Mike Binns
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Setting up a Firewall

Page Goals
  • Make sure Windows Firewall is enabled
  • Learn about hardware firewalls

A number of the major viruses out there that fall under the category of "worms" (such as Blaster or Welchia) worked by finding computers on the network (or internet) that had a security flaw that was not patched. They "worm" their way into that computer using the security flaw and install themselves. Using a firewall means that your computer will be defended from any outside contact such as worms. Unlike Antivirus (which requires a "definition" so it can recognize each and every virus), firewalls block all contact, meaning you are even protected from worms that have not yet been invented.

There are two types of firewalls, the software firewall should be on everyone's computer, and a hardware firewall should be used at any home that uses broadband internet.

Software Firewall

A software firewall resides on your computer and guards it from other computers, it is the best line of defense against other computers on your network. The firewall you should use is Windows Firewall, it is free and built in to Windows XP. Chances are that it is already running, but you should check and make sure.

To turn on Windows Firewall, go to the start menu and click on the control panel (sometimes under settings). If the control panel says "pick a category" with a blue background, click "switch to classic view" on the top left. Double click the "Windows Firewall" icon and the firewall settings window will pop up. "On (recommended)" should be selected, with "don't allow exceptions" UNchecked.

The Windows Firewall, in addition to the Avast Network Shield (part of Avast Antivirus), will protect your computer from virtually all external worm threats.

Hardware Firewall

Routers (such as Linksys, DLink, or netgear) serve as great firewalls for home networks. They can render computers on a home network virtually immune to an attack from a Worm virus.

If you are using Broadband, you really should have a router/firewall in place to protect your computer. If you are using Dial-Up internet, you cannot use a hardware firewall. This is ok because your internet is not on 24/7 and is therefore much less suceptible to worm viruses.

Note that a router is different from the cable modem or DSL modem you got with your Broadband Internet.

If you are using broadband, you may already have a router in place (it wouldb be between your Cable/DSL modem and your computer). If you are using Vonage VoIP Phone Service, then the linksys router you got with the service will work as a firewall.

If you do not yet have a router, first consider going with Vonage VoIP Phone Service, as it comes with a free router. If you choose not to go with Vonage, you can pick up a network router at just about any computer store usually for under $30.

Where to put the hardware router

A Hardware router will have one single "WAN" ethernet port and anywhere from 2 to 6 "LAN" ethernet ports. The WAN port will be separate from the LAN ports, which will be close together. You should plug the WAN ethernet port on the Router into the Cable modem or DSL modem from your broadband internet. Plug your home computer(s) into the LAN ports



Progress Tracker Update
(Click the checkbox and click next to update the progress checklist)
I have enabled my Windows Software Firewall and have or will purchase a hardware router for my home.

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LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Although these instructions have been tested on thousands of computers without incident, and chances of any damage or loss of important data resulting from following these instructions are virtually zero, there always exists a very small chance that something could go wrong. I add the following warning not because I ever believe that anything will happen but because today's lawsuit happy world requires it:

Although I will attempt to assist you (via the contact me form) with issues that arise from following these instructions, you are using this website at your own risk, and I am not legally responsible for any damage or loss of data that may occur related to the use of this website.


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First TimeRefresher
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 Firefox Extensions
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 Remove Temp Files
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