What's a "proper" firewall, then?

For a long time now, many of us have accepted that when we pay an Internet Service Provider (ISP) our monthly subscription, they'll give us a free box so that we can connect to the Internet and satisfy our connectivity cravings.  We're more than happy to accept this free box into our home, plug it in and connect away, exposing our devices, ourselves and our families to the raw internet.  It's a brave new world.

The problem is that most these free boxes from our ISPs don't offer us any tangible security in order to keep us safe online - they are merely a means to enable our ISPs to legally take money from our bank account every month.  Sure, they provide a very basic form of keeping internet traffic away from your home network but nothing that can combat or alert you to modern threats.

This is where a "proper" firewall, or security appliance comes in.

Modern threats need modern defences to keep the bad guys out.  Whether you're downloading music, streaming films or accessing your bank account, you need something that is watching in the background and making sure you're doing things safely.