Cyber-security is becoming increasingly important in a world heavily reliant on the internet.
Your data is always at risk of a breach, which is why businesses must enforce proper measures to prevent cyber-attacks. A firewall is a tool used by institutions, corporations, and individuals to protect their data from potential threats.
However, firewalls come with limitations as they severely restrict access to the Web. Sometimes, this can result in problems as despite wanting to maintain security, employees may not be able to carry out essential functions.
There are ways to bypass a firewall, however. If your ISP or your employer has a firewall in place, you can technically bypass it. But first, you need to understand what firewalls are, and how they work.
What is a Firewall?
What is a firewall? As defined above, a firewall is a cyber-security tool. However, instead of alerting you like an antivirus software does, a firewall acts as a barrier between incoming data packets from external sources, such as websites or emails that might be harmful.
In addition, a firewall monitors traffic that is routed through and from your network. Based on a set of defined security rules, the firewall determines what to let in or what to restrict. Thus, it acts as a filter of sorts, preventing networks from external breaches.
Furthermore, these regulations control data that is allowed to go through the firewall. Malicious or harmful files or data packets are detected before they are allowed through and blocked.
The ports, also known as the entry point of a computer or network, are protected by the firewall. There are several types of firewalls that are used by companies and networks.
How to Bypass a Firewall
Sometimes, work or school may require you to access a website or data that is blocked by your firewall. In order to connect to such a site, knowing how to bypass a firewall correctly is essential. If you don’t do it right, you might expose your computer to cyber-attacks, or worse, invite your employer’s wrath!
There are several software programs and tools available to help access blocked or restricted websites and content. Here are some simple ways to bypass a firewall.
Install A Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Most experts recommend using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to access the internet securely and hiding your IP address. These VPNs encrypt data by creating a tunnel through which traffic passes from host to destination.
Any virtual private network can help you bypass a firewall if configured correctly. But some firewalls are equipped with technology to detect VPNs, so it is important you choose one that works. Just go through a few reviews first to determine the best VPN for your needs.
Use A Web Proxy
Web proxies are essentially servers that allow you to access blocked content by operating as a gateway between your browser and the actual server.
They hide your device’s IP address, unblocking a variety of websites and other data that would otherwise be restricted
These web proxies throttle download speeds at times and most free versions are heavily embedded with advertisements.
This makes it a slightly frustrating option, but nonetheless, web proxies do prove to be successful in bypassing a firewall.
Look For A SOCKS Proxy
SOCKS simply stands for “secure pockets.” It’s a protocol used to establish a TCP connection with another server. However, to make the most of internet speeds, SOCKS proxies rely on UDPs (User Datagram Protocol) instead of TCP solely, making them faster at sending and receiving data.
These proxies create arbitrary IP addresses to cloak your device’s online presence. In addition, they are also able to bypass a firewall and unblock specific websites.
Disabling the Firewall
This is tough, but if you get the password, you can essentially disable the firewall too. However, this is only possible in software-based firewalls that can be accessed from your computer system. Hardware firewalls can’t be disabled or circumvented easily.
By launching the firewall application or task manager, you can identify the firewall program. But remember, some businesses have added extra layers of protection to prevent employees from altering these settings. This could land you in trouble at your organization.
Turn On Mobile Data
Your firewall protects its network, not a specific, individual device. Therefore, these firewalls prevent access to specific networks. However, by entirely disconnecting from the internet network, you can access any content you desire.
It’s important to note that mobile data and bandwidth can be expensive. But, successfully tethering your mobile network can help you bypass restrictions.
Did you know you can access your personal computer or laptop remotely, easily connecting to any website you want? By simply installing a gateway service or using the built-in remote desktop option, you might be able to bypass a firewall too.
To make this method possible, your home PC must be always left on. Furthermore, it’s important to note that certain firewalls and operating systems block the use of remote access for added security.
How Does a Firewall Work?
To understand how to bypass a firewall successfully, it is imperative to know how it works. When you connect to your computer and try to access a website, it launches an HTTP request.
Each request is placed inside a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), and the website is categorized as a unique internet protocol address. The TCP and IP protocols work together to transfer data across the internet and to your computer.
Each TCP packet is sent to the IP layer to be routed according to the request. It defines where the HTTP request will go, how it will be transmitted, and where the target server is.
When a firewall is installed, the IP layer is heavily monitored. As a result, your computer or device becomes isolated from the network, and the firewall becomes a barrier to analyze each packet thoroughly.
The firewall controls what data is allowed to leave or enter the device. Other than that, firewalls act as additional security for the computer, protecting all application layers and information.
Types of Firewalls
Software is a program installed on a computer while hardware is a physical device. Firewalls are available in both forms; hardware and software. However, there are different technologies available. Some of these include:
Packet Filtering Firewalls
These are the most common type of firewalls today. Packet-filtering firewalls are effective at establishing security rules and preventing prohibited packets from passing through. However, packet filtering is the most basic form of protection.
The limitation of this type of firewall is that it can’t determine how packets affect applications. For example, the packet filtering firewall would allow a malicious request from a trusted source to pass through, even if it has dire consequences on the network. This is why proxy firewalls and next-generation firewalls are better options.
An older version of firewalls, proxy firewalls add an extra layer of network security and functionality compared to basic alternatives. Proxy firewalls filter data packets and network traffic when interacting with the application.
To illustrate, the proxy determines client requests before it connects with the internal network. Furthermore, it carries out a deep inspection of each packet to detect harmful content through layer seven protocols used on the web.
These protocols include commonly used HTTP and FTP. However, proxy limitations can impact application support and output capabilities.
Network Address Translation Firewalls (NAT)
A NAT firewall hides individual IP addresses, designating a single IP address for multiple devices connected to the network. Consequently, as attackers try to plant malicious content or scan for IP addresses, they remain undetectable.
NAT firewalls act like a device intermediary, similar to proxy firewalls. This means it acts as a protective shield between computer networks and incoming traffic.
Next-Generation Firewalls (NGFW)
These devices use a combination of existing firewall technology and added functionality. The firewalls include antivirus software, encrypted data checks, prevention systems, and, most importantly, deep packet inspection.
DPI enables firewalls to look beneath data headers, delving deeper into the content of each source instead of other blockers.
Next-generation firewalls also evolve with malicious threats and keep learning new techniques to combat them. Furthermore, NGFW works towards blocking modern threats, including application attacks and advanced malware that traditional firewalls may leave undetected.
Stateful Multilayer Inspection Firewalls (SMLI)
A stateful inspection firewall judges data packets and traffic based on protocol, state, and port. This means that they analyze context within each packet, only allowing it to pass through if every layer meets the requirements.
However, SMLIs are more prone to attacks due to vulnerabilities. Stateful inspection firewalls have a complex relationship with computing resources and the network, both of which can fall prey to malware easily.
Firewalls are becoming increasingly intelligent in detecting evasion and circumvention. Therefore, bypassing a firewall has become quite difficult over time. The systems enforce their rules which making them effective in securing your device and network.
Don’t forget to regularly change passwords and use antivirus software when removing the barrier to prevent malware attacks. The methods listed above should help you understand how firewalls work and how to bypass one at your school or workplace.
But be warned, bypassing a firewall is definitely against the rules. In addition, you’re opening up your network and device up to viruses, malware attacks, and other online threats. After all, firewalls were created to protect your data and keep you safe!