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Rob

Firewalls

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Rob

When reading about various firewall products, I typically read that the one provided with XP is not adequate. Is that a fair statement or is someone just trying to sell their firewall?I have no background on hacking and would appreciate any information about hacking and why XP's firewall wouldn't provide good / adequate protection. :ph34r: Thanks! :D Rob

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Guest ThunderRiver

It is adequate enough if and ONLY IF you use Windows XP as workstation. You could still setup XP as a server, but it is not as friendly. Also, it doesn't have features like you get from ZoneAlarm, such as program access control.Although I am not allowed to talk about it, Microsoft is beta testing a new security pack (antivirus, firewall, cdr backup all in one pack), and will replace the old Firewall with great features that you see in ZoneAlarm, and plus more user friendlyAnd this product is called "PC Satisfaction" for now.Thunder

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DannySmurf

Like just about everything bundled with Windows, the firewall is an adequate "starter" firewall, but not much else. If you want anything more than the most basic firewall, you need a third-party tool.--Danny Smurf

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Jason

The biggest downside to the built-in firewall in Windows XP is that is does not monitor out-going network traffic on your PC. If there is a trojan on your system, it will still be able to connect to the Internet with XP's firewall running.

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Guest ThunderRiver

Jason, the beta of "PC Satisfaction" for Windows XP is meant to fix that, monitoring on-going traffic.

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Jason

ThunderRiver,If you are allowed to answer this:Is "PC Satisfaction" going to be sold as a seperate product or included for free in XP's next service pack?This product does sound interesting.ThanksJason

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Big Jeff

FWIW, my XP box passes all the tests at Steve Gibson's grc.com website with only the built-in firewall running. It was only a test and I do not rely on it for security. My firewall is part of e-trust's EZ-Armor internet security package, which I'm very happy with, BTW. Funny that I seem to be in a very small minority of people who use e-trust. Scot, have you ever reviewed this product? I'd be interested in your comments.

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Stryder
When reading about various firewall products, I typically read that the one provided with XP is not adequate.  Is that a fair statement or is someone just trying to sell their firewall?I have no background on hacking and would appreciate any information about hacking and why XP's firewall wouldn't provide good / adequate protection. :ph34r: Thanks! :angry: Rob
The XP firewall, as it is now, only offers minimal protection. There is no outbound protection. You do not have any program control. Meaning any program can connect to the internet undetected. Be it a legit program like your mail client, or a trojan, or even a legit program that you may not want to access the internet. A good firewall will also detect if a trojan or other nasty tries to pretend to be a legit program to get past your firewall.The inbound protection is minimal as well. While XP's built in firewall passes alot of stealth tests, it does not block known exploits. I could write all day on this, but there are many good sites that covers this subject. GRC.com is one good place as well as http://www.pcflank.com/index.htmIf you have nothing else the built in firewall will get you by. I would suggest that you do some research and look into getting a better firewall. I have been a long time Zone Alarm user. I have a few friends who prefer Norton Internet Security, and others that like some of the others. The best you can do is do a little research and make an educated decision on what best works for you. To directly answer your question, it is a fair statement when people say the XP firewall is not adequate.

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Jim - TEG

Just as a note, Scot has written a number of different articles about firewall offerings that can be accessed here.JimThere are 10 kinds of people that understand binary. Those that do - and those that don't.

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Ugly

FWIW, there is a FREE excellent firewall by ZoneLabs called Zone Alarm.I use the paid version and like it.The trouble with firewalls is that ones which are too hard to use quickly are turned off (for only a minute to do this special task, honest I swear) and then just get left OFF for good.Give the free ZA a try & post a review here :)best fishes, Ugly

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Guest ThunderRiver
ThunderRiver,If you are allowed to answer this:Is "PC Satisfaction" going to be sold as a seperate product or included for free in XP's next service pack?This product does sound interesting.ThanksJason
AT this point, since it is still in Alpha stage, it is still unclear of what Microsoft plans to do with PC Satisfaction. I highly doubt it is FREE, and my best guess is just like Plus Digital Media Edition.. There might be something called Plus! Digital Security Edition? Since the introducatino of Windows Xp, Microsoft has set the goal that they will never add new features in service pack, and service pack is only meant for bundled bug fixes.

