Do I need Firewall software? What does it do?

We would never leave our valuables in an unlocked home with a sign on the door that advertises how easy it would be for a thief to get in and steal them. Why then, do we leave our computers unprotected - potentially exposing our computers to viruses, and inviting hackers and other intruders to break in and steal our important documents? The answer may be that many people do not understand how insecure our computers are without firewall software.

1. What Is a Firewall Program?

Firewall software has been in existence since the late 1980s. Firewall software is a layer of security that monitors traffic on a computer network and prevents unauthorized Internet communications from accessing a computer. Instead of sealing a PC off completely, it allows communications through on a case-by-case basis depending on whether the communication is deemed safe or not by a set of established rules.

2. What Does a Firewall Program Do?

A firewall program protects your computer system from unauthorized file sharing, system activity, and helps to protect the computer system from hackers and unauthorized use. Think of it like a gatekeeper at a secure facility. Like a gatekeeper, firewall software only allows approved persons to access the network from the outside.

3. How Does a Firewall Work?

Like antivirus software, there are various ways that firewall software works to protect computer networks from outside intruders. Some of it sets up a proxy server that hides the network’s true address from others and prevents hackers from getting in. Other forms of firewall software filter packets of information as they pass through the firewall, accepting only those that fit certain defined rules. Still other firewall software will apply security rules to specific applications and network connections.

4. Why Do I Need Firewall Software?

You might be asking yourself the question; do I need firewall software? The answer to this question is always going to be yes. No one in today’s online world can afford to be exposed to all the myriad of intruders that exist online. Firewall software helps to ensure that your system is covered in case someone tries to access your computer system without permission. Those who do not install and use firewall software are routinely exposed to outside sources that may invade their computer system to install viruses, establish email spoofing, steal private information, among other things.

5. What Are Some of the Most Popular Firewall Programs Available?

Computer users have the advantage of choosing from many different quality firewall programs. For a minor investment, users can protect their networks from outside sources and thereby save the time, hassle, and money it takes to deal with identity theft, hard-drive recovery, and other problems later on. Here are some of the most popular antivirus software programs that also include firewall software applications.

    • Norton Internet Security 2015
    • ESET Smart Security 2015
    • Kaspersky Internet Security 2015
    • Avast! Internet Security 2015

Article last updated May 27, 2011.

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