Should You Have a Firewall?

By: 1rich1
Plotters are constantly in the prowl for innocent, unprotected computers. Internet hackers use all sorts of codes such as viruses, worms, and Trojans, to crack into and ruin your computer. You must therefore be prepared to block them off from ever entering your computer's system at all times.

It is often said that the best cure is prevention. And the saying applies to your computers. If you want to protect your computer from the threat of viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malicious code, one of the best options to take is setting up a firewall.

What is a Firewall?

Imagine a firewall to be the fence that sits between your computer and the internet, or between your computer network and all the other computer networks out there.

It serves as a defense mechanism against harmful codes or data that may destroy your computer, and it works by examining the information that attempts to enter your computer or your network.

When a firewall is set up properly, hackers will not be able to detect your computer in their search for vulnerable ones to victimize.

What are the Types of Firewalls?

Firewalls are generally divided into three categories: software firewalls, hardware routers, and wireless routers. To know which kind of firewall is suitable for your needs, there are two factors on which your decision should depend on:

1. The number of computers that your firewall will service

2. The kind of operating system that you use (it can be Linux, a version of Windows, Apple Macintosh, and so on).

Choosing a Software Firewall

If you are planning to set up a firewall for a single computer, it is ideal to use a software firewall. It also works well with most Windows operating systems. They are readily available from software development companies for a certain fee.

Some of the advantages of a software firewall include:

- No additional hardware is required for it to work
- There is no additional wiring that needs to be installed for the software to work.

However, there are also some disadvantages to deciding on using a software firewall:

- A software firewall may cause money and can be a bit costly
- You will need to install and configure the software to get it to work properly
- If you have multiple computers, you will need to install the software on each one of them to get them protected.

Choosing a Hardware Router

If you are planning to protect a small network of computers, say in your home or at a small office, a hardware router is probably more ideal for you.

The main advantage of using a hardware router is that they are more convenient to use for multiple computers as they usually have at least four network ports to which you can connect a number of computers.

However, its major disadvantage is that because of all the wiring that you will have to setup for it to work, it will potentially clutters your work space.

Choosing a Wireless Router

If you want a wireless network of computers, you would definitely want it protected by a wireless router.

Some advantages of using a wireless router include

- No wiring will be required, so it avoids clutter. It can connect personal computers, printers, scanners, without the use of any physical wiring.
- It is ideal if you want to protect a set of laptops, notebook computers, and desktop computers

Some of the disadvantages of using a wireless router include:

- The radio signals that wireless devices use (including wireless routers) can be intercepted by other individuals with the right equipment
- Wireless routers are not always equipped with a built-in firewall, so you might have to purchase a firewall separately
- You might have to purchase extra equipment to set up a wireless router

Operating systems such as Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Vista are already equipped with a built-in firewall, but older versions of Windows as well as other operating systems require that you set up a separate firewall.

Setting up a firewall is recommended to any computer owner, especially to those who have very important data stored in their computers. Often the question lies not on whether you need a firewall or not, but instead on which type of firewall you should set up.
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