excellent preventative measure for securing individual computers on your network
is to use a personal firewall such as Zone Lab's Zonealarm, or the software firewall built into
Windows XP. For more information on firewalls, see PCSTATS' Firewall Guide here.
Unlike the firewalls present on most wireless cable/DSL routers, a personal
firewall does not protect the entire network; rather it runs as software on individual
computers and prevents unauthorized data going into or even out of each
By securing your computers in this way, you can ensure
that your data cannot easily be accessed, even from within your network. Both
Zonealarm and the Windows XP firewall block all access to shared folders once
activated with the default settings. Zonealarm has the advantage of being rather easier to configure,
and blocking unauthorized traffic from inside your computer as well as from outside, while
the XP firewall has the advantage of being included in the operating
Both are equally
effective at preventing outside access to your files. For your peace of mind,
our recommendation would be to use one of these two products to secure each of
your computers, and if you wish to allow access to your shared folders, simply
disable the firewall briefly, the reactivate it when access is no longer
To use the Windows XP firewall,
'start/control panel/network and Internet connections/network connections' then
right click on your Internet connection and select 'properties.'
Go to the 'advanced' tab and
check the 'internet connection firewall' box.
Windows XP firewall is now protecting your system. For additional information on
configuring the firewall, see PCSTATS' Firewall Guide. To disable the firewall,
simply repeat the instructions and uncheck the box.
If your PC has WindowsXP Service Pack 2 installed, the firewall should be
enabled by default. To check that this is so, go to ‘start\control
Next up, a look at a personal firewall program called Zonealarm.