What Is A Firewall?

For centuries, the term “fire wall” implied an actual wall that was constructed with fire resistant material that would actually contain a fire to a certain location of a structure, vastly different from a Windows firewall or Microsoft firewall. The Internet brings people from around the world together through technology, but along with that unfortunately comes the risk of unwanted information exchange – usually known as phishing or hacking, and the need for a Windows firewall or a Microsoft firewall, in addition to an overall windows security.

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image courtesy of flickr user: Toni Birrer

One of the most critical elements of a windows security firewall is where it is located. Windows firewalls and Microsoft firewalls alike, act as a barrier between your computer and the rest of the world. Part of the windows security system, a firewall should be placed at the entry point of the network it is intended to protect. When established properly, the Windows firewall or Microsoft firewall is the first running program that encounters all traffic on the network and is also the last program that contacts outgoing information. Think of the Windows firewall or Microsoft firewall as the gatekeeper of your computer and computer network system.

While several sophisticated Windows firewall and Microsoft firewall setups exist, the most basic form of a firewall is known as packet filtering. In the computer world, a packet is a collection of data with a specific size limit kept small for easy processing by the computer. If the amount of information requested exceeds the specific size limit of the packet, it is simply broken down into a number of smaller packets, all delivered to the computer and then put back together. All downloaded files, including email messages, websites, songs, pictures and all other file types are transmitted from one network to another via packets.

The Microsoft firewall or Windows firewall checks the location of the information source – or the network the information is being downloaded from – and determines if the source is secure enough to allow the information to pass onto your network. The information that is being transmitted is not scanned, simply the location of the network that is attempting to gain access to your network.

A Microsoft firewall or Windows firewall system used for packet filtering can be set to follow certain policies that will allow or disallow information transfer based on the location of the remote network’s IP address or the destination port of the incoming information. For example, if a remote network is attempting to access the registry files of your computer, the Windows firewall or Microsoft firewall will either block the transmission or alert the user of the remote network’s intent. This is important in virus and malware protection efforts. Think of this process of the Windows firewall or Microsoft firewall as free computer maintenance. The windows security system works without the user even being aware of it.

The packet filtering type of Windows firewall or Microsoft firewall operation is an effective way to keep your computer and network safe, but like most other windows security options, it is not foolproof. While a Windows firewall or Microsoft firewall can be established to block all types of incoming and outgoing traffic, which would in theory, be foolproof, it also would not be an effective use of the computer network system. One advantage of the windows security system utilizing a Windows firewall is the simplicity and ease of use. When firewall restrictions are set too high, it undermines the usefulness of the system thereby relegating it to the likes of an electric typewriter – functional, but it does not offer the most efficient technology available.

A Windows firewall or Microsoft firewall offers users protection from most types of malicious network attacks, while providing additional windows security – and free computer maintenance in a sense – which is ultimately the best of all worlds.

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