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Re: [NTO] XP FIREWALL

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  • Scott Fordin
    FWIW, I ve had good luck with both Panda Internet Security 2008 and Norton Internet Security 2008. Installing either of them will automatically give you the
    Message 1 of 14 , Jan 10, 2008
      FWIW, I've had good luck with both Panda Internet Security 2008
      and Norton Internet Security 2008. Installing either of them will
      automatically give you the option to disable the Windows XP
      firewall (do it) so there aren't two potentially conflicting
      firewalls at work. I used to use ZoneAlarm, but became less than
      thrilled with later versions, starting about two years ago.

      Scott

      Brian Binder wrote:
      >
      >
      > I will comment on this particular comment, just for the benefit of the
      > group.
      >
      > Keep in mind, that most firewall programs have vulnerabilities, whether
      > they are based on the security of the OS or a problem with their code in
      > specific. Even Zone Alarm falls prey to both, so if you aren't in a
      > habit of keeping Windows XP up to date on patches, your firewall will
      > fall prey to attacks from OS vulnerabilities over and over anyway...so
      > by using another firewall you aren't ensuring better protection if you
      > happen to be lax with updates - and I've seen that plenty.
      >
      > What most experts agree on is that they wish Windows XP's firewall took
      > care of outbound connections, and it really doesn't. It attempts to
      > prevent you against being attacked by other machines on the Internet or
      > network, etc.
      >
      > There is something that is also very important to mention when it comes
      > to every single firewall out there: "most people mis-use them", and
      > that's me, quoting myself.
      >
      > I've gone to countless service calls, businesses, end users, etc. where
      > people have their machines so botched up because of things that they
      > have denied through their firewall. Rules for stopping parts of the
      > TCP/IP stack, rundll32.exe when it needs legitimate access, print
      > spoolers for network printer access, etc.
      >
      > They deny so much "stuff" (because its use is unknown to them) that they
      > end up crippling the performance and functionality of their PC's.
      > Therein lies the reason (in many people's opinions, including my own)
      > that Microsoft continues to deny making a firewall that analyzes
      > outbound traffic. If you are unsure of the connection, most people
      > "play it safe" and block it.
      >
      > Take this for what it's worth, but it's worth keeping in mind when
      > making a decision on what to do for your firewall situation.
      >
      > hsavage wrote:
      >
      >> Almost any of the reviews and/or opinions of the "EXPERTS" that test
      >> software and write the articles about firewall programs seem to be
      >> united against the use of "Windows Firewall".
      >>
      >> >From the never-ending number of reports of security holes in the
      >> Windows OS I tend to believe the "EXPERTS".
      >
      >
    • Alan C
      I use Linux with its own open source iptables firewall on the internet. I don t use my Win beyond my LAN. (that s, for 4 to 5 years now or longer, my
      Message 2 of 14 , Jan 10, 2008
        I use Linux with its own open source iptables firewall on the internet. I
        don't use my Win beyond my LAN. (that's, for 4 to 5 years now or longer, my
        personal solution to the Win internet security issue).

        For emailing and web browsing my friends use the Linux of their dual boot
        machine -- and its other OS is Win XP for use but except for rarely if ever
        on the internet.

        For their Win XP laptops and the one mentioned XP desktop, my friends just
        some weeks ago installed Norton 2008 internet security suite and have had no
        problem with it whatsoever.

        For several or more years now, my friends have been using Norton -- in 2007
        the Norton they purchased came with virus protection and its own personal
        firewall which we used (turned off the XP built in firewall)

        In 2006 the Norton they purchased was for virus protection only though it
        also monitored and notified if and which firewall is on or off. I set up
        this Norton on his XP laptop and I installed Zone Alarm and turned off the
        builtin XP firewall. This setup lasted them without incident through 2006
        up to the begin of 2007.

        What originally prompted my friends to increase their security is his Win XP
        laptop got (very -- as in totally, no longer useable anymore) severely
        compromised when using just the builtin Win XP firewall. That was 2005 or
        2006 when they first then subsequently bought the Norton.

        Same laptop got very severely (wasted, again) compromised in 2007 (yes it
        had the mentioned Norton on it then). Though they wouldn't admit to it --
        they have a teenage son. I think the son and his teenage friends were
        turned loose on this laptop on the internet -- without any adult
        overseeing. I fixed it, saved their data, restored from a previous disk
        image file, copied back their data, updated the Norton.

