What Does a Port on a Firewall Actually Do?

What Does a Port on a Firewall Actually Do?

Ever wondered why ports are so important if they are dangerous? The media has been flooded with stories about open ports causing back doors for hackers, so what do they actually do? What good are they if they can do so much harm?

What is a port? Well, here are the quick and dirty details about ports. You know, the Internet comes to your network over a big wire, right? So your network has to figure out the difference between videos, e-mails and other types of information. There are five major types of information is sorted into and then pushed to your devices. The term “port” generally refers to a physical hole in your firewall or switch where something is plugged in like on the back of your firewall.

Then Internet gods created more… Sometimes the term “port” may be used in reference to an Internet Protocol or IP service. In this case, they can become dangerous. These non-physical ports are a logical construct of Internet stuff that allows data to flow in and out over an Internet connection. In order to address the data to the right location, the term “port” was used with a number designation to queue computers to recognize the Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol or HTTP.

Two things to remember, if we lost you here on the geek speak… 1. ports on your firewall should always be physically locked down so passersby cannot plug in and hack your systems. Just like this physical threat, your virtual addresses or IP ports should be locked down so information cannot be passed through without your knowledge. If you are unsure if your IP ports are locked down, give us a call. We will look into it for you to ensure your company is secure.