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Helpful tips to effectively manage your firewall

Better be safe than sorry; an age-old saying that holds true even in today’s computer age. The minute you log on to the internet the first thing that comes to your mind is, ‘Is my computer safe?’ Did you know that any computer connected to the internet has close to 130,000 ports through which a hacker can gain access to your data? This is the reason why security is of paramount importance to every internet user. Whether you access the internet through a wireless or wired connection, internet security should be your top priority.

What is a Firewall?

Firewall

In simple terms, a firewall is a set of filters and rules (more like a virtual wall) that guard Here are a few helpful tips to manage firewalls effectively:your computer from other computers on the internet. Firewalls monitor the data that is sent to and from the internet. You can either have a firewall installed as software or have it as a separate hardware unit. Firewalls provide an improved and advanced form of security that has become the standard.

  • The first obvious step is to keep the firewall protection always ‘ON’. If you are doing some specific work like installing software or troubleshooting, you may temporarily disable your firewall.
  • You should protect the firewall from attack. This is called the stealth rule. This does not allow communication flow between your firewall and unauthorized sources.
  • Updating to the latest OS software version for your firewall is a must.
  • Keep the rulebase simple. When a packet reaches the firewall it checks against the rulebase. So it is best to place the most accessed rule at the top so that the firewall need not match against all the rules in the rulebase. This would in turn reduce the load on your firewall.
  • Deny, deny and deny. This is a rule that comes in handy when you are in doubt about the authenticity of the request. You can always allow the blocked connection later when needed.
  • If you work heavily on VPN (Virtual private network) then using AES 128 (Advanced Encryption Standard) should be preferred. Although AES 192 and AES 256 bits are available, it may put undue load on your firewall’s performance.
  • Instill the practice of testing and auditing your firewall for vulnerabilities. This will help you update your firewall protection as and when required.
  • Read the manufacturer’s instruction manual before you attempt to do any of the above. 

With these simple steps your firewall should give your computer the best safety and security it deserves.

By-line (author bio):

This is a guest post by Jena Branch of Buycox.com, a site that offers savings and current information on cox communications.

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