Today we are starting a series of weekly articles where we will discuss various aspects of computer security and give you suggestions that will keep you protected. The aim is to make even the non-geeks feel comfortable. We will start with the outermost realm, the Firewall.
What is a Firewall?
A firewall is a part of a computer system or network that is designed to block unauthorized access while permitting authorized communications. It is a device or set of devices which is configured to permit or deny computer applications based upon a set of rules and other criteria.[via] Wikipedia
In simpler terms, firewall protects your computer from unwanted and unauthorized access to your computer, from the outside. When hooked up on Internet, there are many ways by which a hacker or by some unwanted program may access your system and relay some important data, such as your passwords to your bank accounts or some company document you have. To protect yourself from these vulnerabilities you need a firewall.
There are many available choices and most of them are paid. The big names such as Kaspersky, Norton etc are basically Internet Security Suites that gives you all round protection. But if you want to save a few dollars, here are some choices.
- Ashampoo Firewall
Its a small, yet very effective, personal firewall. Rather than installing a bundle of applications just for the security, this application installs a single bare bone structure and effectively counters the incoming threats. It has clean UI and different modes for different kind of Users (minimalistic/advanced). It also bundles 4 additional network security tools – Auto Start manager, System Process Monitor, Internet Cleaner and IP spam blocker.
- Comodo Firewall
I have personally used this firewall for quite some time now, and to tell you, I was really satisfied by its performance. The UI is a bit tricky to handle and it shows a detailed report of every connection that computer makes and every incoming connection that computer receives, on demand. The firewall detects over 10,000 application of various category as safe spyware or as ad unit. There are some additional features such as, Pop-up blocking, analyzing suspicious file, checksum verification etc.
- PC Tools Firewall Plus
PC Tools have been acclaimed for its much intuitive and heuristic antivirus called Threatfire, and now they have come up with another excellent firewall for basic PC users. The minimalistic approach works well for the understanding of the application and helps even the naive users to handle it. There are very few settings and the firewall automatically adjusts itself according to the choices user makes.
- Online Armor Free Firewall
Out of all the options available here, Online Armor is the latest and the most detailed firewall with most possible options for a free version. Though there is nothing much to say about the protection, as it does what its supposed to do. It has a specific mode, called Banking Mode, which protects computer during Online transactions.
Stay tuned for the next article in the series.