What is a port?

A computer port can be several things. They are sometimes used as a communication channel, and at other times they are used as an interface between one computer and the next or within the contexts of a network. Computer ports may also be physical or virtual depending on their connection type. In common terms, a port is really an access point or an outlet. Most of the time they are used to dock peripheral accessories to our computer. Docking is the computer term for plugging it into something. So docking a device means to plug it into a port. If you have a cell phone, you are constantly utilizing one of its ports. Each time you connect the charging cable to the phone you are plugging the cable into a port.

Ports are either Opened or Closed, and both terms are important to understand. An open port is one that is able to receive packets of data. So the opposite of an open port is a port that denies packets, and this would be the definition of a closed port. Open and closed refer to security measures that affect how communication between a computer and the Internet occurs. If you unplug a cord from a port, that port might still be open, even though the cable is no longer attached to the computer. Open and closed can best be thought of in an electronic sense of whether or not data can flow through the port.

Are Ports Dangerous?

Ports are very dangerous if you do not have security software set up to defend your ports. Trojans, which are a form of malware, use open ports to spread themselves throughout a network of computers. Even as technology changes, malware still finds a way of penetrating defences, and ports are no exception. Statics show that it takes only 20 minutes once malware is released to the Internet for it to find a host. That is about half of the time that used to take it ten years ago. If your computer is not protected, then every 20 minutes your compute is at risk of being infected. What is worse is that malware is often just the precursor to worse things like hackers. There are a lot of people out there that are very interested in gathering personal information and financial data that do not belong to them.

Protecting Ports:

Installing and utilizing a firewall is one of the preferred methods of defending ports. Upgrading and /or installing technology-current versions of antivirus/antimalware are also recommended. If you are not very good with computers, than consider an antivirus package that comes with technical support. Once such service would be Comodo.com, their GeekBuddy program is an award winning program. You can allow the GeekBuddy technicians to set up your security system for you. It is a free service with the antivirus suite.

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