The importance of a firewall cannot be over-emphasized. A Firewall can block threats that your antivirus may miss. Not only that, it can prevent hackers from breaking into your computer! The in-built Windows firewall is great – and just good enough for the regular home-user who wants protection and who does not want to be bothered with setting it up. Leaving the default values for your Windows firewall should suffice, and along with a good antivirus software, give you ample protection for your Windows computer. But if you want an easy UI that will help you configure the Windows Firewall, you could check out Windows 7 Firewall Control, Windows Firewall Control and Windows Firewall Notifier.
Free Firewall software for Windows
However, if you are looking for a third-party firewall for your computer, there are several free solutions available. Let us check out some free stand-alone firewall software for your Windows PC.
Comodo Free Firewall
These days, the feature-rich and easy-to-use Comodo Free Firewall has become very popular. It promises to stealth your computer’s ports against hackers and will also block malicious software from transmitting your confidential data over the Internet. The Comodo Free Firewall will monitor all aspects of communications between your computer and the Internet. This prevents common hacking methods such as port scanning. The firewall references a list of over two million known PC-friendly applications. If a file is not on this ‘safe-list’, the Firewall immediately alerts you to the possibility of attacking malware.
ZoneAlarm Free Firewall
ZoneAlarm Free Firewall at one point of time was the most popular third-part firewall for Windows – but over a time some started getting the feeling that it had become too bloated. It is nevertheless still the worlds most downloaded firewall software. The firewall is very easy to configure and fr an average user, its settings are best left at default. It is very effective in stopping Internet attacks at the front door and even catches thieves on their way out. Its 2-way firewall proactively protects against inbound and outbound attacks while making you invisible to hackers. There are still many today who swear by it.
Emsisoft Online Armor Free Firewall
Online Armor Free Firewall helps stop Hackers, stops Malicious Programs and protects your Identity. It offers the following protection: Kernel Mode Security, Web Shield File/Registry Shield, Phishing Filter, Execution Protection, Termination Protection Limited Autostart Protection, Keylogger Detection, Tamper Protection, DNS Spoofing Protection and Script/Worm protection. The free version offers lesser features as compared to its paid premium offering - but if its basic inbound-outbound protection you are looking for, this firewall servers the purpose.
There are ways you can configure the Windows firewall using some thirdy-party tool. TinyWall is freeware that further hardens the advanced firewall of Windows 7. It is a light-weight solution with negligibale performance impact and lets you work without giving out any pop-ups whatsoever. No additional drivers or kernal components are installed with it. TinyWall will give your Windows Firewall a secure configuration and present you with a simple interface where you can easily define what has network access and what not. It will also allow you to easily prevent other programs from modifing or overwriting your firewall settings. If you are looking for a very basic and simple solution, you might want to consider using this firewall.
PrivateFirewall is a proactive, multi-layered defense solution for Windows desktops and servers. It detects, blocks and quarantines activity characteristic of known malware, hacking, phishing and other threat types. Its packet inspection, URL filtering, anti-logger, process monitor, and application/system behavior modeling and anomaly detection components stop hackers, spyware, viruses and other forms of malware before they can cause damage. It is a 3.5MB download. (Updated thanks to Samit).
Do you use any third-party firewall on your Windows, and if so which one? Which firewall would you like to recommend? We’d love to hear this.
Yesterday, we read about the difference between hardware firewall and software firewalls. In a few days, we will show you ways to test your firewall software, for free, and find out how well it is protecting your computer.
Go here if you are looking for free Internet Security Suite software for your Windows computer.