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Are firewalls bad for you?

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Are firewalls bad for you?

When I was unable to connect earlier this week, even though the connection was showing as 'Up' at the PlusNet end, the chap on the PlusNet help line told me that the problem was most likely to have been caused by a user-configured firewall and he advised me to remove all my firewalls to get connectivity back.

As it happens, this wasn't the cause and I didn't have any firewalls set but I'm thinking of setting one now. But after the advice I was given, I'm concerned that any firewall might jeopardise my none-too-resilient connectivity. Or are there certain firewalls which are Good For You and others which might Damage Your Health?

Simon
84 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Are firewalls bad for you?

I would advise that you do need a firewall.
You could certainly start off with Zonealarm which is a free download.
It will ask you every time something wants to connect to the internet and you have the choice of allowing once or always.

Ive used it for several years and had no problems.
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Are firewalls bad for you?

The question should be

Is not having a firewall bad for you?

To which the answer is "Yes"
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Are firewalls bad for you?

root3cr, nicely said. Cheesy

There is no real excuse these days for not having a firewall, but I only have to look at my router logs to see the number of fellow Plus Net users who obviously feel in someway that they don't. :x
ncreu
Grafter
Posts: 77
Registered: 13-08-2007

ZoneAlarm

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You could certainly start off with Zonealarm which is a free download.

If you're running WinXP SP2, I believe that the included firewall is adequate.

Beware of the latest version of ZoneAlarm that is more than a little paranoid in that it actually inserts code into pages that you are attempting to view. Sometimes this will actually prevent you from viewing harmless content.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Are firewalls bad for you?

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If you're running WinXP SP2, I believe that the included firewall is adequate.


NO!! Evil

The windows firewall only looks at incoming traffic. It does not check what nasties are sending information out of your PC.
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Are firewalls bad for you?

In addition if you run a network and have File and Print Sharing enabled, there is flaw in the XP SP2 Firewall which means it's easy to gain access to shared folders and files.
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Are firewalls bad for you?

Ha Ha Are firewalls good for you!

But rememebr they are only one line of defence. A good AV programme (and regular updates) is a must, regular updates to your O/S (at least the MS criticals); and I run anti-spyware on all machines cos the crap still comes down port 80

And yes, the XP firewall in SP2 is OK, but it really doesn't provide all you need. There is also lots of evidence of unexpected problems on LAN's with it, so if your on a LAN I recommend a good hardware firewall (two if you can afford it) as an absoloute minimum
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Are firewalls bad for you?

If they're so good for you, why was my (non-existent) firewall "almost certainly" the cause of my connectivity problem, according to PlusNet support?

FWIW, I have a small wireless LAN of 3 Apple Macs sharing the broadband connection and, occasionally filesharing. There is firewall software built into the Mac Os but I have never used it.

Simon
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Are firewalls bad for you?

A firewall is secondary protection. You don't need it.

Secure your system first - then you can add a correctly configured firewall, mainly for monitoring.

I get hundreds of attacks a day and have been doing so for 3-4 years. I've never had a firewall. It won't protect your open services anyway unless you're really an expert in configuring it and even then it won't do much.

Cheers
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Are firewalls bad for you?

morsing,

words fail me......... Evil Evil

Everyone needs a firewall, and you don't need to be an expert to configure them. Many software firewalls have self configuration tools, which assist by creating rules based on requirements.

Maybe your connection is one of the many that's attacking my router :x
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Are firewalls bad for you?

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morsing,

words fail me......... Evil Evil



They fail me too :?
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Are firewalls bad for you?

A firewall will hamper the activities of malicious software once it is installed - a much better policy is to make sure that the malicious software never gets on to your computer in the first place.
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Are firewalls bad for you?

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a much better policy is to make sure that the malicious software never gets on to your computer in the first place.

Agreed but can you guarantee that your prevention systems are watertight??

edit: Note. since this debate has now become more about security tan customer feedback, I'm moving it to the security board.
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Are firewalls bad for you?

Firewalls prevent access to your machine and prevent software/trojans/keyloggers etc being installed remotely without your knowledge.

Why do you think so many people get hits on their firewall, because other machines are reaching out to infect other machines. It also worth bearing in mind, that not all virus checkers have real time internet or file checking.