A firewall is one of the most popular computer programs of all time. There are those who consider it essential, but for others it is dispensable. You are probably wondering what is the most convenient for your computer. For this reason, we will explain if it is necessary to use a firewall in Windows.
As a general rule, the firewall is very important to protect your computer from vulnerabilities, especially those coming from web pages. In addition, it is possible to configure this firewall to your preference and thus prevent possible viruses that threaten your computer.
Anyway, there are certain nuances worthy of analysis, which are what we will discuss in this article. Here, we will talk in detail about the firewall, what it consists of, how to configure it and why it is relevant.
What is a firewall?
A firewall is a computer program that allows or denies traffic on one or more interfaces. In this way, it allows you to have an exhaustive control of all the traffic that your computer receives. It is also ideal for checking the packet header and making sure that each packet complies with the system rules.
Typically, when using a local firewall, virtually all traffic will be allowed to enter computers attached to the same interface. This is because it is a private, reliable network, and you have complete control of what goes in and out of it.
However, more care must be taken with public networks. In these situations, the firewall can be automatically configured to deny access to traffic outside of your local computers.
Firewall configuration types
Based on the above, you should also set the most appropriate type of configuration for your firewall. Depending on the restrictions, this can be classified into two categories:
This means that the firewall allows access to all traffic. Nevertheless, it is possible to create an exception to block something specific or create a specific rule.
A permissive firewall is a very good alternative for private networks, especially if they are installed on a LAN and not on Wi-Fi.
The function of this configuration is exactly the same as the previous case but in reverse. That is, restrictive firewalls deny traffic from outside. Of course, you can also create a rule that serves as an exception to allow access for a specific type of traffic.
In any case, a restrictive firewall is the best option if you are going to use public networks.
Reasons to implement a firewall in Windows
Regardless of the version of Windows you use, it is essential that you have a firewall installed. Do not think that having an antivirus will be enough to protect you against all threats. Of course, unless you have a large company, you shouldn’t make a big investment in a firewall either.
In most cases, the firewall that comes pre-installed with Windows is more than enough, since it is quite advanced. In any case, here we leave a not exhaustive list with the benefits of using a firewall in Windows:
1. Scan application traffic
A firewall is capable of scanning all traffic, as we have recently explained. This gives you the opportunity to learn more about the applications and identify potential threats before using a program. As a result, you will be protected against the vast majority of computer viruses.
2. Granular control
Granular control refers to blocking or accessing traffic for a particular program based on contractual criteria. For example, specific hours of the day, applications, groups, users, among others. It is an excellent tool, especially when carrying out marketing campaigns or using social networks.
3. Manage bandwidth
By setting a good firewall configuration, this program can optimize bandwidth usage. It will prioritize the most important tasks and essential schedules, especially on those that are sensitive to latency. Remember that a lot of traffic can saturate a network.
4. Shield your information
One of the great threats of computer viruses is that they not only damage the computer but also extract information from it. By installing a firewall, you will have a wall that protects all your personal data or that of your company. It is a great measure against computer hackers.
5. Improve your PC performance
When a firewall works properly, it speeds up computer performance. This is because it distributes traffic properly, prevents malicious software, and categorizes distributed applications. Obviously, the firewall needs to be updated frequently to keep it efficient.
Disadvantages of a firewall
Actually, when talking about disadvantages, they are not inconveniences as such, but rather some aspects to take into account when installing one of these programs. First of all, there are circumstances in which the connection speed may be slightly reduced, especially when there is a lot of traffic.
You should also remember that there are many computer viruses that have the ability to bypass the most basic firewalls. And in case you want to install a firewall for your hardware, such software can be really expensive.
Finally, remember that the firewall does not replace the antivirus, nor vice versa. Both programs must work together to provide maximum protection for your computer.
How to enable the Windows Defender firewall?
The firewall provided by Microsoft themselves, as we have said before, is very effective, and best of all, it is completely free. In addition, you can use it if you already have another firewall installed, although for the basic user it is not necessary to have more than one firewall.
Steps to activate the Windows Defender firewall:
- Click the Start button and then click the Settings tab.
- In the new window, click on the Update & Security section.
- Go to Windows Security and inside click on Firewall and network protection.
- Choose a network profile and change the firewall value to On.
With this, it will be enough to have your computer protected against the most common computer attacks.