A computer not connected to any other computer is a relatively safe computer. It is safe from virus infections, intrusion attacks from crackers, automated installation of spyware, and many other potential threats that exist in a networked-computer environment. Such a computer is also unable to connect to the Internet. More importantly, such a computer is rare these days. In today’s age of networking computers, the importance of a firewall should never be underestimated. A software firewall can effectively block connections that could expose your computer to various risks. This guide will explain some steps that you can take to check for a firewall.
The easiest way is to check for the existence of a local firewall. As a matter of fact, it should be one of the first things to check after installing your operating system. A local firewall is a firewall installed on your computer. Microsoft Windows (with Service Pack 2 or higher) installs a built-in firewall that is usually sufficient for the general user. Yet, simply because it is installed does not mean it is necessarily active or running. How do you check the status of Windows Firewall? It is very easy to do so. All it takes is a quick visit to Window’s Security Center by clicking the Start menu, then opening Control Panel, and then selecting Security Center. The Security Center window will show whether Windows Firewall is installed, and if so, whether it is on or off. A green “ON” button indicates that the firewall is up and running. Otherwise, you will need to install one. If a firewall does not exist or is not active, the Security Center window also offers you suggestions on how to fix it.
Only one firewall software should be running in one computer at any time. Running more than one firewall may result in conflicts and may compromise your computer instead of protect it. Many antivirus programs also come with a firewall. If you want, you can use the antivirus program’s firewall in place of the one that comes with Windows. Some Internet Security Suites such as Norton, McAfee, and Comodo also come with a bundled firewall. They usually have easy-to-use guides that explain how to set up the firewall without conflicting with Windows Firewall.
As a service to their subscribers, almost all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer an extra layer of protection by setting up a firewall at the ISP level. Such firewalls help a lot in blocking certain potentially risky incoming connections from the rest of the outside world. The ISPs do this by closing certain ports. You can check for the existence of an ISP-level firewall by running an online test from firewall testing sites. Many of such sites not only check for a firewall but also test which ports are inaccessible or blocked.
So many Internet users have fallen prey to malicious attacks simply because of ignorance about network security. Malicious attacks can result in the loss of important data on your computer. Checking for a firewall just may be one of the first most important steps that you can do to secure your computer from malware and other forms of security breaches.