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How to protect your computer with a firewall

The door to safety swings on the hinges of common sense

The Internet is a dangerous place if you don’t know how to navigate correctly or don’t take proper precautions. A firewall is a program that acts as a protective barrier, a gatekeeper or a security guard between you and the Internet. In other words, it prevents unauthorized Internet traffic from entering or leaving your computer, both by software programs and users.

Windows Firewall

Windows Defender is a decent firewall and antivirus inbuilt in Windows operating system that can be enough for most users.

If you don’t have any other firewall running, you should turn on the Windows Defender’s firewall by navigating through Settings, Privacy & Security, Windows Security, Firewall & network protection. If the firewall is off, you will see a red x icon, click the Turn on button to turn on the firewall. The red x icon will turn into a green check. Windows Firewall 

The best free firewalls are:

  1. ZoneAlarm Free Firewall is one of the world’s most downloaded amd popular firewall software programs. It is a limited free version of ZoneAlarm Pro/ZoneAlarm Pro Antivirus & Firewall. ZoneAlarm Free Firewall
  2. Comodo Firewall Free is a personal firewall software.
  3. GNU/Linux: Firewalld and ufw.

macOS’s Firewall

Apple integrates within macOS a firewall that controls all incoming and outgoing connections to your Mac.

It comes disabled by default, but should be enabled whenever possible. To turn on the Firewall, go to System Preferences, Security & Privacy, Firewall, and smash the Turn On Firewall button.

macOS Firewall 

Then, click Firewall Options to fine-tune the firewall settings, Enable Automatically allow built-in/downloaded signed software to receive incoming connections (it adds stock apps -iTunes, Mail, Messages- and downloaded apps that are signed by a valid certificate authority to the list of allowed apps) and stealth mode (it prevents your macOS from responding to probing requests or queries to reveal its existence from the network). macOS Firewall 


Firewalld is a firewall that uses nftables by default. This brief tutorial shows you how to install and configure it in Arch, GNU/Linux.

# Install necessary packages
sudo pacman -S firewalld ipset ebtables
# Enable and start firewalld.service.
sudo systemctl enable --now firewalld.service
# Change the default zone to home.
sudo firewall-cmd --set-default-zone=home
# Open ftp, htpp, samba, and synchthing services: --permanent because changes made in Runtime configuration are lost when the firewalld service is restarted.
sudo firewall-cmd --add-service=ftp --permanent
sudo firewall-cmd --add-service=http --permanent
sudo firewall-cmd --add-service=samba --permanent
sudo firewall-cmd --zone=home --add-service=syncthing --permanent
# Allow traffic on an incoming port (24800) -Barrier-
sudo firewall-cmd --add-port=24800/tcp --permanent
# Restart the firewall.
sudo firewall-cmd --reload
# List allowed service and ports on the system
sudo firewall-cmd --list-service
dhcpv6-client fttp http mdns samba samba-client ssh syncthing


Ufw stands for the uncomplicated firewall

  1. Installation: sudo apt install ufw
  2. Basic usage. Enable/Disable ufw: sudo ufw enable/disable
  3. Reload ufw: sudo ufw reload
  4. Check the current sate of UFW. If it is active, it shows a list of rules: sudo ufw status verbose
  5. Allow ssh (sudo ufw allow ssh/tcp), Barrier (sudo ufw allow 24800), NFS (sudo ufw allow from [client IP address or local network] to any port nfs).
  6. Allow Synching: sudo ufw allow synching synching-gui
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