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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    hardware firewall

    I have a linksys wireless router that includes a firewall. Do I need a software firewall better than Windows Firewall? I am running Windows XP Home.

  2. #2
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    Re: hardware firewall

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by IMNetUser on 16-Jul-08 22:01. Corrected blasted spelling error.)</P>I suspect you will get a wide variety of answers, but <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15> ...

    In my humble opinion, you are better off with <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> Zone Alarm. This program is much better than windows Firewall and will replace windows firewall.

    You only want one software firewall up at a time. You ALSO want the router firewall up as well.
    Scott

  3. #3
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: hardware firewall

    The case for software firewalls was made in this post: Software Firewall: Why use it, Where to get it. Specific product information is a few years out of date. Also, I haven't examined the functionality of the Windows XP firewall recently. It may have caught up to other software firewalls. Or not.

  4. #4
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    Re: hardware firewall

    The firewall built into Windows XP monitors incoming traffic only, i.e. it doesn't protect against malicious programs that "phone home". But if the other security programs (anti-virus/anti-spyware) are up-to-date they should provide adequate protection against that.
    The firewall built into Windows Vista can monitor both incoming and outgoing traffic, like most third-party firewalls. Configuring it is not really easy, but most users will never need to do that.

    In short, the Windows firewall may not be the best one available, and definitely not the most fancy one, but in combination with other security software it offers adequate protection for most users.

  5. #5
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    Re: hardware firewall

    Wow! Thanks, Hans for great 'real world' direction. You have put my mind at rest!

    Chris

  6. #6
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    Re: hardware firewall

    What about the linksys hardware firewall - what does it do for me?

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: hardware firewall

    In my opinion, hardware firewalls are better than software ones as they can provide a single-controlled firewall, useful if the router connects to a network as you do not need to depend on other users setting up their own protection. Additionally, it can reduce the load on any PC by carrying out the protection separately, plus you can specify domains to block - e.g. Facebook if you didn't want users spending paid time doing something they are not supposed to. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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    Re: hardware firewall

    So with a Linksys Hardware Firewall, do I really need to worry about a software firewall - if I have both the hardware firewall and windows xp software firewall, am I OK? I also have spyware blaster and spybot as well as AVG.

  9. #9
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    Re: hardware firewall

    In addition to Leif's comments, here's a little reading you might like to do: The ultimate broadband router features guide

  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: hardware firewall

    A 'hardware' firewall is really just a 'software' firewall running on separate hardware. It's advantages I outlined above, and as Hans pointed out, in conjunction with other suitable protection, should be sufficient.

    The advantage of running something like ZoneAlarm locally, is that it monitors programs trying to access the internet. If you deliberately download a trojan - and by that I mean unintentionally! - a hardware firewall may not be able to differentiate between it and you intentionally sending out 50,000 emails.

    If you are happy your other security software will protect you from viruses and other nasties, a hardware firewall should be all you need, but running it in series with, say, the free ZA firewall, will do no harm at all. (In this scenario you can run two firewalls together as there is no conflict - they are running in series, not parallel, and therefore will not fight for control.)

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