A firewall is protective barrier between you and the rest of the computers you are connected to. When you go on to the internet you are visible to the outside world. (If you weren't, then there would be no way to get a web page to your browser!) You are visible through something called a port. A port is service available to you. There are many thousands of these ports (services), and each is given a number. The three ports (services) you use most often are the world wide web (port 80), Incoming email (typically port 110), and outgoing email (usually port 25). The idea of a firewall is to close off the ports (services) you're not using. If you don't, then your open ports are an invitation to others to raid your computer! If you only have one piece of security software on your computer then it has to be a firewall. Unless your computer is not connected to the outside world, this is a must-have. For the general user, you can place firewalls into two simple categories: hardware and software. A hardware firewall can be a router that sits between your computer and the outside world. You can plug more computers into the router, and each will be protected by the firewall that's part of the router.
A software firewall is one like ZoneAlarm. You install it on your PC, and it will hide open ports, deflect incoming attacks, and warn you about suspicious outgoing traffic. For added protection, you can have a software firewall on each computer that sits behind the router. An attacker would have to be very determined to get through your router's firewall and your software firewall!
If you have something like a wireless router then you'll probably already have a firewall. You should check your router's configuration pages to make sure it's turned on. (Some of them are actually turned OFF by default!) Once your router's firewall is turned on, you can install a software firewall on each PC that's connected to the router, just for added protection.
If you're not behind a router, then you need a software firewall. If you have Internet Security software like Kaspersky then it will probably include a firewall as well. You should check, though. If you haven't got any Internet Security software then we highly recommend the free version of ZoneAlarm. This piece of software has been available from ZoneLabs for some time, and has a very good reputation.
Check out this link. You will see firsthand the current attacks on the US and where they are coming from. http://map.ipviking.com
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