Computers that are connected to the Internet are vulnerable to attack by hackers and viruses. With no protection computers are vulnerable to data theft or being controlled remotely. Firewall programs prevent unauthorized access of the computer and prevents viruses from sending data out. There are several firewall programs that can be downloaded and used for free.
Microsoft Windows Firewall
As of 2010 the Microsoft Windows Firewall was offered as part of Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. The Windows Firewall is a half firewall because it only protects the computer from external threats. The Windows Firewall will not prevent data from leaving a system. The fact that this firewall is packaged as a standard Windows installation makes it an excellent option until a more full featured firewall is installed.
Zone Alarm Free Firewall 2010
The Zone Alarm Free Firewall 2010 offers both inbound and outbound protection. The Zone Alarm Free Firewall also provides identity theft protection, anti-phishing protection and uses online communication with other computers using the software to anticipate threats.
The Comodo Firewall+Anti-virus software combines firewall and virus protection in one package. Version 4.0 offers a sandbox feature. The sandbox feature gives unknown traffic very limited access at first to catch and block threats.
PC Tools Firewall Plus
The PC Tools Firewall Plus is compatible with Windows XP and both the 32 bit and 64 bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows 7. Version six is designed to be user friendly for both novices and experts and prevents firewall warnings from interrupting full screen games.
Ashampoo Firewall Free
Ashampoo Firewall Free received a five star rating from Softpedia. Ashamptoo Firewall Free offers both inbound and outbound protection in a compact program designed to be small and efficient.
Agnitum Outpost Firewall Free
Agnitum Outpost Firewall Free received a 2008 Gold Award from Webuser, an Editor's Choice award from PC Utilities and a 2008 Protect Star Award. Agnitum Outpost Firewall free monitors applications running on the computer to detect unknown threats.
Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall
Sunbelt Personal Firewall received a five cow rating from Tucows.com. As of 2010 Sunbelt Personal Firewall was not compatible with 64 bit systems. Sunbelt Personal Firewall is designed to work with VIPRE Anti-virus + Spy-ware.
Sygate Personall Firewall
Sygate Personal Firewall received a five cow rating from Tucows. Sygate was acquired by Symantec and is now freeware. Sygate Personal Firewall is compatible with Windows 95, 98, 2000, Me, and XP.
Online Armor Free
Online Armor Free offers tamper protection, keylogger protection, and script/worm protection. Online Armor Free must be updated manually to maintain the latest version.
Filsecab Personal Firewall Professional Edition
Filseclab Personal Firewall Professional offers digital signature verification to allow access for well-known programs. This version provides an interactive rules creator for easy firewall rule creation.