Confused how firewalls work? Here’s how they protect your information

Firewalls on your computer do more than you think to protect your information. Here's how different programs work and what your computer might use.

Question: What does a firewall do and is it something I need to get?

Answer: In the early days of the internet, we often connected through a dial-up modem or some other form of direct connection.

When you connected in this way, your computer was assigned a “public IP address,” which meant that it was directly accessible by others on the internet.

It was important to install a software firewall to block direct access to your computer when you were connected to the internet. Popular consumer-focused firewalls like Zone Alarm also monitored outgoing traffic to alert the user when suspicious activity was detected.