What is NAT Firewall and Why It’s Important
When you connect to the internet, there are lots of packets being sent and received, and all these are governed by various rules and protocols. At the same time, other processes work together to check errors, speed up the process, organize packets etc.
A VPN and NAT firewall
Both a VPN and a NAT Firewall are tools that are important for protecting users while on the internet. The two are however commonly used together by various VPN services.
Through this encryption, no third-party, not even your ISP, can see your traffic or even intercept your connection. This therefore protects you from hackers and other malicious internet users.
NAT Firewall Defined
This firewall can be implemented using software or hardware, and its work is to prevent any unwanted communications, which is good for security.
NAT stands for Network Address Translation, and it makes sure that the devices connected to a network have a single IP address. After that, it ensures that when a connected device makes a certain request, that’s the only information that is returned. This means that it compares all incoming connections, and every packet that is not recognized gets destroyed by this “wall of fire.”
Note: NAT Firewall can only be used with networks that use dedicated IP addresses- not idea for privacy and anonymity.
Why a NAT Firewall is especially important while on mobile
Browsing the internet without a firewall therefore leaves you exposed to hackers and bots that look for loop holes in your operating system. Since you have no protection against these requests, malicious traffic can reach your mobile device and may execute various exploits.
This is even aggravated by the fact that we regularly use our mobile phones to connect to public Wi-Fi hotspots, which are generally unencrypted.
Why doesn’t ExpressVPN use a NAT Firewall
Not all VPNs use a NAT Firewall, as some don’t see the need to. One of such VPNs is ExpressVPN, which is one of the most respected leaders in the market.
Since NAT Firewall requires every user to have a single IP address, it can’t be used everywhere.
This is because dedicated IP addresses reduce your privacy and anonymity, as your IP address and activities can be easily linked to you.
In a network that uses shared IP addresses, the server acts as a firewall by default, and so a NAT Firewall is not important. The Firewall is therefore only needed because assigning of unique IP addresses to each user can easily leave various ports open, presenting a chance for attack. The VPNs that offer unique IP addresses then use NAT Firewall to close these ports, but others sell it as an extra security feature.
Do I need a NAT Firewall alongside my VPN?
If your VPN offers dedicated IP addresses, then you definitely need a NAT Firewall. However, most of these VPNs usually have the NAT firewall bundled within the service such that you don’t have to pay extra for it.
The best of such VPNs are: