Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What is Computer Firewall?

What is Computer Firewall?

Before the internet and networks, the term “firewall” actually referred to a wall made of fireproof or fire resistant material that was built to protect a building or area in case a fire erupted in another part of the same structure. These walls were designed to insulate parts of a building from threat of fire, for example, between separate apartment units or between the garage and the main part of a home.

In 1988, the NASA Ames Research Center reported the first known internet virus attack, and since then the online community has been building the best “firewall” software programs or hardware to protect a computer or network from external threats such as viruses, hackers, and worms that come through a network connection. With our increasingly connected world, a threat on one computer or machine can quickly threaten hundreds, even millions, of other connected devices. To prevent the need for excessive computer repair, it’s important to protect your machine with a good firewall.

Two Types of Firewalls

The two main types of firewalls are either software or hardware. The features and benefits of each are different, so it’s important to understand each so you know which one will be most beneficial for your situation. If you have questions about firewalls, talk to the experts at Computer Fix Salt Lake City to find out more.

Hardware Firewalls

These are often referred to as “network firewalls”, consisting of an external device between your computer and your internet connecting. If you’re using your computer at home, this type of protection is often built right into the broadband router so you can connect several machines or devices through one router and they will all be protected. Even if you only have one computer, a firewall can still be a valuable form of protection.

In larger network environments, such as a company, the same physical firewall may be used, but instead of being in a small router, it will likely be larger, and will be housed in the server or IT area of the company, protecting several dozen (or even several hundred) machines at once.   

Software firewall

While hardware firewalls are one form of protection, they are not the only recommended line of defense. In fact, most computers also run a software firewall that monitors all the incoming and outgoing traffic through the network and identifies potential threats.

Many of today’s operating systems, such as Windows or Mac, include a built-in firewall that users should take advantage of. In order to get the maximum protection from this available firewall, ensure that it is turned on in your general settings.

There are also several third-party vendors that offer programs called an “internet security suite” for virus protection, spyware, malware, and other common internet threats.

The right kind of firewall can not only provide great protection from the myriad of external threats designed to bring harm to your machine to avoid computer repair, it can also help improve your internet connection and the performance of your broadband service.

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