Firewalls

Rick Bergeron - CPF

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I recently installed a software based firewall on our computers. It has been very interesting to see the addresses that have attempted some sort of communication through the internet. I realize that most of these are probably harmless, but the names and descriptions associated with the attempts sure sound like they could be nasty. Looking at the electronic routes that some of the attempts take is also very interesting.

So far, I haven't seen anything attempt sending unauthorized data from any of our computers. I just thought that with all the sick people in the world, adding this companion to virus protection couldn't hurt.

I was just wondering if anyone else out there had any good/bad/indifferent experiences with this type of product?
 

Rick Bergeron - CPF

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Hi Webgirl,

I am using McAfee Personal Firewall Plus which is companion to McAfee VirusScan Online. Both are subscription based, so there's no need to have an installation CD.

I've also started using SpyBot because the reviews that I read gave it higher ratings than AdAware.
 

Ron Eggers

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Rick, I'm using Norton's Internet Security package, including the firewall component, and I am astounded at the number of "hits" that are recorded in the log.

I think a firewall is essential with any kind of high-speed access - modem or DSL - that uses a static IP address and somewhat less critical with dial-up that uses a dynamic IP address. The latter makes hacking much more difficult (they are trying to hit a moving target,) but, I suppose, not impossible.

Why take chances?
 

Webgirl

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I use McAfee too... and the XP generic firewall for internet connections... and Ad-aware. (When I ran SpyBot and Ad-aware, I found that Ad-aware was finding more illegit objects to remove, and that its definition updates were more frequent, so that's why I chose it over SpyBot.)
 

Lance E

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We have been targeted in the past by someone with a good knowledge of our systems. Norton's Firewall was a very helpful product and tracks a lot more about what is going on than I could even begin to explain, or understand...
Some form of tracking or protection is essential.

[ 05-19-2003, 06:57 AM: Message edited by: Lance E ]
 

Dancinbaer

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For those of you using Norton. Do you have it on a network? If, so, does it affect file/printer sharing?
 

Mike Labbe

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A router that converts your real ip (from cablemodem or DSL) and shares it with your computers internally is also a great and probably the best solution. (such as the Linksys BEFSR41, about $50) It has a 4 port hub built in but can handle up to 252 computers. This blocks ALL ports by default for incoming stuff and you can decide which ports can point to which computers. (pcanywhere, some video teleconferencing services, etc) It has its own processor built in, so it doesnt slow your computer down.

While the software based ones are certainly better than nothing, the computer is still running Windows (which is like swiss cheese with security faults). The software solution will tend to slow the computer down and might be annoying at times initially, when identifying common tasks that need to happen, but it's certainly better than nothing. It's ideal for someone on a dialup connection.

There are even some that work partially on the pc and partially on the router, for those not on a dialup connection.

It's important to know that a firewall doesnt protect you from places you visit on the web or from email attachments. Those are channels that we have to leave open, and they're where most of the michief happens. A good virus scanner and spyware scanner are worth their weight in gold too. I got back from vacation today and rec'd more than 2 dozen viri in the past week, which Norton happily intercepted. So much talent, it's a shame they waste it on creating something destructive.
 
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