Hackers: A person who tries to access your computer and the personal information stored on it without permission.
Trojans: A computer program that keeps its presence hidden from you and can allow a hacker to gain easy access to your computer system.
Worms: A self-replicating, computer program that crawls from machine to machine across network connections.
What is a Firewall?
A firewall is your computer's first line of defense against harmful attacks from the Internet. You should use firewall software to make your computer invisible to hackers and to help protect it from destructive Trojans and worms.
Why do I need a Firewall?
With the convenience of a cable or DSL high-speed connection, many people leave their computers connected to the Internet all the time. Using a high-speed connection without a firewall leaves your computer open to attack. A firewall provides essential protection for your computer by locking intruders out. For one of the best possible defenses against common online security threats, use anti-virus protection together with a firewall.
Top 3 Reasons You Need a Firewall
Just as a lock on your front door doesn't provide complete protection for your home and family, even the best anti-virus software can only help protect you against known online viruses. Every PC connected to the Internet needs multiple protections against multiple threats. A firewall helps protect you and the information on your PC from hackers and even works with your anti-virus software to provide enhanced protection against viruses.
A firewall works by automatically and continuously monitoring the types of traffic coming into and going out of your PC, similar to a 24 hour security guard for your home or property. A firewall typically helps stop unauthorized attempts (for example, from hackers) to access data on your PC. Some of the newer firewalls also notify you when software on your PC is attempting to connect to the Internet, potentially divulging sensitive information to someone you don't know.
Reason #1. Protection for sensitive information stored on your PC.
If you store any kind of sensitive information on your PC, such as tax records, banking records, or other private files, this information is vulnerable to online theft. And its not just the information stored on your PC that is susceptible, hackers create programs that search for users typing in passwords or credit card numbers.
Reason #2. Protection against Identity Theft.
Identity Theft is a serious and growing problem. According to a report on CBS News*, "Every 79 seconds, a thief steals someone's identity, opens accounts in the victim's name and goes on a buying spree." Identity Thieves hack into unprotected PCs to look for social security numbers, birth dates, passwords and credit card numbers. They take this information to set up phony bank accounts with different addresses. Many people aren't aware they've been "hit" until they try to open a line of credit or buy a house and they find their credit rating is ruined.
Reason #3. Protection against criminals using your account to generate Spam.
Criminals search the Internet using computer programs that look for unprotected PCs to "hijack". Once they find an unprotected PC, they hack into it, and takeover the user's email account to distribute spam mail. Unfortunately, the spam is actually coming from your e-mail account.