Can anyone give me a quick firewall education

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian E, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    Hi all,

    Since I know the most about computers at work I'm the defacto "IT Guy". I know next to nothing however about firewall software. Basically what we have set up is a small peer to peer type network. One computer has a dial up connection (mine) and it shares that connection. Now a couple of questions.

    What are considered the better firewall programs out there?

    Would a firewall be recommended on each machine or just the one with the actual dial up connection?

    Any recommended sites out there for a good FAQ on this?

    Most of are machines are running WinXP and we still have a couple of Win98 boxes too.

    Thanks in advance...
     
  2. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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  3. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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    I'm here! I'm here! Sheesh! [​IMG]

    The firewall should only be needed on the system that is actually connecting to the Internet. Anything else will be overkill since the firewall on the connected system if properly configured will be sufficient. Additional firewalls will be nothing more than blocking traffic that should have been blocked by the first firewall anyway. They'll also take up system resources on each system. This is obviously not what you want to do.

    As to a "better firewall for Windows", there's no such thing as far as I'm concerned since Windows itself is rife with its own security problems. UNIX is infinitely better for firewalls; however, that won't necessarily be a good option in your case.

    Regardless, the one that seems to be the most highly recommended is Zone Alarm, particularly because the basic version is free.

    As a near-to-mid-range goal, you should consider abandoning that dial-up connection in favor of getting a low-speed (thereby low-cost) broadband connection. That way you can get your PC out of the middle and use a broadband router to manage your Internet connection. Because broadband routers are also firewalls, you'll be killing two birds with one stone.
     
  4. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    Thanks John & Ted,

    We do plan on getting rid of dial-up (thank goodness) and getting DSL once are phone company makes it available. Until then I'm stuck with what I've got.

    So if I put the firewall on the one machine it should block things that try to dial out from the other machines? In other words will it see the individual programs that could "dial out" or will it just see it as the other computer and allow it because that machine is allowed access? Hope that makes sense.
     
  5. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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    If you have an old 486 or first gen pentium you can build a Smoothwall firewall. This is a *nix based fire wall with great web based user interface. You dont need to know any *nix

    All you need is 2 networkcards (and a modem for dial up) and your in business. Smoothwal is GPL so does not cost anything. Download looks like 20 MB so even with your dial up you could have it downloaded by morning.

    They also have great support via a mailing list.

    All the functionality of a broadband router which will also work with dial up and it also keeps a PC out of a landfill.

    IMO Hardware firewalls are far superior to software firewalls.
     
  6. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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  7. Kevin P

    Kevin P Screenwriter

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  8. Chris Hovanic

    Chris Hovanic Supporting Actor

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  9. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the tips, I'll look into it. I downloaded Sygate's software to try out, haven't done anything else yet.
     

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