As the name implies, a firewall is a protective barrier and its job is similar to that of a physical firewall. They stand between your computer and the rest of the digital world to keep you protected from online threats. A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that secures your computer by limiting who can send you information. All information entering or leaving a network passes through a firewall, which either allows or blocks information based on specified security criteria.

How does a firewall protect you?

  • They prevent unauthorized users from accessing your Internet connected computer and network
  • They monitor communications between your computer and other computers on the Internet
  • They establish a protective shield that allows or blocks attempts to access the information on your computer
  • They warn you of connection attempts from other computers
  • They warn you of connection attempts by the applications on your computer that connect to other computers

What can't a firewall protect against?

Since firewalls can't determine the contents of email messages so they do not protect you from viruses and phishing attacks sent through emails.

  • Firewalls can’t protect you from viruses attached to emails. You should use antivirus software to detect and delete suspicious email attachments.
  • Firewalls can’t protect you from phishing attacks delivered through emails. Learn how to protect yourself from phishing scams.

Firewalls and protecting your connected home

If your home is connected, be sure to protect your smart home devices. Turn on all firewalls on your computers and wireless router. Add an extra layer of security to your computers by using security software. Your wireless network itself may be secure, but it is not secure from the various types of malware that can be transmitted to your computers via the Internet. Everything is connected. More tips for a secure connected home.

Build up your firewalls to defend against hackers and viruses

The most important first step you can take to protect your computer is to turn on a firewall. You can manage and setup your firewall setting in the Security & Privacy section under your computer’s System Preferences section.

Firewalls act as a barrier to keep harmful things out, protecting your computer and personal information from hackers and malicious software such as viruses and worms that are spread through the Internet. A firewall also prevents the proliferation of viruses by blocking outgoing traffic from your computer that contains malicious software. To remain protected, remember to always have up-to-date firewall protection on your computers and servers, use security software, and install general software updates.

Firewalls are your first line of defense against cyber threats and thus they are vital to an overall cybersecurity strategy. Firewalls and antivirus software is not the same thing. However, in addition to antivirus and security software, complex passwords, and safe online practices, firewalls provide added protection, which increases your chances of staying safe online.

How to protect your privacy

If after reading the facts you are still concerned about cookies, there are a few measures you can take to protect your privacy. First, be selective about which websites you chose to visit. Second, remember you can always opt-out or decide the level of information you wish to share, so check your browser’s privacy settings. Most browsers have settings, which allow you to establish your preferences for cookies, allowing you to delete or block them from your computer.

For your peace of mind, when it comes to protecting your digital life, we recommend you use Norton Security, the security software that provides you with a 100% Virus Protection Promise: in the unlikely case you get a virus, one of our experts will remove it for you or you'll get your money back*.
Learn more here.

* To be eligible, you must purchase or renew your Norton subscription directly from Symantec, or from a retail store and subscribe to the Norton Automatic Renewal Service online. If a Symantec service representative is unable to remove a virus from your device, then you may receive a full refund on the actual price paid for the Norton subscription, or if a bundle, the total price of the bundled price paid (net of any discounts or refunds received and less any shipping, handling and applicable taxes, except in certain states and countries where shipping, handling and taxes are refundable) and only for the current paid subscription service period for that product or product bundle. The Norton subscription must be installed and activated on your device prior to the time it is infected by a virus. The refund DOES NOT apply to any damages incurred as a result of viruses. See for details.