How to protect your computer with a firewall

The most important and effective way to protect your computer.

How do firewalls prevent viruses?

If you use a computer at home, the most effective and important first step you can take to help protect your computer is to turn on a firewall.

A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that helps screen out hackers, viruses, and worms that try to reach your computer over the internet. In that sense it acts more as a filter than a wall, screening out threatening communications.

Firewalls function using a system of either inclusive or exclusive parameters, allowing specific types of communication in and excluding others.

Generally, a firewall is controlled by an access control list, which has a particular set of guidelines that allow or resist access to specific computer communications.

Most computers have a firewall built-in and turned on by default, but that is just a good starting point and you should build your defences from there.

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 in your home to help prevent the spread of a virus in your network if one of the computers becomes infected.

Software firewalls are easy to install and protect your computer from malware, cookies, email viruses, pop-up windows, and more. Along with desktop computers, mobile devices can be installed with firewalls to protect online activity on the go.

If the firewall you install does not work for you, you can try others, but you cannot run two different firewalls at the same time.

To uninstall a firewall and try a new one, go to Start, scroll down to Windows System > Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Firewall. Select Turn Windows Firewall on or off. You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

Have you purchased specialist firewall protection for your computer? Or do you use the default firewall? Have you ever had an issue with viruses or malware making it through your firewall?



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    13th Feb 2018
    As I'm first up I may as well come clean by admitting I'm barely computer literate, I get by - most-times. In the event of a problem and when my tedious process of trial and error fails me I then call on the expertise of our 18 YO neighbour who seems to delight in 'clicking' wildly for a few minutes, corrects the problem and throws in a glib comment like - "that was simple, anything else". Grrr!

    Yes, we purchased a 'security package' a little over a year ago - recently renewed - and for the little more than $100 this represents peace of mind. Prior to the initial purchase we (like most folk perhaps) simply had the basic 'AVG free'. The current deal posts updates if and when a 'threat' has occurred, it blocks cookies, ads and restricts contact from family members (joke). Although we are happy with this product it is little different to everything else on I.T. in that they regularly plague clients to flog their product, ie, 'update to the next level'.

    We purchased initially due to involvement in a Citizen Jury process and this involved a good deal of online research. Most academic research sites require registration and in quite a number of instances the author's of research papers need to be contacted for approval to access their work. I was somewhat surprised at the degree of open access to some of the American Govt sites, eg Military, Dept of Energy and State(s) Legislature. Interestingly a number of these when followed up after initially 'getting in' were found to have been "withdrawn", best not follow that conspiracy path though. I mention this because at the time the number of "Threats blocked" by our security product quite astounded me.

    Still if some of the publications I've recently read are to be believed then all the smarties in Silicon Valley and the relevant Government cyber creeps can (& sometimes do) worm their way into most any system if they feel the need. Peace of mind or paranoia - you judge.
    14th Feb 2018
    I use eset security. Covers all risks.

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