What is a Firewall?


Firewalls can be in place on home computers or on a company’s computers.  At some point in time we have all heard of a firewall even if we are not quite sure what it is there for.  The simplest definition would be that it is a barrier that keeps unwanted and potentially harmful elements away from your computer or a group of computers.  It is especially effective when used in corporations to block out certain web sites or persons who may want to gather information contained on those computers.

A firewall can be in the form of software that you install on your computer or a hardware device that can be installed as part of your computer.  There are some operating systems that already have firewalls in place.  One type of hardware device would be a router.  Some routerscome with a firewall already in place and you just set up the parameters.  It basically sorts through all the information coming in to your computer and if the firewall finds it suspicious it will not allow the information on your computer.  It can do this based on the parameters that you have set up.  It can be customized to fit your needs.

If you have a home network the firewall can be in either the computer, a router or through installed software.  If it is in the main computer and not the router, your computer becomes a gateway or access point.  It does not protect any computers that are running off of the router.  It may be a good idea if you are running multiple computers off of a router to invest in a router that contains a firewall.


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