BY JOHN DALLES
Any computer that connects to the Internet should use a firewall. A firewall is designed to protect your computer from intrusion. Firewalls are the first line of defense against security threats. Although not a panacea for all threats, a basic firewall is an important part of layered security.
A firewall is essentially a filter programmed to allow or block network data traffic. Some firewalls will automatically monitor and log suspicious network activity.
There are two types of firewalls: software and hardware.
One of the most important programs you can install on your computer is a software firewall. Software firewalls are very useful for allowing certain programs access to network resources. It is imperative to know what type of traffic to allow or deny. Microsoft includes an easy to understand built-in software firewall for current Windows operating systems.
A second type of firewall is called a hardware firewall. Hardware firewalls could be incorporated in your network as a router or modem. Most hardware firewalls are usually installed as a separate standalone device in large enterprise corporate networks to prevent outsiders from accessing proprietary business information. It is also recommended to use a knowledgeable network professional to configure your business firewall.
Using a software and hardware firewall are key tools in protecting your computer. By practicing safe browsing habits, you are less vulnerable to spyware, malware, and viruses. By using the following recommendations will also reduce your online exposure risk:
- Back up your hard drive regularly
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware programs
- Install the latest software program updates
- Set your operating system to update automatically
- Configure your browser security settings to medium or higher
- Don’t download files from peer to peer file sharing programs
- Discuss safe computing practices with your household family members
- Only use reputable software or downloaded programs from web sites you know and trust
Do you have a question about firewalls? Please feel free to leave a comment below!