View Full Version : Do I need an external firewall? which one?

The article at the following link states that I need to get an external physical firewall for my new computer, before connecting to the internet for the first time. http://www.us-cert.gov/publications/before-you-connect-your-new-computer-to-the-internet

Is the article accurate?

Is there an affordable external firewall that I can purchase for my new HP Pavilion P6 Series Windows 8 computer, for home use, that is not a router? This computer does not have wireless capability, Ethernet only.

I have had the computer since Dec 2012, but have been unable to get it set-up, because I can not get online to download the necessary updates while it is unprotected.

A hardware based firewall is really a software firewall running on a dedicated piece of hardware or specialized device (routers, broadband gateways) that sits between a modem and a computer or network. A hardware firewall is based on "Network Address Translation" (NAT) which hides your computer from the Internet or NAT plus "Stateful Packet Inspection" (SPI). It can provide a strong degree of protection from most forms of attacks coming from the outside (incoming traffic). Hardware firewalls are easy to configure and can protect every machine on a local or home network. A hardware firewall typically uses packet filtering to examine the header of a packet to determine its source and destination addresses. This information is compared to a set of predefined or user-created rules that determine whether the packet is allowed (forwarded) or denied (dropped) on particular ports. They tend to treat any kind of traffic traveling from the local network out to the Internet as safe which can be a security risk.

With a software firewall you have customized control and can specify which applications are allowed to communicate (outgoing traffic) over the Internet from your computer. Programs that are not explicitly allowed to do so are either blocked or else the user is prompted for confirmation before the traffic is allowed to pass. Software firewalls generally offer the best measure of protection against Trojans and worms but they are harder to configure and must share resources with other running processes which can decrease system performance. Many software firewalls have user defined controls for setting up safe file and printer sharing and to block unsafe applications from running on your system.

The Differences and Features of Hardware & Software Firewalls
Choosing a Firewall: Hardware v. Software
How to choose a firewall
Understanding and Using Firewalls

I understand that the US-CERT recommends it. But from a realistic standpoint, is it practical for everyone to have one?

No. As I said in my previous reply, it is not a mandatory requirement...just a recommendation by US-CERT (for added protection).