Why you need a firewall — and understanding what firewalls can and cannot do: Internet ScamBusters #106
The #1 Publication on Internet Fraud
By Audri and Jim Lanford
Copyright © Audri and Jim Lanford
All rights reserved.
We know you’re very busy at this time of year, so we’ll keep this issue short.
Today we answer the question: How does a firewall work and how can it protect
OK. Let’s get right to it…
How Does a Firewall Work and How Can It Protect Your Computer?
Using a firewall is one of the most highly recommended cyber security practices
today. A good firewall, combined with up to date security patches and antivirus
and anti-spyware software, will protect you from many Internet scams and threats
that may come your way, including identity theft, credit card and other personal
What Is A Firewall?
A firewall is a barrier that protects a computer or network from anyone who tries
to access it from outside without authorization.
The firewall scans everything that goes through an Internet access point and filters
it based on customized settings.
There are two firewall varieties — hardware and software. A hardware firewall
is an actual piece of electronic equipment generally used by businesses with larger
Most home computer users use a software firewall instead, which is a program running
on your own computer that scans traffic going in and out through your Internet
connection and stops anything that looks suspicious.
A hardware firewall is generally more secure, and since prices are coming down
on them, some home users have chosen to set up one of these as well.
Why Do I Need A Firewall?
A firewall is critical if you have a permanent connection to the Internet, such
as through a cable modem or DSL service.
With these "always on" connections, anyone who knows what they are doing
can try to access your computer to run programs, access your information, or use
your email to send spaham (misspelled intentionally).
Independent tests show that without a firewall, a standard PC that is connected
to the Internet can be compromised in 10 to 20 minutes!
In the past, businesses have generally been more concerned about protecting their
information, but now home computer users should use a firewall as well, since
spyware, trojans, and virus emails are so widespread and dangerous.
For instance, if you have your financial records stored on your computer, someone
could access them and get all your credit card and banking information.
Is There Anything A Firewall Doesn’t Do?
Having a firewall installed does not mean you are permanently safe from any Internet
attack. A firewall won’t always stop a virus email, or adware or spyware from
attacking your computer.
To protect from these you need to have up to date antivirus software installed,
and a good spyware checker running.
However, a good firewall will go a long way towards protecting your computer and
all your personal information from unauthorized access. We’ll recommend a specific
firewall in a future issue.
Click here for more information on anti-virus
software and spyware.
Time to close. We wish you a very Merry Christmas.