: Internet Firewalls Discussion
2006-11-04, 10:28 PM
... just one little thing the wireless was default on and unencrypted. Imagine how many inexperienced people just plug it in and leave it?
Within the short range of my wireless B laptop in a residential area... 3 !!
2006-11-04, 11:00 PM
Within the short range of my wireless B laptop in a residential area... 3 !!
Almost the same here in my condo. I have 2 open networks and my router has terrible range.
Hi, I have a desktop computer a wireless router and an laptop which forms my small home network. I have a laser printer connected to the desktop computer which is a shared with the laptop. My desktop computer is connect by wire to the router as well I have my high speed internet connected to the router. The wireless side of my network is WEP key protected.
Recently I lost the ability to print from the laptop. I checked all the network and router setups and could not find a problem, however I did find that I cannot ping from my laptop to my desktop computer, but I can ping from my Desktop to the Laptop. At this point I started thinking that there might be a FireWall issue with my Desktop computer. When I went to the Security Center in Windows and clicked on the Windows Firewall I get the following : "Windows Firewall settings cannot be displayed because the associated service is not running. Do you want to start Windows Firewall/Internet connection (ICS) sharing service?" When I select Yes the next message appears: "Windows cannot start the Windows Firewall/Internet (ICS) connection sharing service .
Now as I understand it the ICS service is required only if I am sharing a common internet connection between two computers, which I am not. It's interesting that the first error message says that my Firewall settings cannot be displayed, so I don't really know if the Firewall is working or not, however it appears that something is blocking my laptop from "seeing" my desktop computer. I thought I would try to reload service pack 2 to see it that repaired my windows FW, however Microsoft says I already have SP2 installed and I don't need to reinstall. I'm not sure if this was a virius or spyware attack, or if it's something that has just happened.
I have Norton's running every day and 2 different Spyware scanners running everyother day and nothing unusual has been reported. I recently downloaded IE7 and other strange things started to happen shortly after that, perhaps is it related. Any help with getting my Windows Firewall to start up and display it's settings properly would be appreciated.
2006-11-20, 11:48 AM
When I loaded SP2 I had to re-setup the security permissions on both computers to access each others hard drives and the printer. You may also have to set up your MS Windows Network again. None of this takes much time.
2006-11-20, 12:25 PM
You might want to read this thread (http://www.techspot.com/vb/topic16323.html).
Thanks to HDTV for the link. Several similar problems were covered but my problem turned out to be that my Windows\system32\WBEM directory was empty. Not sure if it was a virus attack but the thread described how to restore the files and the registery enteries. It took about an hour, but it restored my Fire Wall as well as my computer can now be seen by other computers on my network. Thanks again.
2007-01-19, 07:51 AM
What will be a better one firewall I can download and use for free, (http://nba.sports-sport.info/) that will come with my windows xp and won't slow it down? :( (http://nba.sports-sport.info/)
All firewalls will slow your computer down unless you have a dedicated computer acting as a firewall or hardware.
Why not just use Microsoft firewall?
2007-01-19, 09:02 AM
Your best bet as Hugh said is Microsoft's firewall. All other firewalls avaliable
free and paid,have more options and protect against more threats which takes more resources away from your computer.
A router, which is not free usually has a built in firewall, gives the same protection as microsoft and does not slow your computer at all.
This option will only stop bad things coming in and make you partially invisable, not stop something inside from sending out like a trojan horse.:eek:
2007-01-19, 09:04 AM
Staying on the subject "what can I download for free". If you have an old pc lying around you could use SmoothWall Express software. It's free @ smoothwall.org.
Minimum requirements i486SX, 32 MB Ram, 512MB HDD.
Recommended Pentium (or compatible) or higher, 64MB Ram, 1GB HDD.
"SmoothWall Express is an open source firewall distribution based on the GNU/Linux operating system. Linux is the ideal choice for security systems; it is well proven, secure, highly configurable and freely††† available as open source code. SmoothWall includes a hardened subset of the GNU/Linux operating system, so there is no separate OS to install. Designed for ease of use, SmoothWall is configured via a web-based GUI, and requires absolutely no knowledge of Linux to install or use.
