Windows XP Firewall Explained - How Good Is It?

Windows XP comes built-in with a firewall, and if you are running Service Pack 2, it is turned on by default.

Although Windows XP's firewall is certainly better than nothing, you should strongly consider acquiring another firewall to work on top of, or replace (recommended!) the firewall that comes with Windows XP.
  • Windows XP's firewall filters inbound traffic only. This means that if somehow your computer gets attacked, such as by spyware, it could open holes in your machine for it to communicate with the outside world. This can potentially lead to system crashes or identity theft.
  • Windows XP's firewall lacks more advanced features that can help protect your computer. Some firewalls can determine that a computer is repeatedly trying to attack your machine, and it will eventually block all traffic from the attacker. Also, some firewalls can prevent you from accessing sites known to host suspicious activity.
  • Some software programs may seem too 'chatty', constantly communicating with a remote computer. This may be to check and see whether or not updates to a piece of software are available. Sometimes, however, this communication may be merely to display advertisements or communicate usage statistics to the software manufacture. While not directly supported by Windows XP's firewall, many other firewall programs can be configured on an application-by-application basis to prevent this needless chatter.

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