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Who Invented the Firewall?

09/11/2021
by Cathy Houghton

If you’ve been using a SonicWall firewall for some time now, you no doubt wonder who first came up with this excellent security solution. The firewall is one of the best things to happen to businesses. Of course, as with any incredible invention, many people claim they are the father of the firewall. Keep reading as we head back in time to learn who invented the firewall.

Who Invented the Firewall?

Who is the Inventor of the Firewall?

Over the years, there have been many discussions about who invented the firewall technology. Nir Zuk says he developed the technology which we now see in all SonicWall firewall features today. However, David Pensak is the one who claims to have built the first firewall that was a commercial success. On top of that, we have Marcus Ranum, who also claims to be the father of the firewall. As you can see, it’s a complicated story with so many people taking the claim to the title of the inventor of this incredible solution. However, other people state none of them invented the firewall, and they were just involved in creating the filtering technology that’s critical to its success.

The History of the Firewall

All of the individuals listed above were involved in the evolution of the firewall in some way. While some can be traced back to the start of the firewall, others played their role within the technology development area. In fact, it can be said that all of these men and a few other figures helped to make the first firewall and develop this technology to what it is today. When looking at who invented firewalls, we need to head back to the late 1980s. You might be surprised to hear this technology dates that far back, but this was when it was first developed by the Digital Equipment Corporation. At this time, the firewalls relied on the Open Systems Interconnection model and the first four layers of this model. These ensured packets were either dropped or allowed to move forward in the system, creating the basic function of a firewall.

While this was a great resource to begin with, it soon turned out to be very resource-heavy, which is why Check Point Software Technologies then introduced the circuit-level firewalls. These were later called stateful firewalls, and this was what is considered to be the first generation of firewalls we know and use today. This then led to the packet-filtering firewall and became stateless in regards to the connection aspect of this system.

Modern Firewall Solutions

If you’ve been using a SonicWall small business firewall, you’ll know that the technology has come on a long way since this time. The firewall development has continued for many years to make the solutions we know and use currently. Organic development led to the firewalls that are on the market today, and you’ll find that they now all benefit from user content management and intrusion prevention. The open-source firewall first came to the market in 1993, which offered more layers of firewalling for companies. This was a huge leap forward for the industry and had a heavy influence on products for the next two decades. This was released by Trusted Information Systems, but DEC had also launched a product a couple of years earlier, which was very influential within the industry.

The main takeaway from this period in the history of the firewall is that layered security is the way forward. While network and perimeter firewall solutions might not assist with the cloud, you’ll find that they are still critical for any business today. The need for strong border controls has never been higher, so we can be sure this layered security model is here to stay for many years to come. As with anyone operating in the technology industry, there are always going to be new solutions and changes made to products. Next-generation firewalls will only continue to fight the issues that companies are currently facing. Even small and medium-sized businesses are finding solutions tailored to their needs. Our team knows that not one product is right for every business, and the wide variety of firewalls on offer is one of the best things about the changes in the past years.

There’s no clear answer to the question of who invented the firewall, but it appears to be a joint effort that brought us to where we are today. While we’re sure many people would like to claim the title of the father of the firewall, it’s important that we realise that so much time and technology went into protecting our businesses today. No business should be operating without a firewall, as it’s one of the best solutions for businesses working online. Are you ready to upgrade your firewall solution this year? Contact our team today or check our page for more information about the best firewall options for your business.