††† Free as in beer, libre, freedom. There is a lengthier explanation of "free software" on the GNU website "
Hope this helps.
2007-01-19, 09:16 AM
Everybody should be behind a router, even if only one computer is hooked up to it. A router and Windows Firewall is all you need.
2007-01-19, 11:42 AM
What if u plan to use your computer (laptop) at hotspots?
Is the Windows firewall enough?
I have a recent Toshiba DuoCore laptop (Aug 2006). It is part a network at home with a couple computers, 360, linksys wireless printserver at home. I sometimes run filesharing between the computer.
If I take the laptop on trips and use it to connect to the net and surf, email etc. Will my folders be open to others at the same wifi spot?
Ditto, if I have snoopy neighbors, will windows Firewall keep them out if they decide to breakin my network from inside? i.e war drive, and decrypt my WEP?
My linksys printserver, although a .11g device doesn't seem to support encryption higher than WEP.
2007-01-19, 12:48 PM
personally I use zonealarm and find it works very well. I dont necessarily find it slows things down.
2007-01-19, 01:06 PM
As Wabbit pointed out routers and the windows firewall will block any attempts from outside into your computer but will not stop outgoing traffic. A router will assume that any outgoing traffic initiated from your computer is "approved" by the user and will happily pass it on the intended recipient.
If you have a Trojan or virus on your computer that likes to phone home you won't know about it unless you're running a software firewall as well. FW's like Zonealarm, Kerio etc will warn you about outgoing attempts as well and more immediately than your spyware/av software will.
In my set up I run a router and a software FW. I also run AV software and a spyware program. This gives me a 4 level defense or 4 pronged if you will. It all runs fine on my system with no problems.
If you choose to only run Windows Firewall and/or a router you are only defending incoming traffic.
2007-01-19, 01:33 PM
If you choose to only run Windows Firewall and/or a router you are only defending incoming traffic.That's an excellent point, ihdtv. A proper firewall must filter in both directions.
A "free" firewall might not be enough, and I agree with reddfoxx about using Linux for something this important. My prescription may seem paranoid to some, but its my hobby and I'd rather be safe as possible... mind you I can't think of a single thing anyone would want on my systems... I've dabbled with OpenBSD as the Firewall OS and I really like it, but Linux suits me better for my own personal reasons, and my Firewall box is also configured to speed up client performance too.
A Low-Cost Firewall security/performance prescription for Geeky Folks:
an old PC as a Firewall (not too old a PC that it will soon die - I upgrade a lot so I'm using a PIII450 - more than enough power for this role) - $100 to $200 used
the Firewall PC runs hardened Linux with IPV4 Port Forwarding'Masquerading, Routing, Caching DNS Nameserver, and Squid Web Accelerator HTTP/FTP Proxy Cache enabled - $Free
the Linux iptables firewall kernel modules filter every kind of packet I could think of and more, bidirectionally (lots of free tools, great scripts out there too) - $Free
arp MAC address filtering enabled
the Linux kernel router daemon directs all internal and external bound packets appropriately
I perform regular kernel, OS, and applications updates - $Free
the Firewall PC logs all activity and I can monitor with Open Source tools like tcpdump, Snort, Nagios, etc. - $Free
all ports are closed unless needed
if I wanted to I could install CLAM AV (antivirus scanning) on the Firewall PC but we don't use any Windows or Microsoft products so I haven't bothered - $Free
my Cable Modem connects to the Firewall PC via a 10/100 MBit Ethernet NIC - $7 to $9 new
the internal LAN connects to the Firewall PC via a 1GBit Ethernet NIC through a 1GBit Ethernet switch (not a router, a switch since the Firewall PC will route everything) - $50 to $80 for switch, $20 to $35 for one NIC
all internal LAN clients run at 1GBit Full Duplex (great for internal LAN streaming and moving huge files like movies, etc.) - $25 to $35 for a 1GBit NIC if the client's mobo doesn't already have one
web browser caches on all clients are disabled, letting Squid do it on the Firewall PC (means much faster web browsing on clients, better security since nobody can snoop into any of the users' private caches because their aren't any - Squid cache is binary so it isn't humanly readable)
DNS searches got to Firewall's Caching DNS Nameserver first before going to Internet (speeds up name resolution of often-visited sites since their info is cached locally)
the house is strung in Cat5E copper home runs - $ by the foot for self cutting/crimping or precut/precrimped
local jumper leads are Cat6 because I had some available (Cat5E would be fine) - $20 precut/precrimped
no DHCP, BOOTP, Wake-On-LAN, or PXE are allowed on internal LAN - only static IPs
only encrypted remote desktop sharing is allowed (No X Server, PCAnywhere, etc.)
