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Firewalls and Anti-Virus Programs Essay

Electronic Computers are machines that are designed to make the jobs of humans easier. The rise of industrialization made it inevitable for humans to develop such a mechanical object which may lighten tasks that consume a lot of time and thus, need painstaking care. Humans have been successful in this undertaking, but unfortunately, as humans are susceptible to errors, so do are these machines (Copplin). Computers no matter how mechanical they are, have limitations.

Sometimes these limitations are made apparent by humans unintentionally, but there are also times when humans design things that are meant to rival the advantage of their own work. As they have created useful programs, they also made not only inutile but also utterly destructive programs. They created viruses or worms that affect computers, in a way that a disease might affect a person. The solution for “computer illnesses” comes in the form of firewalls and anti-virus software. These are programs that are created to counteract the effects of viruses. They serve to both shield and prevent the entry and artillery when a breach has taken place.

This shield function involves filtering of all files coming into the computer while the artillery may include quarantine activities to avoid the spread of any acquired virus (Barrios). As viruses are programs that are meant to reproduce and damage the computer system through multiplication, anti-virus programs are designed to act like healers. They are programs that actively search and destroy viruses or malicious programs in one’s computer. They scan newly downloaded files to assure that there is no entry of infection in the system. Anti-virus programs may be updated as often as the computer owner wishes.

This update will enable the program to familiarize itself to developments of new viruses that are spreading or improvement of old ones thus, the security of the system is continuously adjusted and improved to better suit the need of the system (Barrios). There are many available anti-virus programs in the market. Some are installed through CD and others are downloadable without fee from the internet. Two of the most famous anti-virus programs are the Norton anti-virus program and the Mcafee anti-virus program. They were proven by numerous computer users as very effective softwares.

They are also affordable and convenient as they offer regular upgrades for the programs on the internet. Like any other programs, there are also disadvantages of anti-virus programs. Anti-virus programs are reactive programs that are designed to respond to the newly developed viruses or threats. This may be considered as a benefit for an immediate cure may be devised and administered readily as response, but there are also facts that point that this nature of anti-virus programs may actually be considered a drawback. Because of this nature, these kinds of programs are prone to false positive results.

Since the upgrades are automated, there is a high probability for mistakes. There are anti-virus softwares that take a while before detecting new threats on the net. The shortest time that an anti-virus program may track a threat is three days after it was released on the net. Today’s researchers are still in the process of improving this and gradually reducing it to a smaller number (Hruska) With such a loophole, computer users may resort to another security option. Other than anti-virus programs, they may also opt to install firewalls in their private or corporate networks.

The anti-virus programs serve as the artillery while the firewalls are the shield that re put up in defense of the important files saved in the computer hardware. Firewalls are programs designed to protect private networks from unauthorized entry. It prevents other users to access and extract files or information without permission from a main source that is connected to the internet. Huge companies who consider not permitted extraction of information as a cause for concern may utilize firewalls to secure their files (Ranum). Some firewalls are designed to do one or two things.

Some installed firewalls protect a personal or a company’s internal network from unwanted interchange from public internet. There are also some that may limit the access from the hosts of the corporate network to public services available on the internet. Still, there are other firewall setup that may support the use of private IP addresses for corporate or internal networks while at the same time share one connection to the public internet (Barbish). As according to the above-mentioned functions, there are many advantages in installing a firewall in one’s computer especially within a corporate network.

However, like the anti-virus software, firewalls also have disadvantages. Since there are some firewalls that cannot function as the other does, it makes it impossible to have all the necessary security measures by installing only a firewall. It is not also probable to install more than two firewall programs in one’s computer. In addition, firewalls do not function the way anti-virus softwares do (Caruso) Given that, firewalls are known to work best with an anti-virus software. Where the firewall fails, the anti-virus software continues to work.

They are mutually necessary for each other in order to have a tight security for one’s personal computer. Anything that passes the firewall may easily be traced by the anti-virus program the moment it does internal scanning of files in the hard drive. While anti-virus programs are designed to protect a single unit of hard drive, the firewall works well as a barrier from malicious programs and hackers for networked computers (Ranum n,p). It also acts as a screen that keeps the private network safe from malicious users in the internet. Some users get confused on what should be applied to their computers.

While it is already quite depressing for single unit users, large corporations are boggled by this dilemma. If in any case the threat gets past both the anti-virus program and the firewall, all information that is classified goes out to the public. This is why some large corporations would rather have no internet connection than risk their security (Ranum). Researchers suggested that since one of the two security programs cannot function as the other, it may be effective to use them together. First is to install a firewall that will keep all threats out.

Second is to put in an effective anti-virus program which can trace new viruses on the net the fastest among all other anti-virus software. Then install another firewall program for better measures in case both initial programs were breached. This way, the trespassing users in the public internet may be kept out as well as the malicious programs that may destroy the whole system of the computer (Cheswick 90). It may then be concluded that the desire of man to make work lighter have lead to the advent of computers and other technological advancements.

However, due to the unquenched desire to improve things, man has also created things that can damage or destroy what has been created. This way man can once again build something that may respond to the destruction that has been invented. In the case of computers, the things that destroy are the viruses designed by some programmers, while the things that respond to the damages are the anti-virus programs and firewalls. The firewall protects a personal or corporate network from any breach by unauthorized person who has internet access.

It protects classified information from spreading without permission and also prevents spread of malicious programs that may enter through the public network. On the other hand, the anti-virus acts as support in cases where the threat has already entered the system. The other is the guard while the other is the cleaner. These two computer innovations compliment each other in keeping the files and the entire personal or corporate computer system safe and well guarded from any kind of malicious threats. Works Cited Barbish, Joseph J. “Firewalls”. 2009. FreeBSD.

26 January 2009 <http://www. freebsd. org/doc/en/books/handbook/firewalls. html#FIREWALLS-INTRO>. Barrios, Barclay. “Antivirus Programs”. 2008. Rutgers Writing Program. 26 January 2009 <http://66. 102. 1. 104/scholar? hl=tl&lr=&q=cache:_zUTrdU13U8J:getit. rutgers. edu/tutorials/viruses/media/virus. doc+meaning+of+anti+virus+programs>. Caruso, Ronald D. MD. “Personal Computer Security”. 2003. Radio Graphics. 26 January 2009 < http://radiographics. rsnajnls. org/cgi/content/full/23/5/1329>. Cheswick, William R. Internet Security. Massachusetts: Addison-Wesley, 1996. Copplin, John.

“An Illustrated History of Computers”. 2002. Computer Science Lab. 26 January 2009 < http://www. computersciencelab. com/ComputerHistory/History. htm>. Hruska, Joel. “Antivirus Programs Unreliable During Critical Coverage Gap”. 30 November 2008. Ars Techinica. 26 January 2009 <http://arstechnica. com/news. ars/post/20081130-av-programs-unreliable-during- critical-coverage-gap. html>. Ranum, Marcus J. “Thinking about Firewalls”. 1993. Trusted Information Systems, Inc. 26 January 2009 <http://www. vtcif. telstra. com. au/pub/docs/security/ThinkingFirewalls/ThinkingFirewalls. html>.

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