Built-in Personal Firewalls

Important Note: Some Schools and Centers manage firewalls via their own network servers. Faculty and staff should speak with their Local Support Provider (LSP) to determine if and how their firewall is being managed.

Both Apple's OS X and Microsoft Windows operating systems have built-in personal firewalls which can help to protect your computer from some network attacks. The firewall provides an added level of protection against malicious activity by examining and restricting network traffic to your computer. Information Systems & Computing (ISC) recommends using the built-in firewall in conjunction with other good security practices such as promptly applying system and application updates and setting the current version of Symantec Endpoint Protection for regular, automatic updates.

Both the OS X and Windows built-in personal firewalls are commonly used at the University with few issues.

Availability

The Apple OS X built-in personal firewall is included with the operating system.

Configuration

To activate/configure your system's firewall, do the following:

OS X Lion 10.7 and OS X Mountain Lion 10.8

From the Apple Menu, select System Preferences... and click the Security & Privacy pane. Click on the Firewall tab. Ensure the firewall is on and close System Preferences.

OS X Snow Leopard 10.6

From the Apple Menu, select System Preferences... and click the Security pane. Click on the Firewall tab. Ensure the firewall is on and close System Preferences.

Availability

The Windows XP built-in personal firewall is included with the operating system. With the release of Windows XP Service Pack 2, the firewall was significantly improved - enhancements included closing ports except when they are in use, improving the user interface for configuration, and improving application compatibility.

The built-in firewall in later versions of Windows resembles the one in Windows XP Service Pack 2, with some added capabilities.

Configuration

To activate your system's firewall, complete the following steps in a user account with Administrative privileges:

Windows 7 and Windows Vista

  1. Go to the Start menu/screen
  2. Select the Control Panel and then Security
  3. Click on "Check firewall status"
  4. This option will bring up the User Account Control
  5. Select continue to enter the Windows Firewall settings
  6. Turn firewall on, off, or "on without allowing exceptions"

Windows XP, Service Pack 2 and Above

  1. Go to the Start menu
  2. Select Settings and then Control Panel
  3. Right-click Network Connections and select Properties
  4. Click the Advanced tab and then click Settings
  5. Turn firewall on, off, or "on without allowing exceptions"
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Date Posted: June 28, 2013 Tags: Security, Firewall

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