- By Corey Brown - By Corey Brown

Severed the book

© 2019 Corey Brown

Lesson #1: The Firewall

Education is critical to societal vibrancy. Knowledge is the cornerstone of every healthy civilization. Learning leads to higher thought, which leads to human achievement and advancement. Given these aphorisms, I periodically take it upon myself to discuss or introduce concepts and ideas to the laymen in my midst.


Translation: you’re in real trouble now, bubba. I’m getting ready to talk.


By the way, my name is Spinner, Rick Spinner. I carry an ID badge, I’m a consultant for this Large Corporation, and today I am your mentor. As they say, those who can, do; those who cannot, teach. So, here I am, teaching. Today’s lesson is about the Firewall.


Before I engage in the vagaries of the aforementioned virtual structure, let me provide a brief history of computer terminology in general. Byteheads, by nature, are both brilliant and insecure. Designing and building complex systems that calculate space flight, control the fuel mixture of a car or extract an obscure element of data from a massive database in seconds over the Internet is not easy. It takes brilliance to write the code, genius to design the hardware.

But those same folks are afraid we won’t like them. Odd as it sounds, the smartest people in the world worry about the opinions of idiots. So these bright individuals look for ordinary words to describe their extraordinary technology to morons who don’t think much of them in the first place. Figure that out.


Hence, the technology referred to as the ‘Firewall’.


To begin with, the Firewall should not be confused with the Ring of Fire, which is a Johnny Cash song about….well, who knows what? Yeah, it’s kind of a love song but, seriously, can you make sense of this? ‘Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring’. I hear that line and I think of hemorrhoids, which is not something one generally associates with love. In the end, it’s just silly talk.


There are three critical things to remember when considering which Firewall technology to employ:

1) Ring of Fire is not only silly talk, it is definitely not a Firewall.


2) The techno-wizards would have you believe that a software version of the Firewall actually protects against flames. Not true. Fire will ruin a perfectly good computer and the software on it. Fire will pretty much ruin any perfectly good thing.


3) If you actually do associate love with hemorrhoids, leave the planet. You are reducing the amount of available oxygen for the rest of us. Go now….go faster.


An obscure urban myth purports that the origin of the word ‘Firewall’, as it relates to computing, is conceptually found in the construction trade where a fireproof wall is used as a barrier to prevent the spread of fire between office or living spaces.

Pish-posh, more silly talk.


While the basic idea is the same----a barrier to prevent something bad---the virtual firewall is more aggressive and far more interesting. The word, as applied to computers, finds its roots in the ancient languages of Greek and Latin. The term Firewall, correctly translated is Parafotia; ‘Para’ is the Latin root for perimeter, and ‘fotia’ means fire in Greek. Thusly, we have a perimeter or wall of fire, or firewall.


And this is where the idea of a firewall in construction diverges from its computing counterpart. A virtual firewall serves not only to impede an attack, but to repel the enemy and do him harm. The Romans relied heavily on Parafotias during the battle of Lilybaeum to create walls of fire. These perimeters of fire were burning things that made….um….fiery rings.




I might have to rethink that hemorrhoid angle.