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#1 Feb 14 2012 at 2:54 AM Rating: Good
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Sorry if this forum is for hardware related topics only, but I figured you guys know more about this than I do.

I recently switched ISP and the new router does not appear to have a hardware firewall, so I decided to find a software equivalent, just in case. The problem is, I've not dealt with software firewalls in ten years and have no idea what's best out there.

Used to be a big fan of ZoneAlarm, so when I saw they had a free firewall, I installed it. Turns out the free install, besides lacking some features, comes with a nice pop-up ad on boot, which I'm not a huge fan of.

Have read some mixed opinions on Comodo, but I have no idea what their newest version is like. Older versions had a tendency to be slow and "stupid" (i.e. not remembering settings) and the program was/is a **** to uninstall.

Do any of you use a free software firewall, and if so, which ones do you use?
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#2 Feb 14 2012 at 3:56 AM Rating: Decent
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Win 7 has a built in firewall, just make sure it's on. Heck, XP has a firewall, it's just off by default.

Microsoft Security Essentials is actually pretty good, it's just a lot less visible than people are used to.

As far as the router, assuming it is a router, it has a firewall. You might want to verify that it is a router if you did not specifically buy it. You're the one who was on the **** of a campus network not too long ago correct? If so, you may be connected to a switch, which probably doesn't have a firewall.

But for the record, I run Norton 360.
#3 Feb 14 2012 at 4:58 AM Rating: Good
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I switched from campus net to my own net to avoid aforementioned cluster@#%^, yeah.

After some digging around (having read your post), I found that my router does have a firewall, it just wasn't mentioned in the manual (the one time I do read a manual it isn't useful). Going to take a look at the damage I can cause in there.

Edit: Found that the router had an "Active Firewall" setting that wasn't turned on by default. Turned it on for the **** of it. I wonder what it'll block. Smiley: dubious

Edited, Feb 14th 2012 12:27pm by Mazra
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#4 Feb 14 2012 at 9:16 AM Rating: Excellent
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A passive firewall is going to block specific incoming requests on certain ports. An active mode firewall inspects incoming packets in addition to just blocking what it would normally block. it probably slightly slows down your internet feed, but is also most likely more secure.

You always want a hardware and a software firewall. The built in windows 7 one is good if nothing else. I personally run Norton Internet Security, which is basically the same thing as Norton 360 with a different interface.
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#5 Feb 15 2012 at 8:53 AM Rating: Good
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Do routers have some ports open by default, or do they open those ports when a program needs to use them? I've never really had much experience with routers before, so I don't know how this works.

I enabled the active firewall, uninstalled ZoneAlarm and reset the Windows firewall to default settings, just in case. Haven't had any issues, but I feel like I'm prancing around naked in front of a million viewers.
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#6 Feb 15 2012 at 9:01 AM Rating: Excellent
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It depends on the firewall usually. Most routers will have outgoing traffic from your computer to outside open by default, and will automatically allow any traffic you request in on most ports. FOr ecample, when you click on a web page link, your computer sends out a HTTP get request over port 80, or possibly port 8080. The website then sends a reply on the same port saying "hey, you asked for packet xyz, here it is" THe router isn't smart enough generally to tell if packet xyz is a website, or a virus, and it doesn't know if you clicked on a link to deliver it, or some random popup add loaded on your computer and attempted to automatically trigger a download.

Generally the standard traffic ports will be somewhat open, and the less used ports will be somewhat closed on the router. Most of the UDP port range will generally be off, and most routers also stealth ports by default too, so they don't advertise to the world when ports exist and are open or not. Generally if someone can guess your IP address, they can generally guess which ports will be open on a given computer unless you go crazy remapping ports or implementing port forwarding schemes. realistical;ly the hassle of rebinding all the ports is more trouble than its worth.
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#7 Feb 15 2012 at 10:45 AM Rating: Good
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#8 Feb 16 2012 at 8:26 AM Rating: Good
Raolan wrote:


I tried that and apparently my computer is more secure than Minas Tirith. Nice to know.Smiley: smile


Thanks, Raolan.



EDIT: I mean I rated you up.. Why did I think this was the Feedback Forum?Smiley: confused


Edited, Feb 16th 2012 7:28am by Bijou
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