Turn On Your Computer's Firewall

Why should you turn on your computer's firewall?

  • Your computer's firewall acts as a protective barrier between your computer and the internet, allowing only the network traffic you permit. For more information, see:

    Mac Firewall
    Windows Firewall (Windows 10)

  • Hackers search the Internet by sending out pings (calls) to random computers and wait for responses. Firewalls prevent your computer from responding to these calls.
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What should you do?

  • IMPORTANT: Faculty and staff should consult with the ITS Support Center or your ITS Divisional Liaison before changing the firewall settings on a departmental computer. Students can contact the ITS Support Center for help and advice.
  • Most new computers come with a built-in firewall so there's no extra equipment or software to buy. Consult your computer's security settings option to determine if you have a built-in firewall. If the option exists, turn on the firewall. Default settings are typically acceptable for most people. The most important thing is to make sure your firewall is turned on. See the Mac and Windows firewall links above for more information.
    • Once your firewall is turned on, test it for open ports that could allow in viruses and hackers. Firewall scanners like the one at Gibson Research Corporation (ShieldsUp!) simplify this process (click "proceed," then click "common ports" or "all service ports" to scan your firewall for holes).
  • If your mobile device has built-in firewall or access control functionality, these features should be activated. Default settings are typically acceptable for most people.


Contact the ITS Support Center if you would like your computer configured to meet these requirements. If you have questions, contact the Support Center or your ITS Divisional Liaison.

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