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Thread: Firewall query

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    Firewall query

    Moved by Leif from the end of the <!post=RAS Phonebook, 687906>RAS Phonebook<!/post> thread as it had diverged considerably from the original subject.

    Hi Mark

    I have to ask about this comment you made because I am very curious about what you do - ........but I don't use software firewalls and I think they're more problematic for the average person than they're worth. What do you use then? Your modem - router? And how do you set them up to fully protect you?


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

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    Re: Firewall query

    I've had more problems because of software firewalls than benefits. Crashed systems, strange inabilities to access the Internet or local network, and for the average user (my parents are a good example) they are still far too complicated. When I see a box asking if a certain program is allowed, I know what it is that I am looking at and I can also research it -- but I have years of IT experience to help there. Most end users don't. Windows has also gotten far more secure over time - a firewall on Windows 98 was a decent idea, on XP, it's probably not all that necessary. I will stop short of saying that firewall software is a fad, but it clearly resembles one.

    I find that a combination of NAT (through the router) and safe practices are enough to protect me. I should mention that I do use antivirus software (I feel that AV is a foregone conclusion). Most trojans and other malware get inside and do their damage even with a firewall in place because of specific user actions that allow it to happen. I've run my home systems (3 at a minimum) firewall free for three or so years now, with kids and grandparents using them, and not had one major problem from an attack.

    In a business environment as a consultant, I set up hardware firewalls with Stateful Packet Inspection. There is no end-user configuration or action to take, they just do the job. The added advantage of a hardware firewall is that it takes the load off of the individual machine(s) that it protects, freeing processor time for more beneficial tasks.
    -Mark

  3. #3
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    Re: Firewall query

    Thanks for the explanation Mark. I will probably keep my firewall in place since I finally have it set up to let the programs that I want to access the internet - allowed! What I would really like to see included in a firewall's help manual is information for the ordinary user. The user shouldn't have to go to the firewall's forum just to figure out how to use the program.

    The router's information isn't much better. For instance, it explains the basic setup BUT if you can't connect successfully, then it suggests you "Contact Technical Support". <img src=/S/sigh.gif border=0 alt=sigh width=15 height=15> This is lame really. Most people don't know what to do next! And worse, if it is their only computer, they can't even access the internet to dig for information from other sources. Good thing your family has the opportunity to ask you but a lot of families aren't so lucky! I feel fortunate to have some decent knowledge in IT and even more fortunate to have this forum for help!

    <img src=/S/whisper.gif border=0 alt=whisper width=29 height=17>It sure is good seeing you back participating in the forum! <img src=/S/thumbup.gif border=0 alt=thumbup width=15 height=15>


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

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    Re: Firewall query

    Correct me if I'm wrong Skitterbug, but you use a MAC also, don't you?

    Do you use firewall software on that machine?

    I'm just curious if there is any available for the MAC. I'm running a mixed network at home (Windows and Linux), and currently only use a firewall on the Windows boxes. There are firewall programs for Linux, however I've not felt the need to install one (yet??) on my Linux computers.
    Christopher Baldrey

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    Re: Firewall query

    Hi Chris

    You are right - I use an iMac along with my PC and enjoy its abilities very much!

    I do use the built in firewall on my Mac which is found through the "sharing" folder in preferences. I'll attach a pic of it. (I hope it is clear enough to see). I also run my Mac through my router so I hope that I'm covered in this manner. I haven't noticed any problems - yet. I haven't investigated If there are commercial firewalls made for Mac so I don't know what might be available.

    I also use a freebie called ClamXav for virus checking. I've never found an infection however! AND I practice safe Internet surfing (to the best of my ability <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>).

    Linux is an O/S that I do want to learn more about. I have a couple of old PCs that may make good candidates for "playing and learning". My winter time seems short when I contemplate all that I would like to do! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

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    Re: Firewall query

    Thanks for sharing that information Skitterbug.... all information is useful (to somebody <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>).
    Christopher Baldrey

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