        The only difference after that is "users of the laptop *must* get involved
        here" (I let 'em have it, bang). They were more cautious/careful -- got
        them through the remainder of 2007 without another incident. (just because
        it has Norton on it is not a panacea).

        Given if the users are educated enough and cautious enough, it is probable
        that the builtin XP firewall would or could suffice. But I think this a
        tall order due the huge amount and the height of sophistication of phishing
        and social engineering taking place all of the time these days. All it
        takes is one little slip up by the user -- which could get something
        illegitimate installed that would then begin making outbound requests from
        within -- the builtin XP firewall is now useless, totally worthless, at this
        point.

        Another point to mention is running with user versus administrator
        privileges.

        My friends are not at all much computer literate. I set up a user and asked
        them to try it to see if it would do everything they need. They (very busy
        people) just take the easiest path -- faster and easier to use the default
        administrator account rather than try something new.

        Due that lack of cooperation on their part and my time constraints, they
        still run all their XP machines with admin privileges. (I'm certain that
        this admin privilege contributed to their mentioned 2007 contamination).

        --
        Alan.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Alan C
        On Jan 10, 2008 11:15 AM, Alan C wrote: Another point to mention is running with user versus administrator ... Theoretically, if a user
        Message 3 of 14 , Jan 10, 2008
          On Jan 10, 2008 11:15 AM, Alan C <acummingsus@...> wrote:

          Another point to mention is running with user versus administrator
          > privileges.


          Theoretically, if a user is not allowed to install software (not even to a
          user area of the disk) *and* if the user is not whatsoever allowed to change
          any web browser security related settings.

          Then, if the administrator (with a very secure admin password) had
          adequately and sufficiently and securely enough "set up the machine for this
          user" then the built in XP firewall should suffice alright (for this user)
          given this case scenario. *And* that the administrator rarely, if ever,
          logs on (does so only when needed for sys maintenance).

          Linux is natively already oriented towards just such a case scenario as what
          I just mentioned. Windows, on the other hand, for ages, ran contrary to my
          mentioned case scenario.

          Bill Gates for the longest time said "people want usability over security".

          Thus the (Win) default account being the administrator privileged account.

          AFAIK the native Linux firewall does just what (the same as) the built in
          Win XP firewall does.

          I think a person would need to purchase commercial software for their Linux
          so as to get the type of checking that (for instance) Zone Alarm does
          (monitoring of applications that might seek to do outbound request).

          Linux is natively locked down like my mentioned case scenario whereby
          "nothing illegitimate can get installed" and therefore there will be no
          illegitimate outbound requests which makes it so that there is no need to
          monitor apps that potentially can do outbound requests.

          Perhaps I've been partially in the wrong by not (not enough anyways)
          attempting to admin my friend's Win XP so as to make their Win comply with
          my mentioned case scenario or what I've termed as the "Linux is natively
          locked down." (takes too much time [need to learn etc.] is the excuse so
          far for not making their Win to be like my mentioned case scenario or Like
          Linux with respect to the security model).

          --
          Alan.


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Gerard Huijing
          ... This remark re WinXP native firewall and Linux firewalls may be a bit confusing, but maybe you mean something quite different than what the message appears
          Message 4 of 14 , Jan 13, 2008
            Alan C wrote:
            >
            > AFAIK the native Linux firewall does just what (the same as) the built in
            > Win XP firewall does.
            >


            This remark re WinXP native firewall and Linux firewalls may be a bit
            confusing, but maybe you mean something quite different than what the
            message appears to say.

            The firewalls in the Linux distributions I know of come with a set of
            preconfigured rules that regulate both incoming and outgoing traffic. In
            other words, they are two-way firewalls and Windows' own firewall, in XP
            at least, is not. This the reason why I have immediately switched it off
            and use a proper (software) firewall instead, in my case Agnitum Outpost.

