If the computer you build is connected to the internet then you should seriously consider firewall protection. Firewall protection ensures there is no unauthorized access to your computer over your internet connection. Believe me, there are plenty of attempts being made! And that's not all. You may be surprised and even shocked to know that the applications you've installed yourself on your computer are themselves sending unauthorized communications out into the network to - to - well who knows where?
If you're using DSL, cable modem, or any other "up all of the time" internet access then firewall protection is a must-have to protect your PC from intruders. For dial-up connections it's not so necessary, but it's not a bad idea still and it certainly won't hurt anything. If you're using an "unlimited use" dial-up service and a second phone line then you may be on the internet more than someone with cable modem!
Now don't get worried, concerned or intimitated about firewall protection. As it turns out, it's a snap. It's easy to do. And it doesn't cause problems elsewhere. That is, as long as you use ZoneAlarm.
ZoneAlarm is the firewall program to get. It's easy to install and simple to use. After a while you hardly know it's there! ZoneAlarm's firewall protection learns as it goes. Any time an application attempts to access the internet, ZoneAlarm prompts as to whether or not the access is permitted. You can set the type of firewall protection you want for each application. You can deny/allow access on each attempt, or you can indicate to ZoneAlarm that the firewall protection you select for the application should always remain in effect without further prompting. If you change your mind later, you can bring-up ZoneAlarm and change the firewall protection for each application to whatever you like.
And it gets better. The first-class, user friendly firewall protection provided by ZoneAlarm is absolutely free. Now that's a hard deal to beat! The standard free version of ZoneAlarm is probably all you need. It's all I use. It's available as a download from the
ZoneAlarm web site.
provides additional features and control, but is not free.
With Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP comes with Windows Firewall built in and automatically enabled when the service pack is installed. While Windows Firewall does a good job of guarding against incoming traffic, it does a poor job of guarding against outgoing traffic. Unlike ZoneAlarm, Windows Firewall does not prevent unauthorized transmission by applications you have installed, does not prevent your personal information from being transmitted, and does not prevent your computer from being made a participant in a denial-of-service attack.
© 2001-2013, Rob Williams, all rights reserved.