What is a firewall? Why do I need one for my computer?

A firewall is a protective barrier that prevents unwanted sources such as viruses, worms, trojans and other malicious code from accessing your computer or network. Firewalls can be either hardware-based or software-based. These two types of solutions can also be used in conjunction with one another.


C&IT highly recommends that you use a firewall. Newer operating systems (such as Windows XP or Windows Vista, and Mac OS X 10.4 and above) have software-based firewalls built-in. To configure these built-in firewalls, click the provided links below.


Windows 7

Windows Vista

Windows XP


If you have difficulties turning on your firewall or have a system not listed above, please contact the C&IT Help Desk.