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Why Do I Need It?
A lot of information resources will claim (it's found at radsoft.net as well) that dialup users don't really need a firewall. This needs to be qualified, and should read: 'Odds are better you are safe with a dialup.'
The reason is your constantly changing IP. With static connections you might have the same IP for ages. A prankster who finds your IP working might try coming back to it a day later, etc. With a dialup, that IP will most likely not be you anymore, but some other dialup user. Pranksters will not be able to continually exploit your machine because you simply cannot reliably be found.
But this only covers a part of the problem, and if you've been paying attention to the above, you will intuitively understand why.
A firewall is a program which inspects both all incoming and all outgoing traffic on your machine. And while pranksters might find it more profitable if they are able to identify you by IP and some other additional means, spyware and the like don't need that at all - they're already installed on your computer. And now they want to 'phone home'.
Which is where the firewall will come in. For the firewall will not only prevent unauthorised computers from accessing your machine, it will also prevent unauthorised software (spyware) in your computer from sending out.
At this point, with a firm knowledge of what is running on your local machine, what is found at the various Startup menus and Run keys in your Registry, what processes etc. are running on your system, and full details of all traffic coming in and leaving your computer, you are well protected. For knowledge is power.
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