Helpdesk Challenge – how to set up and run a firewall
A firewall creates a barrier that stops hackers and malicious programs from gaining access to your PC via your internet connection. Think of a PC without a firewall like a medieval castle without a moat.
It also prevents unauthorised information from leaving your computer – for example, if a malware infection attempts to steal personal data from your PC and send it over the net.
Free vs paid-for antivirus software – can free security software keep you safe?
Controlling a firewall
Most firewalls maintain whitelists of safe connections that are allowed, and blacklists of ones that are not. If your firewall encounters a connection that it doesn’t recognise, a message may pop up to ask you whether or not to allow it.
This might happen if, say, a new program you have installed has an automatic updater that checks online to see if new updates are available.
Very occasionally, you may need to manually block or allow a specific connection. If you’re using Windows Firewall, in Windows 7 go to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Firewall and click Allow a program or feature through Windows Firewall on the left, then tick or untick the boxes next to the item as required.
Turning off the Windows Firewall
Windows comes with its own firewall, although many paid-for security suites, such as Norton Internet Security, include a firewall. There are also several free alternative firewalls to consider, including ZoneAlarm Antivirus and Firewall.
There’s no need to run two different firewalls at the same time; in fact running two firewalls at the same time may create conflicts and slow down your system. If you’re using a third party firewall, disable Windows Firewall by going to Start > Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Firewall and then clicking Turn Windows Firewall on or off on the left.
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