How To Set Up Your Firewall
Nowadays, most everyone accesses the internet via some kind of high-speed, always-on Internet connection, meaning you no longer have to sit through the symphony of beeps and buzzes that you once did when you had a dial-up modem. However, this also means that your internet connection, whether hard-wired or wireless, is more susceptible to malicious threats. Considering the constantly-open nature of most modern internet connections, hackers have almost nonstop access to your connection, making it far more vulnerable than it was back in the dial-up days. By learning how to set up your firewall, you are placing another line of defense between your computer and unwanted intrusions.
Luckily, computer manufacturers also realize this change is occurring, and both Mac and PC operating systems come with Firewall capabilities installed. You can check to make sure your firewall is in place by doing the following:
For Mac Users
Click on the Apple Menu, and open System Preferences. When you click on the “Firewall” icon, it should tell you at the top left “Firewall On”. Assuming the Firewall is active; you can edit restrictions on what ports may or may not access your computer.
For PC Users
Click on the Start button, and go to your Control Panel. Assuming the window opens to “All Control Panel Items” you should be able to double click right on “Windows Firewall”. If not, go to Security Center, and select “Windows Firewall” from there. Once you arrive at the Firewall page, make sure the Firewall is turned on, and if you want to change settings, make sure that “Don’t allow exceptions” is NOT checked, and then you can add exceptions as desired.
When in doubt, remember, the fewer ports open to your computer, the better, and it is always best to air on the side of caution. The default settings should keep your computer protected, and a Firewall is not a replacement for an antivirus program. Rather, antivirus, firewall, and an awareness or sense for internet scams like phishing are the best way to keep your computer protected.