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Wireless Internet

Use a Firewall

SUMMARY: Help protect your machine when connecting to a wi-fi hotspot by using firewall software.

While it is highly recommended whenever you access the Internet to use a firewall, this is doubly so if you connect to the Internet via a wi-fi (wireless) connection! You do not know whether or not the network to which you are connected is protected at all from viruses or other nuisances, so connecting an unprotected laptop to a wi-fi network may leave it open to infections as well as attacks on unpatched operating system vulnerabilities.

Generally, you should treat ALL wi-fi connections as insecure.

If you are using Windows XP Service Pack 2, you already have a firewall installed. Make sure it is turned on unless you are using a third-party firewall:

1. Click "Start" - "Control Panel".
2. Choose "Security Center" or "Windows Firewall", whichever is listed.
3. When the "Windows Firewall" dialog box appears, select the "General" tab.
4. Click the radio button next to "On".
5. If desired, check "Don't allow exceptions".
6. Click "OK" to close the dialog box.

You may also want to use a third-party firewall, such as ZoneAlarm or Norton's:

Norton Personal Firewall - http://www.symantec.com/sabu/nis/npf/

ZoneAlarm - http://www.zonelabs.com/

Return to the Wireless Internet page.

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.