Pc Security Shields

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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When you go to an airport, you're required to pass through a security checkpoint before you're allowed to board a plane. Security checkpoints are crucial because they provide the airport with the means to identify and prevent any potential trouble, by thoroughly assessing all passengers before the flight. While airport security is designed to limit the prospect of physical danger, there are security checkpoints for your PC that are designed to prevent digital peril. If you want to be assured of your computer's safety, it's important to install one of these security checkpoints, which are known as "firewalls."

When a PC is connected to the Internet, or a network, a firewall acts as a checkpoint for data, examining every file for signs of possible trouble. The firewall examines all incoming and outgoing traffic, and determines which files to allow through the checkpoint, and which files to stop. This protects your PC (and, if applicable, the network), by ensuring that only safe traffic is accepted by, or transmitted from, your computer.

How PC Security Shields Work

Information travels through a computer in "packets," which are small bundles of data. Every packet is given a specific degree of authorization, which dictates where it is permitted to freely travel. For example, some packets have a sort of all-access pass, and can move freely to and from the computer. Other packets are subject to examination before being granted access to an area, and are sometimes completely prevented from reaching their destination.

A firewall can determine where each packet came from, as well as where it intends to go. After examining a packet, the firewall will either approve it, before ushering the packet to its destination, or deny it and send it back to its source. All traffic is recorded by the firewall, including the source and destination of each packet, and whether the packet was allowed to pass. The firewall can draw on this record for certain events, such as when its rules are adjusted to accommodate a secure, but occasional, connection with a specific trusted computer.

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