|“If You Had Problems in the Past with a Computer Virus,
Then You'll Want to Know How Easy it is to Setup Firewall
By Steven Presar
You know the basics of computer virus protection -- don't
open email attachments' from senders that you do not know.
If you follow this simple rule, your computer will be safer
But a few weeks ago, a computer worm called “sasser”, caused
havoc with Microsoft Windows computers throughout the world.
This sasser worm spread in a completely different way, not
bothering with email (the way most viruses spread) but
instead exploited a security hole in Microsoft Windows.
This security hole allowed any computer connected to the
internet to be infected. The worm spread and infected
computers almost invisibly, thus many people were caught by
surprise when their computer problems began.
A computer virus is a set of computer program instructions
that attaches itself to programs in other computers. Viruses
are often parts of documents that are transmitted as
attachments to e-mail messages. A worm is similar to a virus
but is a self-contained program that transports itself from
one computer to another through networks.
The most obvious symptom of sasser worm was that the
infected computer would automatically shut down – thus
making troubleshooting this worm a challenge to those
A Plan of Action for Small Business
One of the ways to prevent your computer from becoming
infected by a virus or worm like sasser would be by
installing a “firewall” on your computer system.
Any computer connected to the Internet, is vulnerable to
electronic worm or virus attacks. You are protecting your
computer system by setting a firewall between your computer
or networked computers (LAN) and the Internet.
A firewall examines, filters, and reports on the
appropriateness of all information that passes through your
computer network. A firewall may ensure that information
received from an outside source is as expected and does not
contain computer a virus or worm.
This protective barrier between your computer and the
Internet will monitor incoming and outgoing internet traffic
and warned you of virus or worm before your computers became
Microsoft Windows XP includes a firewall, but it may not be
enabled on your machine because Microsoft turns it off by
If you have Microsoft Windows XP and would like to activate
your software firewall, follow these steps:
~ Within Microsoft Windows XP
~ Click on the Start button and then choose Control Panel
~ Click the Network and Internet Connections category (If
you do not see the Network and Internet Connections
category, click Switch to Category View under Control Panel
on the left side of the Control Panel window.)
~ Choose Network Connections.
~ Right-click the Dial-up, LAN or High-Speed Internet
connection(s) that you use to connect to the Internet
~ Click Properties from the menu
~ On the Advanced tab, under Internet Connection Firewall,
select "Protect my computer and network"
~ Then click OK.
You have now enabled your Windows XP firewall.
With your firewall now working, you will see a warning pop
up on screen if a virus or worm is trying to infect your
computer. You will be able to block them by denying them
You'll find your access to the internet a little more
complicated now. The first time you run any internet related
program after activating the Microsoft firewall, it will
alert you again and ask you if it is OK for your Internet
Browser to connect to the Internet.
There are some computer security experts have criticized the
shortcomings of the Microsoft’s Windows XP firewall. Thus,
there may be other software firewall packages that you may
want to look at. Some of the other firewall software
packages that you may want to look at are: Norton
(www.symantec.com), McAfee (us.mcafee.com), and ZoneAlarm
(www.zonelabs.com) software firewall packages.
What to look for in a Software Firewall
When choosing a firewall, consider such factors as:
~ ease of use,
~ technical support
~ control of incoming content (such as cookies, pop-ups,
~ the ability to control the firewall for access to more
trusted individual websites
Most firewall software packages can do the basic port
blocking needed to protect against typical virus or worm
that try to probe your system (like sasser). Other software
firewalls do not have important features like, allowing you
to control which websites that you will accept active
content (like cookies and pop-ups).
A good firewall program will also alert you when a software
application on your computer is trying to connect to the
Internet. This may help you detect whether a virus has
infected your system or whether spyware (software that
arrive on your computer without your knowledge) is trying to
report your personal profile details.
High Speed Internet Connections Firewall
If you are using a broadband Internet connection, such as
cable or DSL, you should use a hardware-based firewall in
addition to software firewall. Most of the router/hub
combinations you can buy for your computer system offer a
strong first line of defense against remote probes of your
computer. Plus, they are inexpensive, often costing less
than $20 after rebates.
Hardware based firewalls generally will not tell you when a
program on your own computer system seeks to access the
Internet. That is why, when you use a hardware firewall,
you need a software firewall installed as well.
Which Firewall is Best for Your Office?
Because of the number of incoming security threats to your
computer are so numerous and serious, the key point is that
you do have a software firewall, and if you are using a high
speed connection, a hardware firewall as well.
ZoneAlarm's firewall is a popular choice for personal use
because it can be download and use it for free. That
software firewall package may be a good starting point for
individuals new to firewall technology.
After you have your computer system secure, you might like
to check out some firewall options from, Nonags
(www.nonags.com) and PricelessWare (www.pricelessware.org).
It's becoming a better idea to have a firewall, at home and
business. It does require extra setup and is another layer
of software and hardware to navigate through to connect to
the Internet, but the piece of mind to keep your computer
system secure may be worth the effort.
Copyright Steven Presar
About the Author
Steven Presar is a recognized small business technology
coach, Internet publisher, author, speaker, and trainer. He
provides personal, home, and computer security solutions at
www.ProtectionConnect.com. He provides business software
reviews at www.OnlineSoftwareGuide.com. In addition, he
publishes articles for starting and running a small business
at www.Agora-Business-Center.com. Be sure to sign-up for
the SOHO newsletter at this site.
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