Five Reasons You Need To Know About Firewalls

by Barbara J. Feldman on September 25, 2007

If you have never heard of a firewall, you are probably unaware of what it does or why you need it. Maybe you have heard of a firewall but simply do not know what it is. A firewall is intended to provide you with a protective barrier to your computer when you are online. A firewall is designed to stop the destructive forces of inappropriate content and viruses from consuming your computer.

If you do not already know why you need to know about Internet firewalls, the intent of this article is to inform you. Below you will find five reasons why you need to know about Internet firewalls and what Internet firewalls protect you from.

1. Protect your computer from an attack

Most people think of firewall protection in terms of security, however, there are many instances when a firewall can protect your computer itself from being destroyed internally by redirected macro commands and viruses. Macros are commands that an application uses to run properly. Without a firewall, hackers can change these commands and as a result your data can be completely destroyed and your entire computer can crash. A computer virus is named such because of its ability to spread from computer to computer leaving a path of destruction in its way. A virus that you catch can do its worst by erasing all of your data.

2. Stay in control

Firewalls protect you from being manipulated by someone else who has gained access to your computer. Application backdoors allow for hackers who have gained access to your computer to control your program without your ever knowing it. Another way for a hacker to gain control over your computer is through sending you an operating system bug that again allows an outsider to have remote control of your computer. As you can imagine, if a hacker is able to control your computer they can also send messages from your computer in your name. In SMTP session hijacking a hacker can send spam e-mail messages from your personal account and in your name. A firewall prevents such potentially catastrophic losses of control.

3. Maintain efficiency

Without a firewall in place you can be denied access to certain websites, a particular problem for those who conduct business online. A hacker can even cause your entire server to slow over time eventually rendering it incapable of working. An e-mail bomb is another attack on efficiency that happens when someone sends you the same e-mail hundreds or thousands of times jamming up your e-mail system to the point where it cannot accept any more messages. Spam is also a popular e-mail contracted attack on efficiency. Spam is not only time consuming to go through and delete, but some spam mail contains downloads that could secretly download a virus to your computer or may allow a hacker to gain backdoor access to your system.

4. Safeguard your personal information

What most people are concerned about when it comes to the need to have a firewall is the desire to safeguard your personal information. Remote logins and viruses compromise any and all information that you may have stored on your computer. With this personal information your hacker can not only use your identity to his advantage, but a hacker can do things in your name that may be far more detrimental than a monetary loss. A firewall is the only way to protect yourself from such a terrible attack.

5. Know your personal firewall settings and level of protection

It is impossible to recognize every harmful piece of material that may be sent to you or that you may stumble across online. But there are ways to personally increase or decrease the level of your protection as well as designate site by site what websites are safe. Therefore knowing why you need an Internet firewall is only half the battle. Now you need to make sure that you understand how to check your computer to see if you have a firewall. Next, you need to understand how to set up your security options with whatever firewall program that you have.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "Five Reasons You Need To Know About Firewalls." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 25 Sep. 2007. Web. 17 Sep. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/tech/1171/five-reasons-you-need-to-know-about-firewalls/ >.