Free Personal Software Firewalls

Free firewall software to protect your computer from unwanted intrusions

Free Personal Firewall Software

Firewall software allow you to protect your computer from intrusions from the Internet as well as warn you when programs try to connect to Internet from your computer. It has become increasingly popular with numerous programs installing spyware that try to call home without your knowing. Some of these free firewalls are free only for personal use.

Note that if you use a recent version of Windows (eg, Windows XP service pack 2 or 3, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10), your system already has a basic firewall. In general, if you're a computer novice, and are not sure what to do after getting a firewall, you may be better off sticking with the default provided by Windows. A real firewall doesn't do what you think it does if your knowledge of it comes exclusively from Hollywood movies.

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Free Software Firewalls

Windows Firewall Control (Windows) New

Windows Firewall Control lets you control and configure the built-in Windows Firewall. It provides notification of outbound blocked connections, a learning mode that automatically accepts digitally signed programs, support for standard user accounts, multiple default filtering modes (eg, the medium setting blocks everything that does not have a rule set for it), prevent other programs from creating, modifying and deleting Windows Firewall rules, etc. This program works on Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10, Server 2012 and 2016, and requires Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5 or later to be installed. Although it was originally a freemium product (ie, free with certain features only available when you pay), it is now completely free (ie, all features are enabled for free with no activation needed) after its acquisition by Malwarebytes. (I don't know how long this product will continue to be available though. I presume they intend to integrate its features eventually into their own malware removal product. If it has been discontinued by the time you read this, just drop me a note and I'll remove this entry.)

TinyWall (Windows)

TinyWall works with the built-in Windows Firewall, and features port and domain blocklists; firewall tampering protection; password protection to prevent errant applications from changing your settings; various modes like Normal protection, Allow outgoing, Block all, Allow all and Learning mode; hosts file protection; view open ports on the system; etc. This program requires the .NET framework to be installed.

Simplewall (Windows)

This firewall, simplewall, is a tool for configuring the Windows Filtering Platform (WFP). Among its features are the ability to block applications, log dropped packets and install blocklists (eg, to block Windows telemetry). It has a portable version as well as one with a setup utility. Their documentation recommends that you disable Windows firewall, which also uses the WFP, otherwise its rules will have precedence over those you set here. It does not install drivers (since it merely allows you to configure the WFP, which does the work).

Filseclab Personal Firewall Professional Edition (Windows)

This Windows firewall filters inbound and outbound traffic. You can configure which applications on your system is allowed to access the Internet, although by default, it automatically allows certain applications (such as those from the company itself, or those signed by Microsoft) outbound access without question.

Guarddog (Linux)

Guarddog is a firewall configuration utility for Linux iptables. It also lets you maintain and modify the firewall in place. It uses a "what is not explicitly allowed, is denied" philosophy. The software is released under the GNU GPL.

WIPFW (Windows)

WIPFW is a packet filtering and accounting system for Windows. It is based on FreeBSD's IPFW.

Firestarter (Linux)

Firestarter is an easy-to-use free firewall tool for Linux that has a wizard that allows you to customize your firewall, a real-time firewall monitor that allows you to view intrusion attempts, a graphical interface that works under GNOME and KDE, and support for Linux kernels 2.4 and 2.6. For those who aren't brave enough to muck around with netfilter / iptables, Firestarter is one way to set up your system so that it is protected from intrusions.

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