Your Firewall: How Does It Work?

by: Lawrence Heller

The term firewall may not be new to you, but if asked why you need it and exactly how it works, very few of us will be able to provide an accurate answer. A firewall protects your computer and the files you are working on from unwanted users and programs, while you are logged on to the Internet.

Unprotected files may be attacked by hackers who, with the use of harmful codes and programs, gains access to your personal information and may go as far as stealing your identity and using your credit card information for his/her personal interest. So, what exactly does a firewall do?

A firewall brings an end to theft and also hinders potentially harmful programs from infecting other files. This explains the name of such a program too. Its work is akin to that of a firewall that checks the spread of fire from one area to the other.

A firewall makes a hacker’s invasion into your computer system futile because the latter can never access your passwords or your credit card information. The firewall software installed in your computer permits only useful data but bars all seemingly harmful data from accessing your system.

Good or safe data is what you get when you are visiting web sites and downloading photos or data files. Harmful data, on the other hand, is anything that keeps a close watch on what you do on the Internet without your knowledge. A typical example is the hacker program. Such programs are blocked by the firewall quite effectively.

With the enabling of computer firewall protection, anything that enters and leaves your computer is regulated. This is one way of preventing spyware and adware from attacking your computer network. Also, deadly programs on the Internet can be left out with the use of firewalls.

Laymen often believe that the anti-virus software installed in their computer allows protection against hackers too. The anti-virus should always be updated to check the presence of viruses but it hardly shields your computer against attacks by hackers.

No matter what type of connection you have, be it dial-up, cable, broadband or DSL, your computer is at risk every time you connect to the Internet. Hackers are always on the lookout to harm you and steal your identity.

A firewall protection is probably the most effective way to keep your personal information and identity away from the dirty hands of hackers.

I hope this article has given you a preliminary but a fair idea of what firewall protection is all about. Since you are in the know now, it will make you a more informed and educated Internet user.