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Chapter 19. Network Security > Configuring Windows Firewall

Configuring Windows Firewall

The purpose of Windows Firewall is to examine all incoming network data looking for attempts to connect to your computer. The firewall maintains a list of networking services for which incoming connections should be permitted, within a given range of network addresses. For example, by default, Windows Firewall permits file sharing connections only from computers on the same subnet or local area network as your computer. Attempts by users outside your immediate network to contact your computer are rebuffed. This prevents Internet users from examining your shared files. (Outgoing requests, attempts by your computer to connect others, are not restricted.)

The firewall also monitors application programs and system services that announce their willingness to receive connections through the network. These are compared against a list of authorized programs. If an unexpected program sets itself up to receive incoming network connections, Windows displays a pop-up message similar to the one shown in Figure 19.4, giving you the opportunity to either prevent the program from receiving any network traffic (Keep Blocking) or add the program to the authorized list (Unblock). This gives you a chance to prevent spyware and Trojan horses from doing their dirty work. Firewall-aware programs such as Windows Messenger automatically instruct the firewall to unblock their data connections.


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