow/deny words, phrases, packets, IP addresses, domain names, ports, and more.

What Is the Campus Doing to Protect Me?

UC Davis recently signed a contract with Netscreen to provide a range of firewall solutions for campus departments at a 35% product discount. IET will provide technical support for these products through the Desktop Enterprise Solutions unit (desktop.ucdavis.edu).

How Will Firewalls Affect Me?
  • Central Campus Firewalls
  • IET has deployed Netscreen firewalls to protect key campus computing systems (e.g., MyUCDavis, Geckomail, etc.) from off-campus threats. These firewalls will not protect departmen ts or personal computers and will likely be transparent to users.

  • Departmental Firewalls
  • Departmental firewalls may affect your computer??'s connectivity to the Internet. Depending on their setup, certain programs may not be allowed to receive or send data over the network. Contact your departmental MSO or Technical Support Coordinator for more information about firewalls and your department

  • Personal Firewalls
  • Newer computers often come equipped with firewalls that must be configured in order to defend against attacks. You should contact your departmental MSO or Technical Support Coordinator for help and instructions before configuring any personal firewalls.

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