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Gary

If the built in firewall from M$ was any good, they would have charged for it. It has no outbound restrictions att all. I use Sygate Personal Firewall and have had no problems. It is also no a resource hog like Zona Alarm. :)

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Guest LilBambi

I read an excellent InformIT.com article on Personal Firewall protection for home users this week. In the article they said:

Home users share the same risks as corporate users. You might not think that you make an attractive target. After all, what juicy industrial secrets do you have? Where's the brag factor in hacking your computer? Think about the type of data you store on your home computer. How could it be useful to someone else? Do you keep detailed personal financial data on your computer? Like me, do you use software to file your taxes? Your social security number is in that electronic file. If someone managed to steal it from your computer, they would be one step closer to stealing your identity and could pose as you to credit card companies and others.
And that's just part of the problems that they list.And as others have pointed out, the stock WinXP firewall does not give adequate protection.Others have mentioned ZoneAlarm. I can also vouch for ZoneAlarm. I have been using it since Steve Gibson recommended it several years ago, and it wasn't as good then as it is now. Over time, I have also tried quite a few other firewalls, but I always come back to ZoneAlarm. None were as easy to setup as ZoneAlarm.In addition to a good inbound/outbound firewall. Adhering to some overall good security practices including 'good' passwords and not enabling file sharing on computers except when absolutely necessary is just good sense.The following recent ZDNet article talks specifically about some recent developments with attackers of computers and the types of security issues that have made these attacks easier. Here's an initial quote from the article:
A spike in Internet traffic caused by a worm over the weekend can be largely blamed on bad passwords and poor security practices, security experts said on Monday. The Deloder worm, which spreads by communicating with Windows computers that have file sharing enabled, may have spread to perhaps as many as 10,000 systems using a list of 86 passwords to break into computers running Microsoft Windows NT, 2000 and XP. While not an epidemic, the attack did highlight that people frequently choose easily guessable passwords to guard their computers' security.
The article is very good and covers a lot of important ground.

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mrpianist

HI,I am using Sygate Personal Firewall Pro but have left the Windows XP firewall active so that when I have to shut down all programs in instances such as installing new software or drivers, etc. the computer is hopefully getting at least some basic protection while Sygate is not running.Does the Windows firewall have any affects on the operation of the Sygate firewall or should I just leave everything as it is?Also, since the Sygate help file does not really explain how to set up the best ruleset I have pretty much left everything "out of the box". Does anyone know of a website that clearly explains how to properly set up Sygate Firewall Pro to get the maximum benefit from it?Thank you.Jeff

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quint
Also, since the Sygate help file does not really explain how to set up the best ruleset I have pretty much left everything "out of the box".  Does anyone know of a website that clearly explains how to properly set up Sygate Firewall Pro to get the maximum benefit from it?Thank you.Jeff
Welcome, Jeff, this should at least give a good start:Sygate configurationor, for 1,320 more:GoogleHave a fun time. :(

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Guest ThunderRiver

mrpianist, I highly don't recommend having two firewall coexisting at the same time, especially if your computer is a little ftp/web server. Nonetheless, it is not a good idea to have both running. Just choose one and stick to it.ThunderRiver

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Gus K

I've settled in on Sygate Personal Firewall (free). Easy to set up, all ports stealthed and I like the tray icon.You have lots of choices in good, free firewalls. Pick the one that plays nice with your configuration.

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myoda
If the built in firewall from M$ was any good, they would have charged for it. It has no outbound restrictions att all. I use Sygate Personal Firewall and have had no problems. It is also no a resource hog like Zona Alarm. :)
I also use Sygate Personal Firewall with the same results. It works as well as Zone Alarm and is free. It is up to the individule to monitor the performance of any software. For one, I would and have remended SPF to any surfer. I also use Spybot and Ad-aware 6. Cookies? Just go on a diet.

