The first internet-transmitted computer virus was found sometime in the 1970s on an early iteration of the internet. As networks grew larger, more and more viruses emerged. After people learned how to create viruses, worms, and Trojans, along with myriad other infectious and malicious programs, internet security began with simple programs designed to eradicate a single virus or threat.
The firewall was seen as a way to help prevent attacks and keep a log of all incoming and outgoing requests. Firewalls now act as a front-line defense for businesses andpersonal computerswhile connected to the internet, but no single solution will protect against everything.
The main threat is data corruption, which all viruses cause in one way or another. This means any file can be harmed and the intruder can even hide that it is meddling in your system. To prohibit attacks, the internet firewall was created, although it had existed in other earlier forms. Primitive firewalls were used to segregate networks and act as barriers through which certain information passes depending upon authentication. This is especially relevant now that most users stay connected all the time through ethernet rather than on an intermittent or dial-up basis.
Businesses use firewalls to protect their sensitive information, such as their newest product developments, customer information, supplies, and other data. Should any of this become unusable or corrupted the company stands to lose in labor, rebuilding, and eradication of the infection or malicious code. In addition, any stolen sensitive data may need to be paid for and could have legal ramifications. The ideal configuration is to use software and hardware as a tag team to maximize protection. This combination allows for seamless updates without total system shutdown, which avoids unnecessary interruptions in workplace productivity.
Home users should have a firewall software program installed with their operating system. These will have periodic updates that help keep the system safe and secure. However, a computer connected to the internet will never be 100% safe; the idea is to be 99.9% safe with a combination of firewalls and antivirus programs. A home user may also employ hardware for firewall protection if he or she runs a home-based business or hosts a website from a home server.
The early antivirus programs were designed to seek out a single attack or infection as mentioned above. As the number of viruses grew out of control, programmers recognized the need to find and remove (or quarantine) malicious or suspicious programs. The program will have a regularly updated library of known viruses and search for them or associated files on the hard drive. It will also search for certain characteristics — collecting personal data, moving system files, and so forth — and alert the user to any programs with these characteristics. The user can choose to allow or block the program depending on what it is and how he or she uses it.