How to test a firewall

If you use broadband, it is very important to make sure that your computer is protected against attacks by malicious people or programs. If your computer’s operating system is Windows from XP onwards, it will have a built in firewall. Your broadband router probably also has one built into it. This guide explains how to check that they are working properly.

What you'll need:

  • A Windows computer connected to the internet.
Follow these step-by-step instructions to test your computer’s firewall
 
Step 1: To check that your Windows firewall is switched on, you need to go to the Action Centre.  You can do this either by clicking Action Centre in the Control Panel or by clicking the small white flag that appears in the System Tray in the bottom right hand corner of the computer Desktop.  Click Security and, next to Network Firewall, it should say On.  If not, there will be a link to click to switch it on.
 
 
Step 2: Open your web browser and type www.shieldcheck.com into the address bar.
 
Step 3: Click Check My Firewall Now.
 
Shield Check on a PC
 
Step 4: Wait for the result, hopefully it will look like this:
 
Shield Check result
 
Step 5: If you receive a different message, and you’ve checked that the Windows firewall is switched on, you should check your router’s security settings.  You may need to enlist the help of an expert or your broadband supplier for this.
 
Step 6: If you wish, you can also set the 'Automatic Checking' in Shield Check to keep an eye on your firewall and notify you if it stops working.
 
 
 
Fiona Syrett is a Digital Unite tutor.