In the most basic
sense, a firewall protects a computer from unauthorized internet access.
If you have a constant
connection to the internet (i.e. non-dialup), you can be "hacked"
into if you don't have some kind of firewall protection (ok, you can
still get hacked into even with a firewall or regular dial up, but it's
harder). It's mostly larger companies with networks connected to the
internet who need firewalls.
However, with the
proliferation of cable and DSL connections, lots of residential customers
are finding they need some form of firewall protection as well. In fact,
I recently read that hack attacks on these residential connections is
on the rise and may gain the unfortunate prize of being the most common
hacking target in the very near future.
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