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Firewalls explained

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It was reported in November 2004 that over half (11.5m) of the UK's Internet connected populous (22.8m) were now surfing via the wonders of broadband, more than double last year's figure.

Firewalls explained

Many users remain blissfully unaware of the security implications of an 'always on' connection and currently connect through the use of a simple ADSL modem - usually supplied through their service provider.

Relying on this setup [fig 1.] to keep your computer secure from the outside world is extremely dangerous - this offers no protection at all.

It's a little like inviting anyone passing your house to just pop in through the permanently open door!

What is a firewall?

A firewall is a secure computer system placed between a trusted network [your business or private PCs] and an untrusted one, such as the Internet. This firewall may be software or hardware. On one side of the firewall is your company's PCs, which you supervise, control and protect. The other side contains a public network, such as the Internet, over which you have no control.

Firewalls explained1

Types of firewall

A simple firewall using only software is shown in fig 2.

The setup in fig 2. provides some level of protection but is still not really sufficient to protect the 'always on' broadband connection.

Firewalls explained 3

The setup in fig 3. provides a much stronger level of protection by using hardware and software firewalls to protect your machines.

A router is a combination of hardware firewall and ADSL modem affording you a good level of protection from unwanted visitors.

Routers a relatively inexpensive [around £50-£60], particularly when balanced against the potential costs of loosing your data, having bank details stolen or having your computer 'hijacked' and used for nefarious purposes.

Conclusion

Think very carefully about protecting yourself from unwelcome attention. Remember, an effective firewall will help protect against unwelcome intrusions, but it should be backed up with effective virus protection and strong security policies.

If you are not sure - seek advice.


About the Author

Written by Michael Wright of  WrightPlace Consulting, a consulting company specializing in helping you develop your business.. You can reach WrightPlace Consulting by emailing info@wrightplace.co.uk or online at www.wrightplace.co.uk.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2006-06-18 23:39:54 in Computer Articles

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