            Cheers,
            Gerard
            --
            Gerard (E.G.P.) Huijing
            2312 ZD Leiden
            Netherlands
            inboxgen@...
          • Alan C
            ... ? ... What Linux distros are you refer to since I know some distro that do not even ship with a firewall (one must provide their own firewall). I use
            Message 5 of 14 , Jan 13, 2008
              On Jan 13, 2008 6:52 AM, Gerard Huijing <inboxgen@...> wrote:

              > Alan C wrote:
              > >
              > > AFAIK the native Linux firewall does just what (the same as) the built
              > in
              > > Win XP firewall does.
              > >
              >
              >
              > This remark re WinXP native firewall and Linux firewalls may be a bit
              > confusing, but maybe you mean something quite different than what the
              > message appears to say.
              >
              > The firewalls in the Linux distributions I know of come with a set of
              > preconfigured rules that regulate both incoming and outgoing traffic. In
              > other words, they are two-way firewalls and Windows' own firewall, in XP
              > at least, is not. This the reason why I have immediately switched it off
              > and use a proper


              ?


              > (software) firewall instead, in my case Agnitum Outpost.


              What Linux distros are you refer to since I know some distro that do not
              even ship with a firewall (one must provide their own firewall).

              I use Slackware and Debian. And I maintain a CentOS 4.6 box for my friends.

              Ok, I should have limited my comment in my former post, more specifically to
              "Linux distros that I myself use" because what I said now absolutely
              applies.

              proper? I definitely agree with you on that one for Win XP but not for the
              Linux distros that I use.

              What's "proper" is what's needed according to the overall or bigger picture
              context.

              Perhaps you missed my point?

              My point was: if it's not even possible for something illegitimate to get
              installed -- then -- there will never ever be any illegitimate outbound
              requests therefore a "proper" firewall in this case is one with
              characteristics just like the native Win XP firewall since in this (Linux or
              *maybe* a tightened Windows system) case there is no need, not ever, to
              monitor for potential illegitimate as to the or any outbound requesting sort
              of apps

              IOW (due the overall or bigger picture construct, I used the Linux (*distros
              that I use*) security model as an example) if there can't be, not even the
              possibility of illegitimate outbound then there's no need to monitor (using
              firewall) for something that cannot happen.

              Greater separation of user versus root or administrator. Run all the time
              as a "user".

              User is not privileged enough to install software nor alter any www related
              security things.

              User can't do anything but use. For anything else, root or administrator
              must be logged onto. (as in separate accounts to log onto, each of the
              mentioned separate account with drastically different in the way of
              privileges or the amount of power of what is allowed to do).

              So, once again, what sort of firewall is needed is dependent upon how tight
              or how loose you are, security wise, in the mentioned overall or bigger
              picture. That was the point that I was attempting to make.

              But my intention here is not to advocate that "thus and such requires the
              use of (whatever)"

              But, to me, (mainly, anyways, the intention or point that I attempt here to
              get across) that the concept of computer security that there are many many
              components or ingredients that can make for and which can also make for the
              lack of computer security. (a software) Firewall is *only one* of such
              components or ingredients.

              Even the built in Win XP firewall "monitors" outbound -- it does so for the
              purpose to only allow back in what had been initially requested from within
              -- oh, well, too bad if it was an "illegitimate outbound request that was
              initiated from within (no protection)"

              So, such built in XP firewall monitors outbound and inbound.

              So does your mentioned Agnitum.

              The difference is that the Agnitum also monitors for the potential of
              "illegitimate requests that are outbound requests that are initiated from
              within".

              --
              Alan.


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Gerard Huijing
              ... Fedora, and openSUSE. I have used several other distributions in the past (ZenWalk, Vector among others) I will stick to the first two: they have a
              Message 6 of 14 , Jan 13, 2008
                Alan C wrote:
                >
                >
                > What Linux distros are you refer to since I know some distro that do not
                > even ship with a firewall (one must provide their own firewall).
                >
                > I use Slackware and Debian. And I maintain a CentOS 4.6 box for my friends.

                Fedora, and openSUSE. I have used several other distributions in the
                past (ZenWalk, Vector among others)
                I will stick to the first two: they have a configuration file that
                regulates inbound and outbound traffic. It is configured on the basis
                of choices offered by the install program. ("Do you want this machine to
                provide ftp services?" etc.).

                If I tested my service ports after I had installed (which I alway did),
                e.g. with Gibson Shields Up, the report would be with SUSE: all ports
                stealthed (DROP) except 113 (IDENT) which was closed (REJECT). ICMP echo
                requests from outside to the firewall were rejected. I could choose to
                stealth 113, and change the other rule: DROP the pings). I always did
                that too. Mine is a stand alone PC and I had no problems (although the
                documentation says that changing these settings can have adverse effects).