only encrypted local configs are allowed per client (no central authorization/authentication, such as NIS, ActiveDirectory, internal DNS, etc.)
no wireless connections are allowed in my house (although this system is easily changed to add wireless LAN capability)
several internal LANs can be Firewalled by this one PC:
physical = number of available PCI slots in Firewall PC for NICs (1 physical LAN per NIC)
virtual = 256 IP addresses per NIC are allowed in Linux (performance bottlenecks happen at some count way, way beyond what a home user would need)
any client OS, printer, device using TCP/IP over Ethernet is supported (Firewall/Cache is invisible to end users)
The Bottom Line: assuming you don't already have an older PC with 2 NICs lying around, total hardware cost would be between about $115 for just one client on internal LAN to about $350 or more to support several internal LAN clients. For people who intend to spend several hundred dollars or more for the newest, latest OS and apps this firewall system is a surefire bargain for only a drop in the bucket. :)
2007-01-19, 03:58 PM
I use the WRT54G (with Alchemy) as the entrance router and WallWatcher on every desktop inside the house.
Gives you more information about in-/outgoing traffic than you'll ever need.
2007-01-20, 11:43 AM
Your best bet as Hugh said is Microsoft's firewall.
Almost every security expert on the planet says the opposite. There are a number of good options that are more reliable and secure.
Both a hardware and software firewall are recommended for high speed internet connections. Both do slightly different jobs and both can be hacked or crash, leaving a computer exposed if only one is used. Internet routers/firewalls can be picked up for as little as $10 on sale or with rebates.
2007-01-20, 08:35 PM
There's a relatively new one called Comodo Firewall (http://www.personalfirewall.comodo.com/). You get what you pay for though.
I've used ZoneAlarm Pro for many years, and I highly recommend it for Windows XP users. The price is a small amount compared to the benefits. Any firewall is only as good as the rules set but once you understand how to use the program, it's very good. They have a free version but I haven't looked at what is missing.
2007-01-21, 01:01 AM
Another thumbs up for zonealarm et al and thumbs down for microsoft firewall. I think the MS firewall is slower than zonealarm. I also don't trust it to block 'it's own programs', such as windows media player.
2007-01-21, 12:48 PM
Any firewall is only as good as the rules setI'm guessing that when you use the word "any" you probably mean in the context of "any software firewall running on a Windows OS client machine facing the Internet in real time".
A proper firewall should never be running on the same machine as the client OS, which in the case of Windows is (hopefully) all the while running anti-virus, anti-phishing, anti-trojan software to keep up with the OS's inherent vulnerabilities. Microsoft themselves never put a Windows box directly onto the Internet unless to test how quick it'll be 0wned.
A clever Windows hack coming from the Internet can disable all your protective software in real time.
For dirt cheap you can build/outfit a firewall using an OS that does not have the vulnerabilities of the internal LAN client(s). It is a shrewd and sensible move considering all the money someone spends on their PC. You lose none of your Internet capabilities on the client (unless you want to) and if some script-kiddie-L33t-Hack0rz-wannabe tries Windows-based cracks on your Linux or OpenBSD firewall they'll just have to give up and move on to their next target.
The next post in this thread helps to explain some of the concepts of firewalling.