What is a firewall program? A firewall program is software that
acts like a traffic cop that intercepts Internet traffic to and from
your computer. Like all good traffic cops, your firewall software should
stop any software program that breaks the traffic laws (hackers).
It is very important that your firewall program functions effectively
as your firewall program is your main defense against hackers that are
trying to break into your computer through your Internet connection.
If hackers gain entry into your computer they can cause all kinds of
mischief and thievery.
For Modem Users. If you use a modem, you are at a much lower
risk from Internet attackers. Frankly, most hackers don't want to waste
their time hacking into computers with slow Internet connections that
are rarely connected to the Internet.
However, just because you aren't the most desirable target, doesn't
mean you shouldn't run a firewall program. I suggest you at least use
the Windows XP Professional firewall or the free firewall programslike ZoneAlarm
if you don't want to buy a commercial firewall program.
I already use the firewall program in Windows XP Professional or Vista,
so I don't need another firewall program, do I? The Windows
firewall program is designed to block unauthorized access into
your computer. It does not block unauthorized traffic
from your computer to other computers.
So why is this bad? If a virus or worm gets into your computer,
it will have unlimited access to send anything it wants to any
other computer -- including personal information about you. Most
commercial firewall programs block access to and from your computer
- so even if a hacker gets into your computer, he still has to
defeat the firewall on the way out.
For High-speed DSL, Cable, FIOS, and Satellite Internet Users. You
are a primary target for Internet hackers. If a hacker gains access
to your computer, they have free reign to commit computer crimes, crash
your computer, steal your personal information, or attack other computers.
You need maximum firewall protection. A leading commercial firewall
program that is actively updated by the manufacturer is a must.
Examples of commercial firewall programs include: Norton
Personal Firewall, MCafee
Firewall, and PC-cillin.
How do you know if your firewall or antivirus program works? You
can test your firewall and antivirus program by downloading and running
a small program from one of the anti-virus providers mentioned above.
In addition to the online tests, daily use of your security programs
should also let you determine their effectiveness.
If you have a high-speed Internet connection your firewall program should
be blocking attacks at least once a week. Also, your antivirus software
should be reporting viruses it finds in e-mail attachments and from
other Internet downloads.
If you aren't getting reports that your antivirus and firewall program
are blocking attacks, then either your security programs aren't functioning
correctly, the blocking notifications are turned off, you are extremely lucky, or you are a very light Internet
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