A firewall is a security system that controls traffic flowing between computer systems/networks. It acts as a barrier between a secure internal network (or single computer or device) and other, less secure networks or computers, eg the internet.
They can hide a network/device and protect it from hackers, who may wish to gain access to steal data or take control of machines to use for other purposes. Firewalls come as either ‘hardware’ - a physical box with network connections and running software to manage traffic, or ‘software’ - which you can load directly onto a computer or device.
The University employs a firewall to keep its networks secure and to monitor traffic in and out of its network.
There are a number of firewalls available for personal use, to help you keep your personal computer or mobile device secure. Some are free, others charge a fee or come as part of a paid for package that can include antivirus, anti-spyware or anti-malware products.
Some examples of free personal firewalls:
- Zone Alarm – Free download
- Comodo Firewall – Free download
- Windows firewall – Pre installed on Windows PCs (Vista, 7)
Some examples of firewalls as part of a paid for security suite are: