Guest Author - Cathy Spearmon
If you’re using DSL, cable modem or an “always” connection, it’s a good idea that you protect your system with a personal firewall. This is critical since your computer is always live and most like has a fixed IP. Firewalls are systems designed to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private network connected to the Internet. By inspecting each packet of data it can be determined whether it should be permitted to get or from your machine. A TCP/IP port is only open to your computer if the first packet received is permitted to pass to through the port to your computer. If the packet is ignored, then the port disappears from the Internet and no one can connect to it. It has the ability to select what it lets pass through and what it blocks. Every packet that arrives must contain a correct IP address of the sender’s machine, the firewall selectively filters packets based on the combination of the originating machine’s IP address and port and the destination machine’s IP address and port. A personal firewall can help you protect your computer against hostile attacks. The longer you’re connected to the Internet, the more likely you’ll be attacked. If you are sent an infected email that installs a backdoor on your computer, a personal firewall will prevent access to your computer through the backdoor.
The following are examples of personal firewalls currently on the market.
ZoneAlarm – This is a free utility to lock down TCP traffic for Windows 95/98/NT/2000. It installs a system tray utility that you can turn off and on.
BlackICE Defender is an anti-hacker system that scans your DSL, cable modem or dial-up connection for hacker activity. Once it detects an intrusion, it automatically blocks traffic from the source.
McAfee Personal Firewall works on Windows 95/98 machines. You configure it to log and ignore packets that may potential crash your computer. It also protects your computer against malicious Trojans.
Sygate Personal Firewall protects your data from vicious intruders. Perfect for DSL and cable connections.
Norton Internet Security 2001 is a personal firewall that protects your computer against hackers, viruses and keeps your personal data safe.
ESafe Desktop is a free comprehension content protection suite for PCs. It protects your system against viruses, vandals, inappropriate content and data exposure.
With the wave of broadband technology comes the wave of concern for security. Hackers prey on the vulnerability of your software to steal information and vandalize your system. Protecting your system and data from malicious attacks is of the utmost importance. Don’t become a victim, just put up a wall. A firewall.