It acts as a barrier (like a wall!) between your computer ports and the Internet and should close and hide ('stealth') all your unused ports. It allows you to control the data which passes to and from your ports.
Why should I use it?
Connecting your computer to the Internet without a firewall could result in it being hijacked by hackers.
Hijackers will use malicious codes such as viruses, worms and trojan horses to gain unauthorized access to unprotected/vulnerable computers.
A Computer Firewall is mandatory if you are going to be connecting to the Internet.
A large number of computer users do not realize how vulnerable they are to being attacked by Internet crooks. They, therefore, do not practice safe web surfing and this makes them vulnerable to the hacker.
Computer users need to protect their personal information and try to prevent their computers from being used by Internet crooks.
Get a Computer Firewall Installed Now
Using a firewall while being connected to the Internet should be your first step toward safer web surfing.
You should install a wired or wireless hardware router with a built-in firewall between your modem and your computer or network.
Types of Firewalls Available:
The three basic types of firewalls that are available are:
Note: If you have Windows XP installed on your computer, there is a built-in firewall installed. Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) has
the built-in firewall turned on by default. You must disable the Windows XP firewall if you have another firewall installed.
A software firewall is the most popular choice among individual computer users using single computers.
The advantage of this firewall is that it does not require any additional hardware or computer wiring. The disadvantage of this software is that it will only protect one computer; therefore, each additional computer at your disposal will need their own software installed thereby creating additional cost.
This is the best choice for home computer networking connected to the Internet. If you are connecting more than one computers, you should install a hardware firewall.
Hardware firewalls usually provide firewall protection for a number of computers and generally consist of at least four network ports to connect to other computers. The disadvantage of this type of firewall is that it will require wiring.
This allows you to connect a number of computers, peripherals and accessories without wiring.
If you will be using wireless networking, you will definitely need to be using a wireless router. The disadvantage of this type of firewall is that it uses radio signals and these signals might be captured externally by someone else and used maliciously.
"War Driving" is among one of these malicious practices. Individuals who drive through communities in motor vehicles equipped with laptops and high gain antennas "catching" signals from various households' wireless networks are guilty of "War Driving".
Using wireless networking, it is strongly recommended that you should secure it by applying any one of these two encryption methods:
WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) - Is a wireless networking standard for securing IEEE 802.11 wireless networks otherwise known as Wi-Fi. WEP uses an encryption key for authentication.
WPA and WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) - Is a type of system used to secure wireless networks (Wi-Fi). It was created to improve on certain shortcomings of WEP. WPA uses a "pass phrase" for authentication.
WPA and WPA2 should be used instead of WEP (if possible) since they offer stronger security for your wireless networking (Wi-Fi).
Your Firewall Protection Guidelines:
Use a firewall from a reputable vendor and ensure that it will be able to monitor all your incoming and outgoing traffic and will alert you for permission for this traffic to access your computer.
It should be able to hide your presence from intruders/hackers by totally blocking all access to your ports which are used to transmit your information.
Make sure that it is properly configured. If it is improperly configured, it will not provide adequate protection and will still make your computer vulnerable for attacks.
Select the highest security level for your Internet zone and all programs should be set to prompt you to be able to get access. This should include even programs that you use frequently.
Do not allow access to any program until its identity is established as trusted.
Your firewall should be able to inspect each individual packet of data.