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  1. #1
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    Windows 7 Firewall

    An article I have just read states that Win 7 firewall only operates for incoming data by default but can be configured to cover outgoing as well - I have also been told that it covers both ways by default. I have gone through all of the settings but cannot be sure whether it goes both ways or not. Help please

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    The Windows firewall comes, by default, with inbound and outbound rules. The behavior is a bit different - inbound connections are blocked unless there is a rule that allows them, outbound connections are allowed, unless there is a rule that blocks them.

    So, by default, unless there is a rule that prevents a specific connection, based on program, protocol or a combination of these and other configuration parameters, outbound connections are allowed. This is usually the opposite of 3rd party firewalls, that by default block outgoing connections, unless there is a rule to allow them.

    I don't use the Windows firewall but, surprisingly, all the existing rules are to allow outbound connections.

    The default behavior for inbound and outbound connections can be easily changed.

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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike21 View Post
    An article I have just read states that Win 7 firewall only operates for incoming data
    That would be true for the firewall introduced with Windows XP Service Pack 2, but all subsequent firewalls in Microsoft operating systems have been "both-way"...
    BATcher

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    mike21 (2013-01-08)

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    Thanks for both - but does this mean that it would be better to change to block outgoing connections unless a rule allows it - as the 3rd party firewalls; it seems on the face of it that the default is set such that to all intents and purposes it might just as well not exist

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    Quote Originally Posted by mike21 View Post
    Thanks for both - but does this mean that it would be better to change to block outgoing connections unless a rule allows it - as the 3rd party firewalls; it seems on the face of it that the default is set such that to all intents and purposes it might just as well not exist
    As it is configured by default, you are right. The purpose of an outgoing block, by default, would be to prevent rogue programs or malware, to phone home. There are those who feel the risk is not big (I run a 3rd party firewall, so I prefer to have that type of control). Of course, the interface is not the best to actually determine what will be blocked, if you change the default behavior (which is rather easy to do, for all the network types).

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    Thanks Ruirib - I will change the default to block outgoing data and see what happens - perhaps this is what the article in PC Advisor (UK) meant when it said that it only blocks incoming but can be configured - with difficulty - to block outgoing.

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    It's not hard to block outgoing traffic. You can achieve it easily, by opening the network and sharing center, then choosing the Windows firewall and then clicking Advanced Properties. You will get to a screen similar to this:

    Capture.JPG

    The dialog on top is accessed by clicking Windows Firewall Properties. You can click the different tabs for the profiles that you are using and then choose the option to block outgoing connections. You may then have to add rules for programs unable to access the internet. The firewall should warn you in such cases.

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    Once malware is on your system you have no clue about what it has done by the time it decides to "phone home". I've run with the Windows firewall only for 5 or 6 years in its default mode and never had a problem. It is just one piece of a multi-layered defense system.

    Joe

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    The Windows 7 firewall was designed with very broad protections in mind, which is OK for most users.
    Depending upon your very specific needs, You might find a 3rd party firewall far easier to configure than the MS offering.

    But it will depend upon what your needs are.
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