As we grow increasingly connected to the internet, security is becoming more important than ever. Firewalls on our computers have existed for a long time, but sometimes, it can actually be more problematic than useful, which is why turning it off can actually be a good thing. But before we decide to turn it off, what exactly is a firewall and what does it do?
What Is A Firewall?
A firewall can be thought off as a wall of bricks surrounding our home. This wall helps to keep unwanted visitors out while protecting the residents of the home. In tech terms, it helps to protect your computer from unwanted intrusions from the likes of hackers or malware which might be trying to compromise your system and gain access to your personal information.
It will scan incoming internet data for things that are known to cause problems, and thus prevents it from infecting your computer system and causing havoc.
Firewall VS Antivirus
So right off the bat, firewalls sound a lot like antivirus software designed to protect your computer from threats, but there are differences. Having a firewall does not negate the need for antivirus software, even though it does protect your computer to a certain degree.
In the case of antivirus, you can think of it like a metal detector of sorts. Imagine a bad person was at the airport and they were looking to fly somewhere, so they use a fake passport and somehow get past immigration (firewall). Now that they’re inside the airport, they will need to go through a metal detector (antivirus) that will pick up any illegal objects like knives or guns they might be trying to smuggle on board.
Antivirus also works great for computers or devices that aren’t connected to the internet, where if you try to load a program from a disk or a USB drive that has malware, it will pick up on that.
Why Would You Want To Turn Off Your Firewall?
With that being said, it sounds like having a firewall is a great thing, doesn’t it? But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t run into issues every now and then.
This is because computers pretty much just do what they’re told to do, they’re generally not smart enough to think on their own.
This means that as long as an action, connection, or program has been deemed as “bad” (or even “risky”), it will block it, even though it might not necessarily be the case.
For example, system administrators might need to do some work like applying software updates or installing new applications, and sometimes a firewall might prevent them from doing that.
As an end-user, you might also run into similar issues where programs or applications may run incorrectly or not at all due to their connection being blocked, and this is why you might want to turn off the firewall.
IMPORTANT: Most app developers will have a guide for users that bump into a Firewall issue. We recommend trying that first, as disabling the Firewall greatly increases your security risk. But if you’re set on disabling the Firewall, please continue reading…
How To Turn Off Firewall In Windows 10
- Launch the Start Menu and look for “Windows Defender Firewall”
- Click “Turn Windows Defender Firewall on or off” to the navigation panel to the left
- Select “Turn off Windows Defender Firewall (not recommended)” and click OK
- Repeat the steps above to turn it back on
- If you’d rather not turn off your firewall completely, you can go to “Advanced settings” and then manually enter the connections/apps that you want the firewall to allow through
How To Turn Off Firewall In macOS
- From the Apple menu, select System Preferences
- Click Security & Privacy
- Select the Firewall tab
- Unlock access to the settings by entering your computer’s admin username and password
- Click Turn On/Off Firewall
- Repeat the steps above to turn the firewall back on/off again
- You can also click on “Firewall Options” for more advanced configurations on choosing which apps/connections you want to allow
- Click the lock icon once you’re done