When many people think of firewall protection, they envision a wall standing between a computer and anything that may harm the computer. In reality, a firewall is more like a filter. It lets the things you need through and blocks potential threats before they get a chance to harm your computer. At least that is how firewalls are supposed to work, in theory. The reality is that many firewalls have glitches and don't function as they should. To help you decide whether you really need a firewall, read these pros and cons.
Pros of a Firewall
As mentioned before, firewalls are created and designed to block malicious software and corrupt files from entering your computer. Firewalls block malicious items that come from your internet connection along with all other computers connected on a shared network.
This blocking technology is important. Many people think that they can simply remove a virus problem once it has invaded their computers, and that this means there's no need for a firewall. There are two problems with this train of thought.
First, some malware and viruses bury themselves so deeply in computers' system files that anti-virus software isn't able to fully remove the intruder. This means that these malicious items need to be removed manually, which is a dangerous process that can permanently damage the computer if a mistake is made. Generally, only a computer repair professional should perform a manual removal of a malicious item.
Second, certain malware such as keyloggers and spyware can steal your personal information before you get around to removing them using your security software. This means that a hacker can get your account information or online passwords before you even have time to scan for and remove the malware. Overall, it is best to use prevention rather than removal.
Cons of a Firewall
Your anti-virus protection should run flawlessly and in harmony with anything else you have running on your computer. Some poorly designed firewalls tend to block software applications that are completely safe. Other firewalls will slow down a system, aggravating the user to distraction. Many times, when users become annoyed, they will simply turn off the firewall. This, of course, leaves the computer open to a multitude of attacks.
How do you avoid faulty firewall protection? First, stay away from free firewall software downloads and instead use a product that is widely acclaimed and has been proven stable and trustworthy. The best way to tell if software will work well for your computer is to check out its testing scores. Independent companies such as AV-Test evaluate software and grade it based on how well it functions. The results of these tests should be available on the security software vendor's website.
Once you have chosen reliable security software, you should find that your firewall works quite well to protect your computer from threats while still allowing it to function perfectly.
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