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TECH TIP:  Firewalls

Your computer is constantly under threat from viruses, worms, Trojan Horses, adware, spyware, hijackings and maybe even worse of all, breaking into your computer to steal personal information, passwords, credit card numbers, delete files, and more.

 

A firewall will not necessarily protect you from viruses or protect your computer from spyware, popup ads, or spam, but it will protect you from hackers cracking into your computer to look at your files and steal your personal information.

 

Types of Firewalls

There are 2 types of firewalls:  A hardware firewall and a software firewall.  If you have a cable modem, satellite or DSL connection, you need to use a hardware and a software firewall.  If you have dial-up, you only need to use a software firewall.

 

A hardware firewall actually hides your computer’s internet address when it is connected to the internet so that hackers (or anyone else for that matter) do not even know you exist – that’s very comforting.

 

A software firewall (sometimes called a personal software firewall) runs in the background and will protect your computer from the internet by blocking the bad stuff that tries to get into your computer and warn you if it detects some kind of threat. 

 

Hardware Firewalls - How do I do it?

Well, you say, this sounds like complicated stuff.  It isn’t.  To get a hardware firewall, you just need to purchase a good router.  I use a Linksys Etherfast Cable/DSL router (BEFSR41) – it’s one of the best.  It cost around 50 bucks.  It has 4 ports so that I can plug 4 computers into it.  I have 2 Macs and 2 PCs – they are all plugged into the router and they are all protected. 

http://www.linksys.com/Products/product.asp?grid=34&scid=29&prid=561

Other good routers are D-Link, Netgear, Belkin, or SMC – all for around $50.

 

Simply plug the cable modem or DSL box into the router and plug the computer(s) into the router.  You will, of course, need the right cables – CAT5 with RJ45 connectors.  Just ask the computer salesperson for the correct cables.

 

That’s it – you instantly become protected from attackers. 

 

Software Firewalls – How do I do this?

Software firewalls are a better deal – they are FREE.  Here are 4 of the best free software firewalls.  Download the software to your computer and install it,

If you feel a little shaky on getting a hardware firewall, just visit a computer sales store and get their advice on purchasing what you need and advice in setting it up.

 

Remember, firewalls don't do it all - you still need to use antivirus software, be careful opening attachments, be careful when downloading items from the internet, and be careful what sites you visit on the internet.

 

Here is a pretty good article on this Microsoft site on firewalls.

http://www.microsoft.com/athome/security/viruses/fwbenefits.mspx

 

 

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