What does Firewall Mean?


One of the dangers of going online is that you can be opening up your computer to uninvited guests. Unless you take precautions to protect this gateway, you could easily end up dealing with things like viruses, Trojans, spyware, and worms. One of the most important defenses against unwelcome intrusion is called a firewall – if you are using a company computer, this can even be used to prevent you from going online.

Firewalls Explained

Firewall is actually a term that is borrowed from the world of building construction. It refers to a barrier that is used to prevent the spread of fire from one area to another – this makes the fire easier to manage. A computer firewall shares some similarities with its real-world counterpart in that it acts to prevent the movement of data from one place to another. It can function on your computer to control both outgoing and incoming traffic.

A computer firewall can involve either hardware or software. It acts like a type of filter by examining packets of data to see if they meet certain criteria – sort of like a bouncer at a nightclub making sure customers are wearing the right type of clothing. The firewall can be configured to filter specific types of data, and this is what makes it so useful.

There are actually many different types of firewall used to protect computers and computer networks. A packet filtering system is usually to be found in a router, and it works by analyzing IP addresses – this type of firewall can prevent access to certain websites (for example, employers can prevents employees from accessing Facebook on office computers). A circuit-level entry firewall is able to filter using Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or User Datagram Protocol (UDP) as well as the IP address. Application firewalls filter by only allowing certain types of data to pass through the system. It is common for a security system to benefit from a combination of different types of firewall.

How to Use Firewalls

Firewalls can be used in lots of different ways. Large companies and organizations can use it to create their own intranet that is inaccessible to outsiders – this can be very important when dealing with private data. A company can also use this firewall so that only certain computers are able to access the internet. It is also possible to use it to raise the alarm if intruders are trying to access certain type of data. Another option is to set up a proxy service so that data is retried from the internet by the firewall and sent to exactly where it is needed.

A security suite is a premium antivirus product that usually comes with a feature called parental control. This clever use of a firewall allows parents to kid-proof the internet. This means using a firewall to prevent children from visiting certain websites or accessing certain types of data – parents even have the option of limiting access to just a handful of suitable online venues. The firewall could also be used to prevent kids from going online at certain types of the day.

Is a Firewall Enough to Keep My Computer Safe?

Firewalls do play a crucial role in keep your computer safe, but it is still important to have antivirus software installed on your computer. The problem is that the cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, so your defenses need to be constantly evolving. One of the great benefits of putting a quality antivirus product on your computer is that it is going to be regularly updated to keep you one-step ahead of the bad guys.

A computer platform like Windows does come with some software to combat malware attacks, and this is used in combination with firewalls to defend your computer. The problem is that this is only meant to as a first-line of defense, and it is not going to enough to keep you safe if you go online. Experts claim that it takes an average of 15 minutes online before you pick up a virus unless you have adequate protection on your computer. There are plenty of great antivirus software products to choose from, and these can offer you a high level of protection without costing you too much money.


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