In the virtual world, just as in the real world, firewalls are constructed to keep danger out. In the real world, firewalls are built to keep fire from spreading from the point of origin to other rooms. In the virtual world, firewalls keep internet intruders from hacking into your computer to destroy, alter, or steal your data.
Today’s computer security systems use a combination of hardware and software to construct computer firewalls. Both hardware and software firewalls operate by filters that monitor access to and from the internet.
Computers and network routers usually come with firewall programming installed. These programs can be accessed to tweak the filtering if necessary. Businesses often erect thick walls that prevent unnecessary access from the outside.
Software firewalls are often apart of your network or computer security program. Applications like McAfee, Norton, and others allow users to erect customized firewalls that address their specific vulnerabilities and give access to questionable programs on an individual basis. In addition to commercial firewall software, the open source community offers a variety of firewall software programs.
Common desktop firewalls control both inbound and outbound network traffic. Desktop firewalls often detect malware secretly installed on the computer which tries to access the internet. If not stopped, malware sends computer viruses to everyone on your contact list.
The Downside of Firewalls
While firewalls are absolutely necessary for computer safety and security, the can prove troublesome with some computer software and for gamers. The answer is to become familiar with both your hardware and software firewalls. Learn how to adjust the filters to allow specific applications to run. In some cases, like online gaming, it’s necessary to adjust the filters during gaming. Once the gaming sessions ends, return the filters to the more stringent firewall settings.
The first step in data security is the firewall. Taking the time to assess your computer and network’s current vulnerability, will help you determine whether you need to enhance or replace your current firewalls.