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Not everyone intentionally leave their cars unlocked or the front of their homes open to strangers. But people often leave their computers wide open to anyone and everyone that may want to snoop.
To keep your computer safe from hackers, or anyone wanting to have a look in your computer, we need the help of something commonly called Firewalls.
A Firewall can be hardware or software that acts as a security guard to your computer. It does this by monitoring all internet traffic coming in and going out of our computers.
They not only allow the passage of this traffic but inspects all, making sure it is safe and do not contain viruses, any spyware, or other malicious software.
Firewalls direct internet traffic in two methods: Packet filtering and stateful inspection. A Packet is a portion of data and it contains the IP address of the computer it comes from and a destination address.
So you may be wondering what on earth an IP address is. Well, it is an identifier for your computer device. The layout of an IP address is a 32-bit numeric address written as four numbers separated by periods. If the Firewall recognizes the Packet and its IP Address, or it’s Internet Protocol Address, it allows the Packet to pass. The Stateful Inspection method looks at the some data in the Packet and compares key chunks of data to a large area that contains known, trusted information. The Stateful Inspection method is preferred since it checks the data that have passed through your computer before.
Hardware Firewalls are devices that are designed to run software Firewalls. You’re probably wondering why there are hardware firewalls. A huge advantage of having a Hardware Firewall is that the computer doesn’t have to do any work. The hardware running the software does all the work, thus leaving the CPU in the computer free to concentrate on other tasks. The CPU, or Central Processing Unit should be free as much as possible to keep the computer running at peak performance.
WHAT FIREWALLS PROTECT YOU FROM
There are many creative ways that people use to access or abuse your computer when it’s not secured. Someone is able to connect to your computer and control it in some form. This can range from being able to view or access your files to actually running programs on your computer. Some of the software Firewalls protect your computer from are the following.
Someone basically sends you the same e-mail hundreds or thousands of times until your e-mail system cannot accept any more messages. If you spend time on the internet often you will most likely experience this.
Firewalls may not protect you from all viruses. However, it would be worth your while to invest in good anti-virus software as added protection. Once you invest in a Firewall, study its owner’s manual to set it up. Always make sure it’s working. Test the Firewall by going online and visiting a security site. Go to www.grc.com and give their free Shields Up security test a try. If the Firewall passes, you will have the comfort of knowing your PC will have that added protection from someone stealing your credit card information or any valuable information. If you have not invested in a Firewall, don’t wait to give one a try. Your critical files and programs will be much safer and you will have the knowledge of being able to install Firewalls on the PC of your friends, enemies, and everyone else in between.