Cyber-Safety Basics: Turn on Personal Firewalls

Turn on Personal Firewalls

Why should you turn on personal firewalls? Because:

  • Personal firewalls are protective barriers between computers and the Internet, allowing only the network traffic you permit. For more information, see:

    → Mac Firewall
    → Microsoft Firewall

  • Hackers search the Internet by sending out pings (calls) to random computers and waiting for responses. Firewalls prevent your computer from responding to these calls.
  • Most new computers come with built-in personal firewalls, so there's no extra equipment or software to buy.

To turn on personal firewalls:

  • Consult your computer's security settings option to determine if you have a built-in personal firewall. If you do, turn it on (see important note below, first).
  • Once your firewall is turned on, test your firewall for open ports that could allow in viruses and hackers. Firewall scanners like the one on http://www.auditmypc.com/firewall-test.asp simplify this process.
  • IMPORTANT: Faculty and staff should consult with their department's Technical Support Coordinator (TSC) before turning on a personal firewall on a departmental computer.
  • Students can contact the IT Express Computing Services Help Desk, 530-754-HELP (4357), for help and advice.