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What is a firewall?
A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that helps screen out hackers, viruses, and worms that try to reach your computer over the Internet. If you use a computer at home, the most effective and important first step you can take to help protect your computer is to turn on a firewall.
Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP SP2 or higher have a firewall built-in and turned on by default.
If you have more than one computer connected in the home, or if you have a small-office network, it is important to protect every computer. You should have a hardware firewall (such as a router) to protect your network, but you should also use a software firewall on each computer to help prevent the spread of a virus in your network if one of the computers becomes infected.
(If your computer is part of a business, school, or other organizational network, you should follow the policy established by the network administrator.)
The Internet is a volatile and unsafe environment when viewed from a computer-security perspective, therefore "firewall" is an excellent metaphor for network security
The results are in for our Software Forum's 2011 Member Choice *Personal Firewall Poll
Taking 1st place with a resounding lead was Router (hardware) w/ Software - once again we see the layered defense security approach still viable and current.
Following with a close 2nd was Windows built-in Firewall, and 3rd - Windows 7 Firewall Controls
*The full list we explored below:
•Avira Premium Security Suite
•Defense Wall Personal Firewall
•ESET Smart Security Firewall
•Kaspersky Internet Security
•Kerio 2.1.5 (unsupported)
•KMyFirewall (Linux - KDE)
•Little Snitch 2 (Mac)
•Mac OS X Built in Firewall
•McAfee Internet Security
•Norton PF / Norton Internet Security
•NVidia Active Armor
•Windows 7 Firewall Control
•Sunbelt Personal Firewall
•Windows Built in Firewall
•Router with software firewall