A firewall is an application that controls traffic to and from a computer or network and either permits or denies communication based on a set of rules within a security policy.
Conventional and Personal Firewalls
There are two different types of firewalls. A conventional firewall is designed to protect joined networks while a personal firewall is designed to protect an individual computer.
Personal firewalls are useful for machines that move across various networks. For example, if you use a laptop computer as a personal device you are most likely connecting to various Wi-Fi networks. You may connect to the internet from your home, office, a coffee shop, or library.
If you’re using a trusted and secured network, such as one at your home or office then a conventional firewall will do the job. However, if you’re connecting to an unsecure network such as at a coffee shop your computer will remain unprotected. If you’re using your computer in this way you should invest in a personal firewall to maintain your safety and privacy.
A personal firewall restricts access that programs on your computer have with the internet. When a program attempts to create an outbound connection, the firewall may either block it or ask if you would like to continue the connection.
Firewalls use preventative measures to stop threats before they happen.
There are many features that a personal firewall has:
- Alerts or blocks the user when there is an unauthorized outbound or inbound attempt to connect with your computer.
- It lets the user control which programs have access to the internet and/or local area network (LAN) and they give the user info about the application that makes the attempt.
- Hide your computer from port scans by not responding to network traffic that’s unsolicited.
- Monitors applications that listened for incoming connections.
- Monitors and regulates all outgoing and incoming internet users.
- Prevents unwanted traffic from the network from applications that are locally installed.
- Provides information about the destination server with which an application is trying to communicate with.
- Tracks recent outgoing, incoming, and intrusion events to find out who has gained access or tried to gain access to your computer.
- Prevents and blocks hacking attempts or attacks from hackers.
Firewalls are far from perfect. They definitely have their limitations
- If your computer has been infected by spyware, malware, or similar software, these threats can manipulate your firewall. It may even be possible for a threat to bypass or shut down firewalls.
- A firewall can’t notify you of a threat, if it hasn’t been properly configured.
- Firewalls can’t protect your entire network from an attack.
- False alarms generated by a firewall can desensitize a computer user to alerts about actions that aren’t malicious.
Firewalls are a great addition to your computer security system but they should not be used as your only defense against malicious attacks to your computer. It’s important to use safe internet surfing practices and an antivirus software, such as Safebytes Total System Care, to protect your computer.