The communication ports in computers make it possible to browse the Internet, send and receive email, or download files from FTP servers. Technically speaking, communication ports can be defined as access points in a computer or device thorough which information is transferred (both inbound and outbound) between the computer and external resources (via TCP/IP). IT networks then, including the Internet, are really computers inter-connected through their corresponding ports, through which they can make requests or respond to calls made from other computers. Nevertheless, at the same time, communication ports have become one of the main channels through which virus and hackers can try to achieve their nefarious aims. For example, there are viruses that can directly enter computers through communication ports without having to use traditional propagation means such as email. They can also be used by many Trojans to communicate with hackers or create backdoors in the port to let an attacker take remote control of the computer. How to protect communications ports Today, fortunately, protecting communication ports is a relatively simple task, within the reach of all users. - Network protection Companies with mid-to-large sized networks should consider the possibility of using a firewall server, as this will prevent attacks through ports in the rest of the computers that make up the network. There are many available on the market, although it is advisable to stick to the better known names. One thing that should be borne in mind when choosing a firewall is its compatibility with antivirus solutions. The combination of an antivirus and firewall will make it extremely difficult for threats to enter the network from the Internet. In the case of SMEs, where IT resources consist of just a few PCs, a personal firewall in each of the computers in the network will suffice, as explained below. - Protecting standalone computers Protecting communication ports in computers that connect individually to the Internet -i.e. those that are not in a network- is best achieved using a personal firewall. These applications monitor the traffic circulating through the communications ports, blocking anything suspicious from entering. There are many available on the market and most can be configured only to allow connection to the Internet for programs that frequently do so, such as browsers, mail clients, etc. and deny access to any other application. This also prevents spyware from sending information out to third-parties. However, the tightest security is obtained by combining a firewall with adequate antivirus protection as this will prevent infection from viruses in email, which are capable of terminating process in firewall applications, leaving computers defenseless against future attacks through communication ports. Some security suites on the market include both a firewall and protection against all types of malicious code.