Are you looking to beef up your online security in 2021?
Even though Windows comes preinstalled with free firewall software, it’s still one of the most attacked operating systems around. The Windows firewall tries to do an adequate job of keeping your device safe, and your router also comes with some software to protect you against any hardware attacks. However, it doesn’t hurt to add an extra layer of protection just to be cautious.
In addition to obtaining an antivirus app and VPN, you should also install firewall software to keep your device free of any malware. It might sound like a lot of money to lay out. But fortunately, you can get some high-quality firewall software without spending a cent.
But which free firewall software do you choose? What’s the most up-to-date and ready to keep you protected from whatever 2021 has to throw at you? There’s no need to try them all out for yourself. Here is the only free firewall protection for your Windows device that you need to consider.
What Does a Firewall Do?
A firewall monitors your internet traffic and decides what it will let through to your device and what might cause harm to your system. Its purpose is to protect any device connected to the network from malware attacks or malicious activity.
There are three techniques that a firewall will use to complete its purpose. These methods are known as packet filtering, proxy service, and stateful inspection.
Packet filtering is the simplest form of firewall protection. All it does is stop any data packet from entering the network. If one is detected, the firewall flags it and discards it immediately.
The proxy service is the next layer of defense. The firewall proxy will retrieve the necessary data and send it to another system. Both connections must use a proxy in order for the session to continue. Once the connection is made, all data that transfers through the system is scanned by the firewall.
Lastly, there is the stateful inspection method. This provides the most advanced firewall protection by scanning data attributes for every connection in a session. Combined with the other two techniques, the firewall retains information around ports, IP addresses, and anything else that is needed to ensure a safe and secure experience.
Why You Need a Third-Party Firewall
These days, many operating systems and routers come with a built-in firewall. As such, it has many people wondering why they need to invest in another firewall or install a free one.
It’s true that your router will provide protection against some attacks. However, it can’t always protect you from trojans. This type of attack is capable of opening multiple outbound connections to invite other viruses onto your network.
Windows 10 also comes installed with Defender. When you compare this firewall to third-party applications, the quality of features just doesn’t stack up no matter how many updates Microsoft deploys.
With a third-party firewall, you can manage your security settings as well as the websites and applications you want to be blocked. Databases will get updated more frequently to ensure your Windows 10 device is protected against the latest threats.
But perhaps the best feature is the ability to interact with it on your own terms. Windows Defender can be intrusive and interrupt your experience. With many third-party firewall applications, you can choose to receive real-time updates or open the application in your own time to read reports and logs.
It might not be necessary to spend money on a firewall for Windows 10. However, you should at least install a free firewall application to ensure you’ve got the best protection when you’re online.
How to Determine the Best Firewall Software
Now that you understand how a firewall works, you need to determine what features you need to protect your operating system. The best free firewall protection should include these attributes as a minimum:
· Superior customer support in case anything goes wrong
· Prevention and protection from all malicious threats
· The ability to control your applications
· Real-time alerts so you find out about issues immediately
· A simple and efficient security infrastructure
There are several other considerations for a free firewall. However, these five features are the most important to keep your operating system and devices safe.
What is the Best Free Firewall Software?
You can find plenty of paid apps and multiple free firewall software options. But if you want the best free firewall protection, then these are the only ones that you should consider.
1. GlassWire Firewall
Not only does GlassWire act as a firewall to protect your computer, but it’s also capable of monitoring your entire network. You can set up multiple profiles and optimize them based on what you’re using the internet for. For example, you might set up one for file sharing and another for social media.
GlassWire also monitors your bandwidth and can make adjustments so that your most popular applications are getting the speed that they need to work at their best. It’s simple to use and looks similar to Windows Defender. It’s always on the lookout for suspicious activity and will alert you the second it finds any.
2. SolarWinds Network Firewall Security Management
This firewall platform is all about real-time management of any potential threats on your network. You will receive complete visibility of your firewall and internet security with a simple click of your mouse. It also includes logs of anything it finds so you can determine if the materials are safe or were right to get blocked.
The SolarWinds Network Firewall Security Management application comes bundled with the Security Event Manager too. However, this software only has a 30-day free trial. Fortunately, the free firewall protection is enough to protect your computer.
3. System Mechanic Ultimate Defence
If you’re looking for an all-in-one firewall application, then the System Mechanic Ultimate Defense provides you with a full suite of easy-to-use internet security programs. You can trust it to monitor your browsing, protect your passwords and financial information, and remove all of the malware hiding on your device.
Speaking of malware, the program is VB100-certified and is capable of proactively and reactively killing any dangerous infections on your device. If it accidentally removes anything critical, you don’t need to stress. You’ll be able to recover the files easily.
It doesn’t matter if you work from home or on the road. ZoneAlarm can protect your Windows device no matter what network you connect to. The firewall comes with a stealth mode to provide added protection against hackers and also includes identity protection services.
ZoneAlarm also knows when you’re using a public Wi-Fi hotspot. When it detects this, you can expect a more robust level of protection to keep any threats on these networks at bay. While it’s completing all of these tasks, the firewall is also updating itself regularly so that it’s always on top of the latest online threats.
5. AVS Firewall
You’ll need to navigate deep into the Online Media Technologies website to find the AVS Firewall program, but it’s worth it. It’s got a ton of internet security features such as blocking incoming connections and providing protection against worms and malware.
You can personalize AVS Firewall for applications as well. There are options to determine if the programs should connect to the internet or work offline. It can also monitor anything that accesses the registry and stops any alterations to it. You’ll even get a free adblocker with it. So don’t give up looking for it on the Online Media Technologies website.
