Originally published at: http://www.howtogeek.com/144269/htg-explains-what-firewalls-actually-do/
You’ve probably heard that firewalls are an important security protection, but do you know why that is? Many people don’t, if references to firewalls in TV shows, movies, and other forms of popular media are any indication.
It's important to note that, just because you have a NAT router at home, it's still not necessarily safe to go without some sort of firewall protection installed locally on your computer. This is especially true for laptops, which often roam to untrusted networks such as airports, coffee shops, etc. Even on local networks you control, the firewall on your computer can help protect you against malware infections being spread if another computer on your network picks up a bug. Just because you're not directly connected to the Internet doesn't mean the network you are connected to is safe.
That's for sure. Seriously, all you need is for someone in your house to catch a something by visiting a hacked web site or opening a malicious email attachment. Of course, that never happens to anyone who frequents HTG.
Not to mention that there is also the possibility to create free Linux Firewalls like Untangle and Ipcop on machines that act as middlemen between modems and switches.
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