Keystone Keyboard

Computer Info You Can Live With

December 31, 2001


Firewalls - The Rest of The Story


Do you need a firewall?

L ast week our discussion focused on the theory behind a computer firewall. If you haven’t read that newsletter yet

( you may want to start there. In this newsletter, we’ll talk about downloading, installing and using a firewall.


Believe it or not, just about the best - if not THE best - software-type firewall available for home users is - brace yourself - FREE. Free to download and free to install. Yes, there’s a “Pro” version if you want added security features (It’s the version I use) OR if you are using the software commercially. Even the Pro version isn’t expensive. Which firewall am I talking about? It’s called Zone Alarm. Its biggest asset is that it basically hides your computer from the Internet.


How do you get this firewall? Simple. You just download it then install it. Choose the Pro version if you like ZoneAlarm Pro or the free version ZoneAlarm Download whichever version you feel you would like to use.


Are there other firewalls you could use? Yes, of course there are. But, this is the firewall I use and recommend because some of the best security experts in the industry say it’s the one to use. I’ve placed links at the end of this newsletter if you want to read what the experts say about Zone Alarm. You might also recall that the FBI site - - linked in our first newsletter, named only one firewall - Zone Alarm.


Before I get into how to use a firewall, let’s answer the basic question which was asked at the beginning of this newsletter. Do you need a firewall? I would answer that question this way. If you are on cable or DSL or a LAN OR if you use dial-up and stay online for periods in excess of one hour at a time, you should use a firewall.


Now, you need to know this about a firewall. At the very beginning, they are a bit of a pain. Why? Because a firewall will ask you about everything going out of your computer and everything coming in. However, there are some excellent help files offered by Zone Alarm once you have installed the firewall. I would suggest that if you install a firewall, you take the time to read through the “Getting Started” files. Again, you will need patience at the beginning. Still, once you have the firewall running for a few days, you will barely think about it yet it will be protecting your computer.


If you have any questions about whether you should use a firewall, how to download it, install it, or how to use it, please feel free to contact me.


In next week’s newsletter, we’re going to discuss things like hiding e-mail addresses when you send to more than one person and the importance of keeping your virus protection software up-to-date.


Finally, I’d like to take a moment and wish you a prosperous 2002. There are challenges ahead for all of us but together we can meet and conquer them.











Links regarding various firewall performances:




Keystone Computer Concepts




This page updated January 21, 2005
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