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Keep Your Data Safe Behind a Firewall

Computer viruses! Worms! E-mail viruses! Trojan Horses! The media is always full of stories about computer viruses infecting computers all over the world, or companies scrambling to fix security holes in their software by releasing security updates. What can businesses or individuals to protect their computer? Installing a firewall may be one answer.

What is a firewall?
1]At its most basic level, a firewall acts as a barrier between your home network and the Internet. Just like a physical firewall was designed to stop fire spreading to certain parts of a building, a software firewall is designed to prevent viruses and out harmful software from spreading from the Internet onto your home network.

2]The firewall itself is a piece of software that is usually run by a piece of hardware like your cable modem or router. That way it can act as the first line of defense for your home network. I

3]f the firewall was only contained on your own computer, if you have other computers set up on a wireless network it would not be able to protect them.

4]The firewall’s primary function is to act as a gateway for all Internet traffic coming into your home network. Whenever the firewall receives any traffic, also known as a network packet, it will first analyze its contents to make sure it is safe.

5]If the firewall determines that the traffic is not dangerous, it will redirect it to your computer.

The Importance of Having a Firewall
1]While the first computer viruses were transported from computer to computer by floppy disks, computer viruses today can cover the globe in the blink of an eye over the Internet.

2]And they’ve probably made it to your computer. You have likely had to deal with the consequences of spy ware and other malicious programs that had have crawled onto your computer while you were browsing the Internet.

3] And as a consequences, you’ve probably spent hours and hours trying to get rid of all the spy ware and other malicious programs that have taken up residence on your computer.

2]Even if you think your computer is virus free, you are probably wrong. That is why spy ware and viruses are so dangerous; you could be using your computer with no idea that they’re there.

4]Firewalls Will Protect your Computer
A firewall puts a wall between your home network and the Internet. Just like a real firewall keep fire from spreading from one area to another, a software firewall tries to keep computer viruses from spreading from the Internet onto your home computer or home network.

5]The firewall itself is a piece of software that is usually run on your router or cable modem. By attaching itself to this hardware, the firewall is the first thing any incoming traffic from the Internet meets.

6]The firewall’s job is to act to filter all of the traffic from the Internet that comes onto your home network. Whenever a network packet tries to come onto your home network, it has to make it by the firewall first. The firewall will analyze the packet to make sure it isn’t a viruses or some other undesirable communication.

7] If the firewall gives it the all clear, it will let the packet continue on its journey to your home network.

How does a firewall works
1]How does the firewall determine what traffic is safe and what traffic is dangerous? The first way is user-defined parameters. You could, for instance, block traffic from specific IP addresses or Internet domains. However, this is of only limited use, since you can’t be expected to keep track of and list the thousands and even millions of sites on the Internet that could harm your computer.

2]More useful is the work the firewall can do itself by screening incoming traffic to make sure it corresponds to the kind of traffic you would want to receive. For instance, while the firewall would let traffic sent from a website through to your computer, it would block someone trying to log on to your computer remotely.

3]Connecting your computer will always expose your home network to some risk, no software or hardware can remove the problem completely. By using a firewire, however, you can limit the risk to a large extent and allow you to use the Internet without worrying about infecting your home computers.

How does a Firewall Know what Traffic is Good?
1]The firewall will use user-defined parameters and automatic parameters to decide whether the traffic should be let through or la belled dangerous and blocked. As the user, you could configure the firewall to block all traffic coming from a specific IP address. Obviously, you won’t be able to do this for all the malicious sites on the Internet – this list would be far, far too long!

2]For this reason, the firewall will automatically screen incoming traffic to make sure it corresponds to the kind of traffic you would want to receive by running it through a set of predetermined parameters. For instance, the firewall will usually let traffic sent from a website through to your computer, but it will not let someone remotely login to your computer.

3]No matter what software or hardware you use, you will always be putting your computer at risk when you connect it to the Internet.

4]You can limit this risk as much as possible, however, by using a firewall. A firewall will let you access all the wonderful resources of the Internet without staying awake all night worrying about your home network.