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Guest ThunderRiver
I've settled in on Sygate Personal Firewall  (free).  Easy to set up, all ports stealthed and I like the tray icon.You have lots of choices in good, free firewalls.  Pick the one that plays nice with your configuration.
If you just want your system to be steath, you might as well use the built-in Xp firewall; however, if you want to control the outbound connectino, you should use 3rd party like ZA or Sygate. It is just a personal preference, and I have tried ZA 4.x and it works well on my Windows 2000 sytsem. I also tried it on Windows 2003 Enterprise Server, and result is bad though...

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imranj

Xp's Firewall..........is like a temp protection...........until u can build yur defenses this can be a short term solution......... :D

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ctsolutions

I'm amazed that ZA is so popular, given the performance hit most systems take when it's running. I'm a bit uneasy about the frequency with which the free version seems to communicate with their server, also..I mean, I understand checking for updates, but the near-constant nature of the packet flow is curious. Sygate can have issues with some configurations of XP, so if your system seems less stable suddenly you should rule that out as a cause. Kerio has an excellent small-footprint firewall which is free for personal use, although it's not for newbies. For those who want granular control of their system's interaction with the internet it's awesome - you can create rules based on the protocol, direction, IP, local and remote port(s) and more. The status information can be useful as well to determine what program is communicating with whom.

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RandomBox

I am totally opposed any software that is "subscription based"! I had done ZoneAlarmPro last year! One of the reasons was the "Technical Support" provisions that it had offered as I was having some difficulties with a few specific game sites that were getting blocked off! Upon detailing the specific problems that I had to their TechSupport, guess what I got in return as a solutions??Three separate automated replies that NEVER even discussed my specific problems/questions and 2 Months later (which happened to coincide with the expiration of my "One Year" subscription) they did not miss a heartbeat to let me know that I needed to be sending them more money!Guess what I did?? Went back to the Free version and have never regreted this decision! Freeware version is good enough for me! But even when the program tells you there are no new updates, if you go to their site manually and check version numbers of their latest releases, you may be shocked to find out that a new revision is available!But, I must confess that I was impressed when they sent me an email just a few days ago regarding the Defacers Challenge and the required update!

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Gus K
Sygate can have issues with some configurations of XP,
With so many configurations out there almost any software can have issues with someone. For me Sygate was the one that played nice with my rig. In my experience ZA seems to have the most issues.

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Peachy

When I thoroughly understand iptables I am going to implement a Linux proxy/firewall that will handle outbound and inbound IP packet filtering. This is the way to go if you don't want to run ZA or Sygate or Norton IS. However, I have ZA 3.7 (free version) running and I don't find it that intrusive nor performance-degrading. Then again I have my Pentium 4 1.6A overclocked to 2.2 GHz so I seem to have CPU cycles to spare.

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camaro67ab

I have a question on firewalls on the network gateway computer. I use an older computer (HP 8560c) with XP Pro as the gateway, and it's the only thing it does, just sit there. I have Sygate on it, but the guy that helped us get our network up and running says I don't need it on the gateway. He even told one of the people on the network that the problem she is having is from that firewall. She runs ME and claims she has to restart 3 or 4 times or more a day because the gateway's firewall is interrupting her browsing. I think it's ME that's causing her problem. What do you think? Do we need to keep Sygate on the gateway? We have it on our individual computers also. 2 Xp Home's, 4 ME's and Laptop with XP Pro. Thank you, Allan Barnett.

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LukaBuka
FWIW, there is a FREE excellent firewall by ZoneLabs called Zone Alarm.I use the paid version and like it.The trouble with firewalls is that ones which are too hard to use quickly are turned off (for only a minute to do this special task, honest I swear) and then just get left OFF for good.Give the free ZA a try & post a review here :)best fishes, Ugly

I can vouch for Zone Alarm - it's great, never gave me any prolems with it (unlike Sygate). Kerio is OK, but too complicated. The best firewall by far in my opinion is Agnitum Outpost Firewall Pro

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