How Does a Firewall Protect Your PC

How Does a Firewall Protect Your PC


Learn more about how firewalls work to protect you and the ‘rules’ that govern the data that come and go – to and from your PC.–PC Pitstop.

If asked what firewalls do, most people would answer that they keep you safe. While this isn’t inaccurate, it’s a sweeping oversimplification of the grand concept of the firewall itself. What it does to keep you safe and how it works are much more important concepts when understanding this seemingly enigmatic piece of software. You might have noticed that the firewall you’re using has two sets of “rules”: inbound and outbound. What do these things mean? Do you really need both of them? We’ll discuss this and discover what you should know about these concepts in any operating system, whether you’re using Windows, Linux, or Mac OS.

What Do The Terms Inbound and Outbound Mean?

These terms are used to describe what they govern.

Inbound rules govern what packets come into your computer from the internet. When a firewall is told to block inbound packets on a port or application, it will only block what comes into your computer through a specific port. If you have an inbound rule blocking an application, the firewall will first determine what port the application has open for packet transmission and block all incoming transmissions on that particular port.

Outbound rules govern what exits your computer. When you apply an outbound rule, the same thinking applies as it would in an inbound rule, the only difference being that an outbound block would simply tell the firewall to kill any packets exiting your computer through a particular port.

It’s only logical to have inbound protection, since you don’t want nasty packets coming into your computer.

But do you need outbound protection?

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