                When you install SUSE or Fedora that configuration file (essentially a
                script for iptables) is also generated. On those grounds I would say
                that a firewall is in place to start off with.

                > proper? I definitely agree with you on that one for Win XP but not for the
                > Linux distros that I use.

                I used "proper" because I have read so many criticisms of the XP
                firewall saying exactly that: "Yes, indeed XP has its own firewall but
                it's not a *proper* one: it only monitors inbound".

                >
                > What's "proper" is what's needed according to the overall or bigger picture
                > context.

                I quite agree.

                > Even the built in Win XP firewall "monitors" outbound -- it does so for the
                > purpose to only allow back in what had been initially requested from within
                > -- oh, well, too bad if it was an "illegitimate outbound request that was
                > initiated from within (no protection)"

                Precisely! It's the unnoticed illegitimate ones I am worried about.
                Thank you for the more precise description of what is going on in XP
                firewall BTW.

                Your point was, very much in a nutshell: the situation WinXP plus native
                FW is comparable to Linux 'sec' with some essential qualifications
                regarding the whole implementation of the OS, which make Linux so much
                safer to start with.

                I quite agree, again. I know that the situation in ArchLinux or FreeBSD
                is like the one you have in mind. You have to install and configure your
                firewall yourself, from scratch.

                I quite enjoy trying to figure out iptables rules myself (after all I
                can only screw up my own PC), but I am also very happy that openSUSE and
                Fedora give me some safe settings to start off with.


                Cheers,
                Gerard





                --
                Gerard (E.G.P.) Huijing
                2312 ZD Leiden
                Netherlands
                inboxgen@...
              • Alan C
                ... Red Hat 8.0 was my first Linux. Then Red Hat 9.0. Then Fedora Core 1 and 2. Then I tried Slackware 9.0 or 10.0. I liked it. But then I hated it. But
                Message 7 of 14 , Jan 13, 2008
                  On Jan 13, 2008 2:29 PM, Gerard Huijing <inboxgen@...> wrote:

                  > Alan C wrote:
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > What Linux distros are you refer to since I know some distro that do not
                  > > even ship with a firewall (one must provide their own firewall).
                  > >
                  > > I use Slackware and Debian. And I maintain a CentOS 4.6 box for my
                  > friends.
                  >
                  > Fedora, and openSUSE. I have used several other distributions in the
                  > past (ZenWalk, Vector among others)
                  > I will stick to the first two: they have a configuration file that
                  > regulates inbound and outbound traffic. It is configured on the basis
                  > of choices offered by the install program. ("Do you want this machine to
                  > provide ftp services?" etc.).


                  Red Hat 8.0 was my first Linux. Then Red Hat 9.0. Then Fedora Core 1 and
                  2.

                  Then I tried Slackware 9.0 or 10.0. I liked it. But then I hated it. But
                  then I liked it.

                  It was all about how much Unix/Linux acclimated I was back then.

                  Near 2001 'till now be near 7 years since I first began my Linux foray.

                  Since Slackware 10.2, Slackware has been my first go to distro (it's
                  Slackware 12.0 now) (I no longer have the hate periods -- it's now all "I
                  like it").

                  It a very fun distro to customize to your own personal liking. (lots of
                  community support for this distro). Once got (grasp) Slackware, am now
                  acclimated to the Unix/Linux way.

                  Slackware ships without a firewall. I use:

                  http://www.slackware.com/~alien/efg/

                  (rather powerful, loads many security related kernel modules).

                  I also use:

                  http://firehol.sourceforge.net/

                  I once used a Debian package of that one on Debian.

                  Debian is just for practice -- to keep me on my toes. I boot it only about
                  20% of the time. Slack gets the other 80%.

                  My friend's CentOS gives me some akin the direction of Fedora/Red Hat.
                  After a while (no rush) I may put Debian or Slackware on my friend's box (so
                  I don't have to scratch my head about CentOS things when I work on it).

                  <snipped>

                  I quite enjoy trying to figure out iptables rules myself (after all I
                  > can only screw up my own PC), but I am also very happy that openSUSE and
                  > Fedora give me some safe settings to start off with.


                  I stay away from iptables rules (never end up with enough time to dedicate
                  to it so as to learn it). I'm thankful that many various configurator tools
                  for the task exist.

                  --
                  Alan.


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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