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A system designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. Firewalls can be implemented in both hardware and software, or a combination of both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet.

Firewalls can block traffic both inbound and outbound, or inbound only. An example of an inbound only software firewall is the ICF that is part of Windows XP. An example of a commonly used software firewall that works on both inbound and outbound is Zone Alarm.

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