Do I Need a Firewall?

Posted by Administrator on Feb 10 2011
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The very short, simple answer is: yes! With all that's going on on the internet these days, it's too risky to sit with your computer exposed to the internet. This applies to everyone, even if you are on dialup. 

I once told a friend that he should install a firewall but he didn't think it was necessary because he was on dialup and didn't stay connected too long.  I wasn't surprised when I  received an SOS call 4 help when his Win2K computer was infected on day. He had only been on internet for a few minutes when much to his surprise AGV (anti-virus) told him he was infected with a virus. This is just one of the many things that could happen to you without a firewall.

You need to understand a firewall is to protect you from the bad guys on Internet. IN this day and age, would you go out and leave the doors to you home wide open? That's what you do with out having a firewall. Just like there are people who would walk into you home and help themselves and/or wreck the place, there are malicious people on the internet looking for the chance to get into your computer. You may not have anything on you computer for them to steal but is that really what they really are looking for? Actually other that causing you problems, they often want to make use of your computer without you knowing what is going on. right now your computer could be helping to spread a virus, hosting illegal files for download or launching denial of service attach against other computer systems.

A fire wall that is set up correctly will not block your access out to the internet. You will be able to browse the web, download your mail and do everything you would normally do. A firewall stops connections to your computer that you have not requested. some firewalls (software) also stop programs on your computer from accessing Internet without your permission. You could be surprised at the out connections that are maid witout you knowing.

there are two kinds of firewalls, hardware or software. In most cases, if you are on dialup, software is the way to go as hardware firewalls are not readily available. For ASDL and Cable (high speed) connections, you should really consider a hardware router. this is especially true if you plan to setup a home network as most current routers also include at least a 4 port switch for connecting up your other computers.

There is no excuse for not having one! There are several excellent free software firewalls available for download on the Internet. For Windows XP users, at minimum, you should turn on the the basic one the is included. You can find in the "Local Area Network" properties, under the "Advanced" Tab.

Are you protected? There are several websites where you can run a free test to see if your computer is open to the Internet. Run a before and after test to see how your fire wall protects you. One of the better test sites is  Gibson Research and run "Shields Up"  for an  analysis of how well you are protected.

You can find a free software firewall by using a search engine such as Google: - search for free firewall. Don't assume the most popular one is the best. A lot depends on your personal preferences. In most cases, what is best is the one that you can most easily get help with when needed. You can also take a look at our "Free Software Page" for the programs that we recommend, based on our personal experience.

Last changed: Feb 10 2011 at 12:29 AM

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