A Firewall is a Security System 

A Firewall is a Security System

Notwithstanding some happening, the Internet doesn???t have to be a scary place. Just as you lock the front door to your home, it???s important to protect your PC. One of the best ways to protect your PC or your home or small business network from malicious hackers is to use a Firewall. Consumer-level firewalls provide good security without requiring that you be a computer security expert.
What is a Firewall?
A firewall is a security system designed to prevent unauthorized access from the Internet to or from your network. A firewall works by screening out many types of malicious traffic. In addition, firewalls can help keep your computer from participating in attacks on others without your knowledge. Firewalls take the form of hardware, software, or both and I will do some explanation about various kinds of firewalls and will help you choose the right one for your network.
Hardware firewall
Hardware firewall products protect your computer and home network by guarding your Internet connection and filtering any requests that you haven???t specifically allowed. Software firewalls are installed directly on your PC, and filter requests after they reach your computer.
For maximum security, the most reliable way for home users to protect a network is to purchase a router with firewall capabilities. These routers do more than act as a firewall???they network multiple computers, allow them to share a single Internet connection, and may even support wireless networking. If you have more than one computer and an always-on broadband connection, a router-firewall gives you the benefits of a home network and connects every computer to the Internet. If you bring a laptop home from work, it may even be a requirement of your company???s security policy.
The router is generally a separate device from the cable or DSL modem???it???s important to understand that most cable and DSL modems offer your home network no protection whatsoever. If you didn???t choose to pay extra for security features, you probably don???t have any. If you???re unsure about your modem, ask your Internet service provider (ISP) what level of protection your modem provides.
Software Firewalls
Software firewalls are often less expensive and easier to configure than hardware firewalls. Software firewalls also don???t require you to move any cables around. Depending on the software you choose, a software firewall can offer features beyond those of router firewalls, such as protecting your computer from spy ware (a component of some free software that tracks your Web browsing habits) and Trojan horses ( a program that claims to do one thing, but does another, malicious thing, such as recording your passwords. If you travel with a laptop, a software firewall is a necessity???you need protection wherever you connect to the Internet, and your hardware firewall can protect you only at home.
To Choose Hardware or Software Firewall?
You wouldn???t park your car and leave your keys in the ignition, and you shouldn???t connect to the Internet without a personal firewall. No matter what type of computer or network you have, there???s a firewall to meet your needs.
If you have a stand-alone computer or connect to the Internet with a dial-up connection, a software firewall is the right choice. A hardware firewall is more complex to configure, but once you get it set up; it runs on its own to protect your network.
Can firewall replace anti-virus software?
Note that firewall software does not replace anti-virus software so you should use both to protect your network.
So combined with a software-based firewall, you???ve got maximum security for your network. And whichever you choose, you???ll find using the Internet much more enjoyable when you???re nestled safely behind a firewall.

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Wed Jul 7, 2004 4:44 pm MST by government grants

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