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Windows Firewall

by Linda D. Yelverton

Firewalls are often used in networked computing environments to protect against the unauthorized and untoward. A firewall can be thought of as a complex system that runs on top of the operating system. It has several layers of security in place, from hardware configuration to communication policies, from authentication to database synchronization.

Firewall

A firewall can generate traffic analysis information (events) and log files that help prevent intrusion into the system. Since a firewall sends traffic signals based on a predetermined set of rules, it can be controlled by computers, routers or even the operating system. A firewall can also be configured to act as a security gatekeeper or checkpoint between the systems and the outside world.

Some firewalls use a routing policy that allows only local connections or external connectivity to ports through the firewall. They support filtering based on content, destination and service type. They can block incoming connections to ports that the firewall considers dangerous. There are also applications that perform the same functions as the normal firewall.

The Firewall feature in Windows XP, for example, controls Internet Access; allows all data to flow via the Microsoft Active Directory and tracks email as it travels through the inbox; and keeps track of applications that are running and the security of the application. Windows Vista introduces a Network Policy Server (NPS) and Global Address List (GAL) to manage security for the WINS network services.

Firewalls come in many forms, from hardware devices to open source software. The control of a firewall is, however, usually implemented by an operating system. Most operating systems have firewall programs included in their default installation, but sometimes programs must be installed and configured before they can run.

A firewall can also be implemented by maintaining a file. A firewall is simply a file that contains commands that the computer will execute when the command is made. A firewall acts as an interface between the rest of the computer and the Internet. A firewall’s purpose is to provide security to a computer and stop the user from going beyond the computer’s firewall. In the case of a network, the firewall controls traffic based on traffic rules and prevents unauthorized access to the network.

Firewalls have the ability to route connections that need to pass through the firewall. With firewall processing, TCP/IP can send packets without worrying about the originator or the destination of the packets.

Firewalls will detect every other router and send a packet to them. If a router does not allow the packet through, the firewall will tell the router that there is a firewall filter in place. The firewall then enters a connection that requires a special kind of router that does not require firewall processing. The router then sends the packet through the firewall.

There are firewall monitoring applications available, which help keep an eye on your firewall by reporting on certain aspects of the firewall, like whether it is opened, whether it is executing, how many packets are being sent through the firewall, etc. These are helpful in ensuring that the firewall is being used properly and is performing according to its intent.

Performance monitoring is another important task that should be performed on a regular basis. The amount of traffic that is being generated by the firewall is an important factor in performance and it will show a difference if the firewall is slow or fast.

A firewall is a system that handles connections between different networks or computers and monitors how secure each is, while performing regular security checks to prevent any unwanted attacks. Since a firewall supports a myriad of security mechanisms, the system must be updated and adjusted to ensure the most accurate results.

Firewall updates can be performed remotely. Clients, in the case of client computers, need to upgrade their firewall installations by usingthe firewall update server that will perform the updates. Clients, in the case of servers, need to send an update request to the firewall that contains the current version number of the firewall.

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