Frequently Asked Questions about Firewalls

What is a firewall?

A firewall protects your computer from undesired network access or self-spreading worms that infiltrate your computer through open network ports.

For more detailed information, see http://www.howstuffworks.com/firewall.htm.

How do I know if I already have a firewall installed?

On a computer running the Windows Vista operating system:

  1. Go to the Start menu and select Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel, double-click Windows Firewall to see if you have the firewall activated.

On a computer running the Windows 7 operating system:

  1. Go to the Start menu and select Control Panel.
  2. In the Control Panel, choose System and Security and then double-click Windows Firewall to see if you have the firewall activated.

On a computer running the Windows 8, 8.1, or 10 operating system:

  1. Go to Search and type firewall in the search box.
  2. In the list that appears, click Windows Firewall.
  3. Click Turn Windows Firewall on or off. NOTE: You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

On a computer running the Mac OS X 10.7, 10.8, 10.9, 10.10, or 10.11 operating system:

  1. Go to the Apple menu.
  2. Choose System Preferences and then Security & Privacy.
  3. On the Security & Privacy screen, click the Firewall tab to see if you have the firewall activated.

What is the firewall program’s default configuration?

The firewall program’s default security level is set to medium. The medium protection setting prevents harmful programs from hacking into your computer by blocking unused ports, and asks for permission each time an ActiveX or Java applet attempts to run.

ITS recommends a medium-level setting for most users.

Getting Help

For other questions, please contact the ITS Customer Support Center.