Windows XP computer users fall into two categories: those who have personal firewall software and those who do not. Knowing that the majority of computer users go without a firewall, Microsoft has included an internet security firewall into the latest XP update called Service Pack 2. If you had no prior firewall, the day you download the SP2 update is a happy day for you.
If you already have a personal firewall such as Zone Labs, McAfee or Norton, then a question arises as to which one you keep, because any computer repair store geek would say you should not keep both the XP firewall or your existing software because it has the dynamic Microsoft name behind it, or go with a more niche company for security such as Zone Labs.
What is this Firewall Thing, Anyway?
First, what is a firewall? A personal firewall protects your computer from malicious users by blocking unauthorized access. Who needs a firewall? The term ?firewall? gives the impression that only large companies need a ?wall? of ?fire? to block attacks. You probably feel your computer is too small to attract an attack. But let?s not forget that hackers are hackers because they are students of behavior! They know that millions of people think they?re not targets and forego internet security. They build viruses to seek out such vulnerable computers, which can lead to a multitude of computer problems, not to mention identify theft.
Perhaps if firewalls were renamed, ?personal identity insurance,? more people would realize the need to own it! So, does the Windows firewall do the job? While it will block incoming attacks, it will not block programs already installed on your computer from sending information out.
Many downloads you agree to will have spyware attached, and spyware often ?phones home? with information about the user. Windows XP firewall will not stop this which is why computer experts suggest that for maximum protection you should go with a full firewall protection like the ones offered by Zone Labs, Norton and McAfee in lieu of XP?s.
About the author:
John Lenaghan writes about solving computer problems for the Computer Help Squad website, where he provides valuable tips and advice about internet security, computer upgrades and other computer related topics.