Firewalls are easily considered one of the most essential features of security for your computer. A firewall is a network security system that controls the incoming and outgoing network traffic based on applied rule set. A firewall establishes a barrier between a trusted, secure internal network and another network (e.g., the Internet) that is assumed not to be secure and trusted.
Why do you need a firewall? Today’s firewalls secures services and connections in your home or office network. When you connect to a public Wi-Fi connection, some services and connections will be blocked by the firewall. What is blocked and what is allowed is dependent upon how the firewall is configured. Blocking those connections is vital to your computer’s security.
Hardware and Software Firewalls
The hardware firewall in a broadband router is primarily concerned with keeping bad stuff from the outside from getting in. The limitation of this type of firewall is that it typically treats any kind of traffic traveling from the local network out to the Internet as safe, which can sometimes be a problem. For example if your computer has a malicious program that sends out spam messages, a hardware firewall would not stop that from happening.
Software firewalls run on the computers individually. A software firewall is able to take a closer look at malicious traffic and intercept it before it leaves your computer. According to Microsoft, the most effective and important first step you can take to help protect your computer is to turn on the Windows firewall. If you have more than one computer connected to a network, it is important to protect every computer. You should have a hardware firewall (such as a router) to protect your network, but you should also use a software firewall on each computer to help prevent the spread of a virus in your network if one of the computers becomes infected.
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