Firewalls and You

You see the term “firewall” pop up on your home screen from time to time, or maybe you hear it casually mentioned in a conversation regarding computer security, but do you know exactly what a firewall is or what it does? Or what about the importance of it?

In a nutshell, a firewall is a security system for your network, that controls what you allow in and out of your network traffic based on the security rules you set. Sometimes you can look in the web address bar and see photo of a lock, which lets you know the website you are visiting is a trusted secure network, however if the network is unsecured or not something your system recognizes, a pop up message will occur alerting you of the situation, providing a layer of protection against the unknown site, and your critical data.

Now, although the term “firewall” is pretty general, there are actually different types of firewalls depending on where the communication is taking place, where the communication is being intercepted, and the state that is being traced. A few of the following are varieties of firewalls you may encounter:

-Network layer or packet filters
-Application-layer
-Proxies
-Network address translation

Now you might be asking yourself; “do I really need this?”, and the answer is yes. Basically, it is helping prevent hackers, viruses and worms that are trying to reach your computer over the internet. Certain systems like Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP SP2 have a higher firewall built-in and they are turned on by default. But, just because you have a firewall protecting one computer on your home, that doesn’t mean your other computers are safe from the dangers lurking around.

It’s vital to protect every computer, with both a hardware firewall (like a router) in order to protect your network, and a software firewall (in your computer) to prevent a virus in your network if one of your computers gets infected, from passing on to another computer.

Still have questions about a firewall or just overall network security? Call us today, and schedule an appointment with one of our professionals.

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