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AlphaShield Personal Hardware Firewall

Author:  Rafael Rios
Date:  2007.02.13
Topic:  Security
Provider:  AlphaShield
Manufacturer:  AlphaShield




The Alpha-Shield Personal Hardware Firewall is being touted as a true plug-n-play, hardware firewall solution that is easy to install for any broadband connected computer. Lets look closer at what types of firewalls exist for the home user.

What is a Firewall?
A firewall is a computer protection system that resides between your computer or computer network and the dangers of the Internet. When installed correctly, a firewalls job is to prevent unauthorized use and access to your computer and/or computer network. A firewalls main job is to analyze all data entering and exiting a network, searching for and blocking unwanted processes based on the way the user has his or her configuration for the network set. A firewall performs an important role as it provides a protective "firewall" barrier against the most common forms of internet attacks against computer networks.
Firewalls fall into two main categories.

Hardware & Software Firewalls

A firewall can be either a hardware or software component, and ideally a firewall solution would consist of both types of firewalls, with the initial barrier being the hardware type and the secondary line of defense being the software type.

While many people do not completely understand the importance and necessity for a firewall, or consider it to be a product for businesses only, the truth is that if your network or computer has access to the the Internet then you really need have some sort of firewall to protect your computer and/or network from attack, being part of a denial of service zombie network (trojans), identity theft and general data theft.

To test your firewalls security, you can purchase third-party test software or search the Internet for a free online-based firewall testing service. Firewall testing is an important part of maintenance to ensure your system is always configured for optimal protection. The two that we use are the free security testing sites from Gibson Research (, shieldsup) and Symantec's ( .

Because it's not physically on your machine, a hardware firewall is somewhat less vulnerable than a software firewall.

Software firewalls give you the level of protection you need to keep safe from hackers and other unwanted intrusions because software is far easier for computer novices to customize. The features are suited for smaller home networks.

Some top software firewall packages also include anti-spam, anti-virus, even anti-popup ad software. Some software firewalls are flexible enough to incorporate your existing anti-virus software into its firewall program. Some software firewalls also include parental controls to manage what kinds of websites your children visit.

Up until now, Hardware firewalls had been best suited to businesses and large networks; while software firewalls have been best suited for the home user who wants easy customization.

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