DATA DOCTORS

Firewalls are the first line of defense for internet users

Jun 12, 2021, 5:00 AM
(Piqsels Photo)...
(Piqsels Photo)
(Piqsels Photo)

Q: What does a firewall do and is it something I need to get?

A: In the early days of the Internet, we often connected through a dial-up modem or some other form of direct connection.

When you connected in this way, your computer was assigned a public IP address, which meant that it was directly accessible by others on the Internet.

It was important to install a software firewall to block direct access to your computer when you were connected to the Internet. Popular consumer-focused firewalls like Zone Alarm also monitored outgoing traffic to alert the user when suspicious activity was detected.

Today, we generally connect to the Internet through a wired or wireless router that allows lots of devices to share a single Internet connection.

The router also provides hardware-based firewall protection by assigning every device connected to it a local IP address, which is only accessible by other devices on that local network.

Consider it your first layer of protection against unauthorized access from the outside world.

Windows firewall

If your computer is running the Windows operating system, there’s also a firewall built into Microsoft Defender. It adds an additional layer of protection for inbound traffic and also monitors outgoing traffic for suspicious activity.

If you want to see if it’s enabled, go to the Settings -> Update & Security-> Windows Security -> Firewall & network protection.

You’ll see three network types listed: domain, private and public with an indication of whether the firewall is enabled for each one.

Domain networks are when you are part of a business network controlled by an IT department that would generally determine and control whether this firewall is used or not.

Private networks are those that don’t use domain services and represent the typical home or small business network.

Public networks like those at coffee shops, hotels and airports are where having the firewall enabled is important, since you won’t have the protection provided by your router.

For the best protection when on public networks, it’s best to connect using a VPN (Virtual Private Network).

macOS firewall

Apple computer users also have a firewall built into the operating system, which can be accessed by going to System Preferences -> Security & Privacy and click on the Firewall tab at the top.

If you want to make a change, you’ll need to click on the lock in the bottom left corner and enter your OS password.

Internet security software firewalls

Just about every Internet security software program these days includes firewall protection, which can be more sophisticated than the ones built into operating systems.

You can run into some problems if both are running, so you’ll need to specifically search the support section of your product’s website to see if you need to disable it or not.

In some cases, your built-in firewall can be disabled during the installation process of your security software, so don’t be alarmed if it’s disabled.

If your computer connects to a business network, it’s important to contact the IT department to discuss changes before you make them to avoid conflicting security issues.

Data Doctors

(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

Tips to understanding full virus scan information

Depending upon your setup, there are a few things you can check for to help you understand what and where files are stored on your computer.
2 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

A handful of free and easy video editors for beginners

For those looking to get into video editing, here are a few options that work directly on smartphones, computers and tablets.
9 days ago
(Photo by Budrul Chukrut/Getty Images)...
Data Doctors

Here are tips for speeding up your Chrome browser

If you love using your Google Chrome browser, but it seems to be boggling down, here are a few tricks to speed things up.
16 days ago
In this photo illustration, the Virtual Private Network (VPN) is seen displayed on a smartphone. 
T...
Data Doctors

Using your VPN to get around local sports blackouts

For those that have cut the cable and gone to streaming services, one challenge has always been accessing live sporting events.
30 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Data Doctors

How to help stop the junk text messages from coming in

If it seems like you’re getting more junk text messages recently, you aren’t alone.
1 month ago
MUKACHEVO, UKRAINE - MARCH 22, 2022 - A worker touches the laptop at the call centre of the Mukache...
Data Doctors

Here is how Starlink satellite internet has been evolving for users

Despite all of the updates to the network and equipment, it’s still not an option for those that live in densely populated areas. Starlink is focused on underserved rural areas that typically don’t have good internet service options, so it’s not likely ever going to be an alternative to cable and DSL services in big cities.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Christina O’Haver

Stroke month: Experts call attention to stroke prevention

Every 40 seconds—that’s how often someone has a stroke in the United States. It’s the fifth leading cause of death among Americans, with someone dying of a stroke every 3.5 minutes.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Have you gotten your booster shot?

Do you remember when you got your last COVID-19 vaccination? If it has been more than five months since you completed your primary vaccination series, it’s time for you to get your booster. You may be eligible even sooner depending which vaccine you received. If you are over the age of 50 and received your […]
Firewalls are the first line of defense for internet users