What does a fire­wall do and why is it im­por­tant for my com­puter?

The Catoosa County News - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

Afire­wall is de­signed to block prob­lems. In the tra­di­tional use of the word it was walls in a build­ing that went from floor to roof and had no open­ings in them and thereby if the build­ing caught on fire the fire would ei­ther be slowed by the fire­wall al­low­ing the fire to be put out or would block the fire, in both cases sav­ing part of the build­ing.

With com­put­ers and net­works fire­walls are de­signed to stop de­struc­tive things from ei­ther trav­el­ing through the net­work or from get­ting on com­put­ers as a gen­eral def­i­ni­tion.

Com­puter fire­walls can ei­ther be pro­grams (Mi­crosoft and other soft­ware com­pa­nies make soft­ware fire­walls) or can be sep­a­rate de­vices (two ma­jor fire­wall de­vice mak­ers are Cisco and Palo Alto).

The fire wall on a com­puter will block traf­fic en­ter­ing the com­puter through ei­ther block­ing ports (you may have seen the num­ber 80 af­ter some web ad­dresses, that says it uses port 80 and the web pages gen­er­ally use port 80 or 453.) There are thou­sands of ports. Dif­fer­ent pro­grams (ap­pli­ca­tions) use dif­fer­ent ports. Hack­ers will scan com­put­ers to find ports that are open and not used as ways to break into a com­puter through the net­work. With the fire­wall you will close all ports you do not use and thereby block the hack­ers on many of their ways in. You can also block ap­pli­ca­tions and block pro­to­cols. Pro­to­cols are rules to com­mu­ni­cate and web pages use http.

The fire­wall can also look at traf­fic com­ing across the net­work and look for ma­li­cious in­for­ma­tion and block it. Most of­ten fire­walls block traf­fic com­ing into the net­work or com­puter, but you may set it up to block traf­fic go­ing out. You may want to block all traf­fic from users that have not logged in your net­work or only al­low them to the web server. Fire­walls will do that. You also want to block ma­li­cious traf­fic from in your net­work so if ma­chines get in­fected with mal­ware they can­not phone home or go in­fect more ma­chines.

Fire­walls are im­por­tant tools with cy­ber­se­cu­rity and can be free and lim­ited such as the Win­dows fire­wall or fire­walls with some se­cu­rity suites, or ex­tremely ex­pen­sive like the top-of-line fire­walls from Cisco and Palo Alto and other se­cu­rity equip­ment-mak­ers.

Dwight Watt does com­puter work for busi­nesses, in­di­vid­u­als and or­ga­ni­za­tions and teaches about com­put­ers at a col­lege in NW Ge­or­gia. His web­page is www.dwight­watt.com His e-mail ad­dress is [email protected]­watt.com.

Dwight Watt

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.