Personal firewall software security - how firewalls work

By: Eduardo R. Zayas-Quiñones

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This is how personal computer firewalls work

Personal firewall software works by controlling the types of communication going out of and coming into your computer. Their purpose is to protect the information and application programs in your computer from malicious attacks originating from the Internet or even from your company's network.

Available firewall products

Several firewall applications are available on the market these days. You may even find some of these applications on the Internet free and ready to download. However, beware - in many cases you do get what you pay for - particularly in terms of support. Besides proven functionality (good reviews and reputation) you should also consider purchasing an application that provides both, firewall and virus protection. Some of the products described later on this page provide virus protection, firewall defense and more.



Product and Link



The Norton Internet Security 2006 applicationsuite by Symantec, besides providing virus detection and removal provides also features like privacy controls, parental controls, monitoring of inbound and outbound emails for viruses, monitoring of Instant Messaging attachments for viruses and integration with Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Eudora to filter out SPAM mail.



This product provides advanced controls for granting an application Internet access, for a specified session only. integration links to an anti-hacking database and Worldwide Hacker Activity Map, offering tips on responding to specific attacks, self-testing tools and channels to email online authorities of hacker events. Auto-updates run silently in the background, ensuring you’re always protected from evolving and emerging security threats.

Windows XP Firewall

If you use Windows XP Professional, you should know that this Operating System has a built-in Firewall. You must "turn it on" before it starts working. To enable your XP Firewall or configure it manually, click on "Start", "Control Panel", "Network Connections". Then doubleclick on the particular connection you want to protect, click on "Properties" and "Advanced". Select "Protect my computer and network this computer by limiting or preventing access to this computer from the Internet."

Author's recommendation

A firewall is one of the best investments you can make to protect the programs and information stored on your computer while you are connected to the Internet or on a networked environment like your office. I have personally installed and used Black Ice Defender, McAfee Personal Firewall and Norton Personal Firewall and Internet Security product versions 2004, 2005 and 2006. I have also used XP Professional's built-in firewall. Right now I use Norton Internet Security 2006 Personal Firewall with bundled antivirus protection on one of my laptop computers. On another laptop I use Norton 2006 Antivirus software along with XP's built in firewall. I decided to purchase and install Norton because it provided firewall and virus protection as well as other handy features like integration of SPAM control with MS Outlook. Another reason I am happy with the Norton product is that the application checks for new virus definitions on a frequent basis and does it automatically.

There are dozens of other similar products out there - I will not recommend an application I would not purchase for my own use.

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Copyright © 2002-2006 Ed Zayas