Magazine article Black Enterprise

Don't Get Burned Online: Hardware or Software, a Firewall Is Your First Line of Defense

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Don't Get Burned Online: Hardware or Software, a Firewall Is Your First Line of Defense

Article excerpt

In a building, a firewall prevents a fire from quickly burning through, giving firefighter a chance to douse flames, and occupants a chance to find safety. A computer firewall works on the same principle, standing between the system and attackers, holding the line against intruders who would probe your ports, take over your system, launch attacks to knock you off line, crash your computer, mail spam through your machine, infect your system, and more.

If you're running Windows XP, you don't even have to go online to find a firewall--the Internet Connection Firewall (ICF) will protect you from a multitude of singes. Here's how to avoid the burn:

It's that simple to put up a basic software firewall. You'll want to graduate from Windows ICF quickly, because it works by comparing inbound traffic to records of outbound traffic and discarding inbound traffic that doesn't match--the theory being that, if you didn't originate a request for data, it's an attack. There is one problem with that: Spyware and other malicious codes already on your PC don't get stopped from sneaking out. Another problem: Exchange Server notifies Office 2000 Outlook when new e-mail arrives without any outbound solicitation, so the Windows ICF firewall thinks it's an attack and drops the notification. With a firewall such as ZoneAlarm that lets you grant each program specific per mission, the and the Outlook mail notification could come in.

HARD WALL OR SOFT WALL?

If you have a dial-up connection--a modem on your regular telephone line--you need a software firewall to protect your system. …

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