What is a Firewall?

I am going to go over the bare basics of firewalls, and if you need more than that there are TONS of firewall information sites out there! I know when I started to learn about firewalls years ago it was overwhelming at times!

A firewall's job is basically the same thing as a physical firewall! It keeps destructive sources AWAY from your property!

If you have been using the Internet for any length of time, and especially if you use one at work you may have heard the term FIREWALL before! You might have heard some coworkers mention they can't go to a certain site, because it won't let it pass the firewall!

The above picture may be a corporate setup, or a home network. You have the Internet with all its dangers, and the firewall basically helps to filter OUT some of the items you DON'T want near your company or home computer!

If firewall sees harm it won't allow you to view the material. Firewalls aren't perfect, and they can stop you from seeing or using perfectly fine websites. It doesn't have common sense like you and I, but there are ways to help override the firewall....NOT at work though!

The best way I can to describe it.......its like a traffic cop! It decides what will come in!

Nick At Work

Firewalls use filters to calculate what it feels safe at the time. Machines use what they call IP addresses. You can think of it like your house number if you will. Firewalls will block certain IP address, and we humans just see that we can't view a website! The domain name could be blocked. The Domain here for example is: http://computerbasicslearning.blogspot.com/.

Certain home computers will come with a firewall already installed, and other times you will need to purchase one. Its an extra layer of insurance that your computer will not come into harm. Your computer in this case would be considered the gateway. You are the access point for the computer to the Internet.

A hardware firewall would be your router if you have one at your home. You are connected to your router - that is connected to your modem...which you connect to the Internet thru! Routers can be configured to your needs, and you can set the filters to what you DON'T want in and what you do!

The firewall protects you from all kinds of crooks, nuts, and just plain NASTY people that are just looking for an unprotected computer to take advantage of!

They can take control of your computer, and run programs on it. At times they get into your personal files that you might have on the computer.

Certain programs may have they call 'backdoor' entrance. Its basically a hidden access to the program so they can control it.

They could use your email program to send out all kinds of ugly spam!

They could place an application on your computer, and basically make it crash!

It would infect your system with viruses.

Always be careful of the pop up ads, because they could place a backdoor program on your computer to use later!

There are more things that could happen, but these are just to name a few!

Firewalls have levels of protection, and I'm sure you are thinking the fullest protection possible! If you block everything it does defeat the purpose of the Internet to begin with! You can choose one of the upper levels, and as you surf the Internet tell the computer WHICH sites you know are safe!

Firewall programs do take come getting used to at times! The Vista firewall I have on my computer was a pain when I first got it! EVERY site I love to visit was blocked, and I to slowly tell the computer..........ITS OKAY ALREADY!

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