A dedicated gateway machine with special security precautions on it, used to service outside network, especially Internet, connections and dial-in lines. The idea is to protect a cluster of more loosely administered machines hidden behind it from crackers. The typical firewall is an inexpensive microprocessor-based Unix machine with no critical data, with modems and public network ports on it, but just one carefully watched connection back to the rest of the cluster. The special precautions may include threat monitoring, call-back, and even a complete iron box keyable to particular incoming IDs or activity patterns.
Firewalls often run proxy gateways.
Synonym flytrap, Venus flytrap.