Why do I need a Firewall?

A firewall is essentially a security application that regulates information and access between the internet and a computer. Firewalls are also used to regulate traffic between computer networks, but for the average home computer user, a firewall is a tool specifically to protect them from the dangers of the internet. Windows operating systems come with a built-in firewall, so, why would you need to enlist the aid of a 3rd party firewall?

Not to take anything away from Windows Firewall, which is an effective basic product, but it does not offer anything close to the protection of the firewalls provided by leading antivirus and internet security companies. With the sophistication of hackers increasing all the time, youíll want a firewall that is also constantly evolving and being updated with the latest security information.

One common misconception is that only computers connected to the internet via broadband or some other type of high speed connection need a firewall. While it is true that these types of computers are more frequently targeted by thieves, that does not mean that computers on a dial-up connection are necessarily safe. Any computer connected to the internet needs to have an effective firewall running.

Without a firewall, your computer would be completely vulnerable to attack from the internet. Hackers could easily connect to your computer, transmit harmful information, and even steal your personal information and data.

One big difference between the basic Windows Firewall and more advanced firewall programs is that Windows Firewall only regulates incoming requests. The reason this still leaves you so vulnerable is because if you happen to contract a virus or some other type of malware, that malicious program may take your information and attempt to relay it to the criminal that distributed the harmful code in the first place. For instance, if you contract spyware that steals the online usernames and passwords you have saved in your browser, the virus will then attempt to send that information back to the source of that malware. If you have an effective firewall application running, however, such a transmission may not be allowed to occur.

Similarly, having a router that controls access to your home computer network is similar to the above scenario. You computer router will not allow non-trusted incoming requests, but it has no way to regulate outgoing requests. A powerful firewall is still needed to totally protect all of the computers on your network.

Another reason that the basic firewall as well as the firewall protection provided by routers is inadequate is simply because the technology is somewhat outdated. Hackers, for the most part, have already developed ways to get around these basic types of firewalls, and routinely do so in efforts to steal information or harm computers.

Upgrading to a full service firewall will give you the peace of mind of knowing that you are being protected by the latest technology that is constantly being improved upon by antivirus experts. Many internet security suite software packages include powerful firewalls that are regularly updated along with the rest of the software to keep it up to date and keep you safe from the latest threats.

If youíre unsure of which firewall program is best for you, take a look at some of the reviews online to get a better understanding of which products offer the best service and value. You might start by researching the security products of the top companies such as Norton and McAfee, both trusted names in PC security.

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