Having a firewall, either on your laptop and/or your home network is part of the protection process to help keep your accounts safe. The hardware it is for someone to get into your computer adds another layer of protection to them being able to harvest information that will let them into some or all of your accounts. There are three types of firewalls that I will talk about – OS Firewall, Software Firewall and Hardware Firewall.
- – This is also known as an operating system firewall. It is the one included by the vendor that wrote the operating system (Windows, Mac, Linux, etc) that you are using. It is better than nothing and may have some ability to adjusted to fit your needs.
Software Firewall – This is a category that everyone should be familiar with. There are a variety of vendors in this space – McAfee, Norton, Zone Alarm and BitDefender to mention just a few of the options. For those that are running linux, you already have a built in option known as Iptables that is an additional option for you.
Hardware Firewall – This is another area where there are quite a few vendors to choose from. Depending on your career field, you may bring one of the commercial solutions from companies such as Cisco and Juniper into this role. There are a host of other companies that already have a presence in this category – Ubiquiti, D-Link, ZyXEL, Linksys and others.
You should have at least one firewall in use at all times. While the firewall function that comes with Windows or Mac is ok, there are better options. Look at it this way, since the firewall function is being written by the same company that is writing the base operating system, just to add a layer of protection, wouldn’t a firewall from a 3rd party serve you better since their whole business rides on producing a good product that is the only thing they produce ? Don’t get me wrong, this is better than nothing when you don’t have an option but I want the level of difficulty raised as high as it can be for unwelcome visitors.
That leaves us with the 2nd and 3rd categories, software and hardware firewalls. Using a software firewall is the next logical choice. The trade off is that a software firewall only protects the device that it is installed on. Since the average person usually carries a smart phone and/or tablet with them. You are potentially looking at managing multiple firewalls from multiple vendors. I am not trying scare you, just laying out the facts. You may decide that devices such as smartphones or tablets don’t warrant a firewall component beyond what the vendor provides at the time of purchase.
To learn how to protect your other social media and login accounts, purchase a copy of my book “The Hackers Are Coming… How-To Safely Surf The Internet“. This book covers how to protect your other online accounts to make it as difficult as possible for someone to hack into your account.