While a proper antivirus program (such as COMODO Antivirus) is essential to keeping your computer safe and virus free, there is another additional piece of software that is just as important to securing your computer from malicious hackers and rogue programs: the Firewall.
In its most basic form, a firewall will monitor and stop unauthorized entry into, or exit from, your computer from/to any external networks (such as the internet) thereby protecting your system from attacks and intrusions. While some firewalls give you only the most basic protection from such threats, COMODO firewall goes above and beyond by providing a wealth of options to fully secure your computer with ease; all for FREE! How do you take advantage of COMODO’s free firewall options? Read on:
Step 1. Normally, you will want to run only a single firewall on your computer at any given time; as running more than one Firewall increases the likelihood of major conflicts and problems between the firewalls. That said, if you have a firewall from another software vendor (such as Norton or McAfee) uninstall or disable it before proceeding.
If you have not previously installed a firewall you may still have one installed without your knowledge: the “Windows Firewall” which is installed by default with most versions of Windows. To shut off the Windows Firewall, perform the following:
Step 1-1. Open the Start menu by clicking on the “Start” button.
Step 1-2. Click “Control Panel.” the Windows control panel appears.
Step 1-3. Find and click on the “Windows Firewall” icon to open the Windows Firewall settings window.
Step 1-4. Click “Turn Windows Firewall on or off” to open the “Customize Settings” panel
Step 1-5. Click “Turn off Windows Firewall (not recommended)” wherever it is listed.
Step 1-6. After confirming your choice(s) click “OK” and restart your computer.
Windows Firewall will now be turned off, and your system prepared for installation of COMODO Firewall.
Step 2. Download and Install COMODO Firewall Free from the official COMODO website, following the steps outlined in COMODO Antivirus Free Part 1: Installation and Initial Setup. Installation of the COMODO Firewall software is nearly identical in procedure, with only a few minor differences.
Step 3. Once COMODO Firewall is installed, and your computer has restarted, you may be presented with your very first COMODO Firewall Alert: the “New Network Detected” alert. This alert generally only appears when COMODO detects a network of other computers and/or devices (e.g. printers, media devices, etc.) which your computer is a part of. As this is typically a “Green” or “Safe” alert, you can choose to close it without making any changes, or perform the following:
Step 3-1. “Give a name to this network . . .” – For future reference, you can name the network you are joining here.
Step 3-2. “I would like to be fully accessible to the other PCs in this network” – Check this box if you wish to grant access to your computers’ shared files/folders and other resources (such as printer rights) to other users on the network. Only do so if you are sure there is no sensitive information which should not be shared, in any shared location on your computer.
Step 3-3. “Do not automatically detect new networks” – Check this box if you wish to have COMODO Firewall ignore any new networks which your computer may attempt to join in the future.
Step 3-4. Once your options are in place, click “OK” to apply your selections.
If you look in your taskbar, you will now notice the COMODO Shield icon (a red shield with a big white “C” in the middle) overlaid with blinking yellow and green arrows. These arrows indicate current network activity taking place on your computer. Green, upward facing arrows signifies connections originating from your computer to the internet (i.e. Internet Explorer attempting to contact and load a webpage such as WorldStart.com,) while yellow, downward facing arrows indicate connection form the internet attempting to contact your computer (i.e. when COMODO Antivirus attempts to download new virus definitions from COMODO’s servers to your computer, in order to update your COMODO virus protection.)
As there are many different programs on your computer which initiate or request internet connections for updates, do not be worried if you see many green and yellow arrows, particularly when you are browsing the web. In addition, COMODO Firewall will alert you to connections on a regular basis, part of its thorough security protection process, which we will be discussing in our next installment: COMODO Firewall FREE part 2.