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Packet filtering investigates the headers of each packet attempting to cross the firewall and uses the IP addresses, port numbers, and protocol type (collectively known as the 5-tuple) contained therein to determine the packets’ legitimacy.
There are two types of packet filter firewalls, stateless and stateful. Stateless firewalls retain no memory of traffic that has occurred earlier in the session. Stateful firewalls do remember previous traffic and can also investigate the application data in a packet. Thus, stateful firewalls can handle application traffic that may not be destined for a static port.