Personal Computers are an asset of every household. The utilization of the PCs by both adults and children is quite huge. Every PC is increasingly put to use along with the internet for the seamless working of the PC.
Windows Firewall for Advanced Security
But as users, are we really taking care that our PC is protected from every kind of malicious activity that may arise from the internet? Are we aware that DSL connection and cable modems pose a greater threat when they are kept connected and stay in the ‘always-on’ mode?
Surprising isn’t it! Static IPs that your personal computer takes when it is connected to a DSL or cable modem, make it quite vulnerable for the hackers to get on to your machine.
Such hackers are able to control your machines, run malicious applications and steal sensitive information that may be stored on your personal computer. As a remedy for this, firewall for personal computers is needed.
What is a Personal Computer Firewall?
A firewall is a software application that is installed on personal computers or laptops in order to protect any intruder activity through the internet. The Personal Computer Firewall software work in the background. It is also called the link layer level, from which it prevents every kind of malicious code entry to a personal computer.
The firewall software also filters inbound and outbound traffic and keeps alerting the users of the personal computer for all types of intrusions.
Key features of a Windows Firewall
In order to know the need for a firewall for your Windows workstation, let us understand its key features.
- Accessing your workstation by hackers is prevented with the use of stealth ports on the computer or laptop.
- Hiding your information from the outside world unless you permit them access. Isolation of the internet browsers in a virtual container so that accessing of data is quite impossible.
- A powerful program that virtually puts a deadbolt lock inside of your door.
- Permits basic email access while using the internet but interactive programs like chat and social media programs would require users’ permission to have the needed access.
- Firewall software have specifications of rules for allowing specific programs that can access the internet.
- Logging of all important activity especially connection attempts which can help identify hacker attempts is available through the firewall.
- Trojan Horse programs are well prevented by the firewall software.
- Proactive security that puts prevention of spyware and malware as the foremost priority.
Firewall for Windows
Since Windows OS is mostly utilized on the personal computers, a firewall for Windows becomes the need of every user to safeguard their data.
Most firewall software possesses the features that are listed above and in addition has the antivirus software to make your personal computer devoid of any imbibed viruses.
Here’s what an antivirus software would help you with if you have accidentally given the permission for a virus to enter into your machine
- Antivirus detects, blocks and destroys viruses.
- It isolates suspicious files and quarantines them.
- Real-time and on access scanning is enabled in antivirus software and it aids in constant protection.
- In addition, scans can be scheduled and planned so that it triggers as needed.
- Automatic updates to the software about all virus definitions (some antivirus software update daily too).
Can the default Windows Firewall software help?
Aren’t you getting desperate to know what may suit your Windows machine the best when it comes to Firewall and Antivirus? Microsoft has been providing firewall software since its Windows XP times and it is inbuilt into the Windows OS.
Mostly the firewall settings were disabled by default but could be altered anytime by the user by navigating to the network configuration screens.
The evolution of the network security gave rise to three profiles whenever your Windows Personal Computer gets connected to the internet – namely Public, Private and Domain.
Every network interface has its own profile created as agreed to by the user. Beyond the profiling strategy, Windows Firewall also performs the below in order to effectively handle the machine security
- Security logs are available which capture the IP addresses and other data for every connection that originates either from home network/office network or the public Internet.
- Recording of dropped packets of data and successful connections are done.
- Settings can be altered through a GUI admin tool or through the group policies that can be controlled by a Windows Administrator.
- Object-Oriented API and scripting using the netsh commands are other alternatives of controlling the Windows Firewall.
- Windows Firewall has been upgrading and consistently improving since the Windows Neptune version. It has evolved through Windows XP, Vista, Server 2008, Windows 7 and now Windows 10.
Third Party software – Firewall for Windows
Besides the default firewall that the Windows OS provisions, many personal computer users enforce the installation of third-party software. This helps to assure greater security. The IT market is flooded with many such providers who enhance each version of their product.
This is done on basis of the changing trends, riskier ambiance and varieties of intrusions. Below is a sample set of third-party Windows Firewall software that comes along with antivirus support too!
- Zone Alarm
- AVS Firewall
- Net Defender
- Peer Block
Most of them are available as free firewall software for Windows for a specific period of time. During its evaluation period, you can explore the product’s feature list. You will be convinced of the extra layer of protection that these products give to your personal computers.
A well-guided installation support and round the clock expert assistance for issues and queries are also made possible by these companies. Granular features to block a specific set of IPs, location wise filtering, etc., can be tried with these third-party softwares.
Remember, to stay updated with the product you download or purchase. This way, your personal computer stays ahead of malicious invasions and all virus definitions are known to the installed software.
Excellent post on the personal computer security. I totally agree that windows firewall is the best free tool that comes pre-installed not only that I used Microsoft essential for more than a year and never had any intrusion issue as such, the software works well. However as you have suggested, later I moved on to a third party antivirus system as and when my online activities increased. Thanks for these insights.