In the past the home computer was considered a glorified numbers cruncher. Most people did not consider the power that the home computer represented and they found it as useful as a normal calculator. And that really makes sense. If all you were using your computer for at the time was to keep the budget of your household and organize recipes then you would probably think of it that way as well. But now times have changed and the home computer is more than that.
The home computer is more thought of as a gateway to the rest of the world now. That perception is a long way from being thought of as a overgrown calculator. But just like the earlier perception of computers made sense, this perception in the modern era makes sense as well. With the wide use of the internet, computers these days allow you to reach anywhere in the world. You can gather information from anywhere that you want and you can also talk to people anywhere in the world. So the perception of your computer being considered to be a gateway to the outside world is totally justified.
But being a gateway to the outside world means that you also have a problem now. Just like you are trying to reach other people on your computer, other people will be trying to reach you. They may be in the same school or someone that is in the same city or maybe even someone who is half way around the world. They are going to try and contact through some method. The problem is that now all of these people are not going to be good guys.
The criminal part of the internet
We have all heard the stories about the bad guys floating around on the internet getting into mischief. What you probably have not heard is that the problem is only getting worse. While the internet is still a relatively safe place, you cannot ignore the fact that the problem is only getting bigger. That is why you must do whatever you can to protect yourself while you surf the internet. If you do not then you will pay for it later on.
When it comes to internet protection you always hear about having a good antivirus solution on your computer. That is of course good advice but it is not enough. To truly protect yourself you must have a good Firewall solution as well. The problem is that not enough people have heard of Firewalls. So hopefully we can change that in this article.
What is a firewall?
Firewall software allows you to set up a wall around your computer. The wall is a virtual one but it is still a wall nonetheless. This wall is for the purpose of plugging the holes that you have in your computer which are called ports. Ports allow a device to be able to interact with outside devices. For example, your computer has a port which allows you to talk to the internet. On most computers this is known as port 80. But there is more than just this one port on your computer. There are thousands of ports that are available and they need to be protected. If you do not protect these open ports then a bad guy will be able to scan them and walk on in to your computer. That is what a firewall tries to stop from happening.
In the past, most companies would consider a firewall to be an option. The line of thought was that only major companies needed to worry about having a Firewall set up. Home computers did not have to worry about problems like this. But that line of thought has definitely changed. Microsoft use to treat the Windows version of Firewall software like it was an afterthought. Now the Firewall software that comes with the Windows operating system is enabled by default and is considerably more improved than what was available in the past. The problem now lies in educating the end user how important it is to keep this software turned on and always updated.
What was once an option is now a very important part of the line of defense against the internet bad guys. You need to be able to stop the bad guys before they get in your system and not just stop the effects of what happens when they are in your system. A firewall allows you to be able to do this. An antivirus analyzes a threat once it is in your system. A firewall stops the threat before it gets there. If you want to be able to stop remote attacks on your computer then learning about Firewall software is the way to do it.