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Smurf
14-08-2003, 12:05 AM
Given the reply to my previous question re the free edition of Zone Alarms and installing on a laptop, can anyone tell me about the merits of the built in firewall in Windows XP as opposed to an external firewall such as Zone Alarm. Given the vulnerability of XP to the virus W32.Blaster.Worm (which incidently infected my computer, the time is even more crucial to take added precautions such as installing a firewall as well as keeping virus definitions current.
Comments please?

godfather
14-08-2003, 12:18 AM
Kerio Personal Firewall (free) seems very good and user friendly.
The in-built XP one is one way only (in) whereas the others monitor in and out. Just don't have both active at the same time as they can negate each other and be equivalent to none.

Ignore the "laptop" issue, if you are not connecting to different network domains (large company networks) then its simply no different to any home PC.

There is nothing special or different about a laptop apart from the portability.

vk_dre
14-08-2003, 12:20 AM
Zone Alarm is quite good, but also have the Win Xp one on, personally i'd use Norton Internet Security.

cheers,
v.K

vk_dre
14-08-2003, 12:22 AM
> Just don't have both
> active at the same time as they can negate each other
> and be equivalent to none.


Really? Damn. i alwas thought that it was better to run both Norton and the Win Xp one....oh well, seems i was wrong.

godfather
14-08-2003, 12:37 AM
If the writers of each firewall program have allowed that their product will "share" control, then thats fine. However I doubt that they have.

When two programs are competing to control the same device, someone must lose. Sometimes it may be possible then that both will lose. At the best the first loaded has absolute control, and the second one should have nothing to do. A single properly configured firewall should be adequate. In my case I hide behind a NAT router, which is usually adequate.

Smurf
14-08-2003, 09:18 AM
Thanks for the replies. Godfather, I will take your advice and go for a free edition of a firewall on my laptop wich I will primarily be using from home.

Murray P
14-08-2003, 09:34 AM
IMO go with Kerio, Outpost or Zone Alarm in that order. As GF says you want inward as well as outward monitoring and blocking of, both ports and applications. I prefer Kerio because it has caused me the least issues in setting up and is flexible. Personal experience taught me that ZA and Outpost do not get on together.

Cheers Murray P

Susan B
14-08-2003, 09:50 AM
> Just don't have both active at the same time as they can negate each other and be equivalent to none.

Not true Godfather. I run Kerio and until fairly recently also had the Win XP one running as well and tests showed that my firewall/s was working.

I agree that running two could mean that one (Win XP?) may "have nothing to do" but there is no issue of conflict where they would spit the dummy like usually happens if you try to run two anti-virus programs at the same time.

I turned off my Win XP firewall because I could not receive files through IM until it was disabled. Otherwise there was no harm done in leaving it on.

godfather
14-08-2003, 10:11 AM
You may have greater chances of success with the in-built XP one as its actually integrated with Windows itself, true. But why would you want to?

Can you provide any proof that they will not interact when both trying to block the same port? You are unlikely to know about it until its too late.

Its not a risk I would want to take when I do not have to, software is flakey enough without having such issues added to the mix.

One uses the assumption here that each program writer based their code on their program being the only one accessing the port controls.

metla
14-08-2003, 10:19 AM
I recently read an article where a group of hobbyists tested under a similar situation, in a bid to see if more then one firewall actually helped or hindered, in most cases as soon as 2 were installed leaks were found with their testing programs.

Fraid i have no idea what the site was so i can't post a link for verification, so dismiss it as you see fit :D

Although i do remember winxp inbuilt firewall was not part of the test, Seems they quite rightly gave it the respect it deserves...and pretended it didnít exist

Susan B
14-08-2003, 10:43 AM
> Can you provide any proof that they will not interact when both trying to block the same port? You are unlikely to know about it until its too late.

The only "proof" I can provide are the firewall tests that I have done on the internet at Steve Gibson's site and at another site. Some people say that SG's site is not to be relied on though.......

If those tests are not sufficient proof that my computer can safely resist being bombarded then I don't know how else I can find out, except to wait until it is "too late". Our knowledge is only gained from what we are told by others who have "tested" things and unless there are reports from many independent testers then there is never any guarantee that what we read is correct.

I found it very interesting that in the last issue of Consumer Kerio got a rather low rating as a firewall compared to others and scored just 2/10 for outgoing protection (Norton Personal Firewall scored 1/10 :D). How they tested I do not know but as users of these products all we can do is cross our fingers and hope we can trust the tests that give them good reports.
[pre]BTW Consumer rated the Win XP firewall last. :D

-=JM=-
14-08-2003, 05:45 PM
Did anyone do a Consumer Test Report on the Consumer Testers though? ;)

Beef
14-08-2003, 10:37 PM
theres a good section in the latest Consumer Mag'

um Http://www.grc.com

click on sheilds up. In hot spots click on Shields UP tes then Test My Sheilds. yeh its all there

tweak\'e
14-08-2003, 10:43 PM
the general rule of thumb is running dual firewalls is BAD. however XP's built in firewall can actually be of use if configured correctly. there is floating around somewhere a guide on tweaking the XP firwall. it can run ok with most other firewalls but there is little point in doing so and requires tweaking so it dosn't block legit apps.

Susan B
15-08-2003, 06:59 PM
> Did anyone do a Consumer Test Report on the Consumer Testers though? ;)

Good point, JM.

"Our test was carried out by an independent laboratory in Australia, using specialist security software."

Hmmm say no more. ]:)

-=JM=-
15-08-2003, 11:23 PM
Australians, interesting.

You'd think Consumer could have support NZ, or is it one of those cases whereby they bought the article from the Australian Consumer Institute?

I'd like to see some proper explanations as to how they tested. It might be that Zone Alarm was installed first tested. Then it was uninstalled which never works properly leaving some of Zone Alarm active while the other firewalls were tested.

Greg S
16-08-2003, 09:25 AM
Hmmm GRC's ShieldsUp utility has been taken offline temporarily - he reckons it'll be back up in an hour or so after some testing