6. Comodo Free Firewall
There’s an option to get the Comodo Firewall for free or at a reasonable price. But the free option is adequate and one that the company claims is the world’s best firewall. The cybersecurity company has won awards in the past and has an excellent reputation for producing quality software.
Comodo Firewall comes with an AI that’s used to build a profile of your online behavior. Then anything out of the ordinary is considered suspicious and requires you to approve it. When you download any new software, it will first appear in a sandbox environment to ensure it’s safe and not carrying anything malicious. Considering you get all this in the free version, it’s hard to argue with the company that it’s not one of the best firewalls around.
7. Avast Endpoint Firewall
You’ll feel like an important administrator when you use Avast Endpoint Firewall, especially if you have multiple devices in your house. You can manage all of them on this platform and even schedule tasks so that they occur on each machine simultaneously.
Avast Endpoint Firewall will also supply you with comprehensive reports of threats and malware that have attempted to infect your items. If you feel like it’s getting to be too much work, then you can register other administrators. Don’t worry, you’ll still receive personalized notifications when something urgently needs your attention.
8. OpenDNS Home
If you’re familiar with business network security systems, then you might have heard of OpenDNS. But they also include a personal edition, and it’s free. Not only is it a great alternative to Windows Defender, but it’s also able to protect other smart devices in your home like phones and DVRs.
The firewall doesn’t even take up a single byte of your hard drive. It’s all cloud-based that routes your internet traffic through the OpenDNS server so that all of your items are protected from any type of attack.
Some people love Windows Defender. That’s why the team behind TinyWall decided to create an enhancement for the application. It runs in conjunction with the popular Windows firewall application and supports it by providing more up-to-date information on potential threats. It also instigates alerts the second something malicious is found.
As it’s an enhancement, it doesn’t take up a lot of your storage. But even though it’s small in size, it still has plenty of features that help elevate Windows Defender to be one of the best firewall defenses available.
10. Azure Firewall
Some free firewalls don’t play well with other applications on your Windows device. But the Azure Firewall integrates seamlessly and can provide hybrid connection types when you’re using other protective measures such as a VPN.
The firewall keeps a record of malicious domains and IP addresses to ensure you’re protected from them. You can also create a set of network rules for different devices and applications, so it doesn’t limit your productivity or interfere with your internet use.
11. Outpost Firewall
The Outpost Firewall’s original creators no longer support the product but the cybersecurity developers who it’s licensed to ensure that it remains one of the best free firewalls around. It’s only the paid version that doesn’t get updates anymore.
The free version comes packed with a blocker for ads and pop-ups, the ability to lock files and folders, automatic whitelisting for well-known troublesome software, and an anti-leak feature that blocks anything suspicious going out of your mailbox.
If you have an application on your Windows device that accesses the internet in any way, then you’ll need to run it by the Evorim firewall first if you want to protect your computer. The application works as a regulator of the internet and will only allow online access if you approve.
When a program you’ve denied attempts to use the internet, you’ll get a real-time notification to make a decision on what to do next. In addition to managing your apps, the Evorim firewall can also protect you from tracking and monitoring as well as help you manage your cookies and browsing behavior.
The Netdefender user interface looks like a blast from the past, but all of its databases are up to date, and it has many of the same advanced features you’d expect in other free firewalls. The reason for the basic display is to keep things simple.
Installing Netdefender is easy and blocking anything such as malware or infected network traffic only takes one click of the mouse. If you’re not computer literate and need something without a ton of pop-ups, then this could be the firewall you need.
There can be occasions where you need to turn your firewall off when you need to access the internet. While it’s not recommended, it’s possible to do this easily with PeerBlock, thanks to its simple switches. However, you’ll want to turn it back on as soon as possible.
PeerBlock will block pop-ups, ads and can quickly detect harmful spyware and phishing scams that can have a detrimental impact on your Windows device. You can also create blocklists if you have ever had bad experiences with programs or websites. However, if it’s got a reputation for malicious activity, then you can bet it’s already on the firewall’s radar.
It might not have a flashy name like a lot of the other firewall programs on this list, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss it too quickly. Described as a host-based intrusion detection system, the firewall will examine logs on your device that look suspicious. It even protects these files to stop malware from attempting to infiltrate them.
Privatefirewall also includes anti-phishing technology, monitors emails, stops banned sites from loading up, and has several blacklisting and whitelisting options. It feels like a complete security suite in one application and something you should always have turned on when you need access to the internet.
How to Keep Your Windows Device Protected
Every day, hackers are finding new ways to infect devices and steal information. While Microsoft has got on the front foot and provided Windows Defender with their operating system, it’s still not enough to keep your device protected when you go online.
Thankfully, you don’t need to spend any extra money on network security or turn off your access to the internet. There are many free firewall options that are available to provide an additional layer of protection against the dangers online. These applications offer real-time updates, the latest malicious content databases, and the ability to block internet access to programs that don’t require it.
In addition to a free firewall, you should also consider protecting yourself with a VPN. Virtual private networks stop your internet service provider from logging your browsing history and can provide you with anonymity when you’re online. VPNs can also help block hackers from accessing your personal information.
Just like firewall applications, not all VPNs work the same way. Some are complex, and others don’t require any IT knowledge at all. But most importantly, you want to make sure a VPN won’t impact your bandwidth. You can find all the answers to your virtual private network questions and more at VPN Testing. Make sure to add it to your firewall whitelist so you can access all the information you need to help find the right one for you.