For the computer challenged, firewall is a protection built into the Windows operating system to protect your computer against outside virus attack and manage program control that limits the number of popups. You may like to visualise Windows firewall as akin to a wall standing between your computer and anything that is a potential risk to it. Actually a firewall is more like a filter that allows entry to things that are required and nips in the bud the potential threats to your computer, before they get the opportunity to harm it. The best part is that Windows firewall cannot be disabled by malware.
When firewall was first introduced in Windows XP in the year 2001, it was thought to be a panacea for all viral ailments of the computer. It was considered to effectively protect the system from all outside attacks, but things to the contrary started happening. The firewall was found to be prone to glitches and didn’t function the way it was supposed to. It could also not really do anything against local programs infecting the network connection. This waxing and waning of the efficacy of firewall is all too palpable, so let us take a close look at what it delivers and what it fails to deliver.
Why have firewall, when you can very well remove the malicious items by other means (read anti-virus software)? You just need to recall the adage ‘prevention is better than cure’, as it rings so true for the safety of your computer. Firewall prevents, whereas other means remove.
If you opt for anti-virus software and feel that you don’t need firewall, you cannot be more wrong. This is because some malware and viruses get so deeply embedded in a computer system that whatever steps you take to remove them prove a failure. The option to remove the virus manually is fraught with risks, since one wrong move can permanently damage the computer. Furthermore, certain malware, such as keyloggers and spyware, steals personal information and transmits it by the time it is removed using security software.
On the contrary, in certain cases the firewall that effectively kept out unwanted risky items from the computer became downright annoying when it started doing the same to the completely safe software applications! At times firewalls don’t run flawlessly and in harmony with whatever is being run on the computer, some slow down the system, adding to frustration. Frustration ultimately leads to shutting off the firewall, resulting in increased risk of infection by malicious content.
These few glitches are what has let firewall down and has made computer users avoid firewall protection like plague. This makes it important to get firewall from a trusted source and not from any dubious ones. There are means of checking the efficacy of firewall by means of testing scores that independent companies, such as AV-Test provide after evaluating the software and grading it based on its performance.