Working With Firewalls

A firewall, in simple words, is a system or a group of systems that enforces an access control policy between two networks. Further, in even simpler terms, you can express that there is a two-way system present in all firewalls. Out of these, one exists to block traffic, while the role of the other is to permit traffic.

In order to avoid any interference and to prevent any intruder from coming into your network, the presence of this security system is a must. Therefore, the need arises to develop and to create a check point at the top of every system and every in-built network that is directly connected to the Internet. It’s also important for every system where the central point of security in the network is absent. It is the firewall that leaves no stone unturned in security safety.

The firewall gives protection and acts as a shielding element to its users by monitoring information and also restricting information wherever necessary.

Note that, if you are running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2), the Windows Firewall is turned on by default. However, there is a possibility that some computer manufacturers or network administrators might turn it off. If this is the case for you, you may want to seriously consider turning it back on. If you are not familiar with the procedure to start the firewall in Windows XP, just follow these basic steps:

1.) Click on the Start button.

2.) Choose the Control Panel. This will take you to the window shown in Figure 1.

3. Double click on the Security Center icon to open the dialogue box as shown in Figure 2.

4. Check for the firewall status. It should look like the screenshot below.

If the status of your firewall is “ON,” close the window. Otherwise, continue with the next step.

5. Click on the Windows Firewall icon.

This will pop up a dialogue box as shown in the figure below.

6. Select the option to start the firewall and click OK. Your screen should match the above image, if you are starting the firewall.

The important point to introduce here is that the primary requirement of any firewall is its ability to provide security services. But, at the same time, this is feasible only when it is configured in the proper manner. Once you have it enabled, it is very easy to use and you should have no trouble running it. Just work with the settings and get it set the way you want it to run on your computer.

Again, in view of the above discussion, we can easily come to the conclusion that Windows XP has a wonderful in-built firewall that will provide you with security services, but you have to enable it for it to be able to help you. There is a dialogue box you can bring up on your screen by double clicking on the Windows Firewall icon in the Control Panel (from step five) that explains even more about the firewall, in case you need any more information.

~ Vikram Gaur