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  1. #21
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Isn`t it a good idea for a home user to have a firewall installed just for the soul purpose of being protected from the inside out (like trojan calling home)? I mean daily people are here saying "Do i have a trojan on my computer".

    That alone i think would justify a firewall.

    edit - P.S. I know this point has been made, it just seems that`s reason enough.


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  2. #22
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    I still think the advice I gave back on page 2 is the best answer. I see both sides from catch and pooh, but to get back to the original question from JohnHack, I still think my answer says it all.....the rest is just theory, no one knows whos going to target what or when........the best bet is to stay ever vigalent in your security practices.

    Hope that helps....
    \"Common Sense, isn\'t that common\"
    \"It is a lot easier to raise a child then it is to repair an adult\"

  3. #23
    Antionline's Security Dude instronics's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Well, this sure sounds like the common problem between corporate, and private users....what they need, and what they dont need, why they need something, and why they dont...

    I would have to say that you all have valid points in some way. But to those of you who know their way round computers, always keep in mind that 80% of the worlds computer users have no idea about their systems. Not everyone is a computer genius. Whilst the people who know thier stuff would split up into 2 groups, such as:

    Group A: Firewalls are essentical, so its a must to setup an application level firewall, with a bastion host, and an evil DMZ using 4 screening routers, not to forget the ultra tightenen squid server regulating transfer speeds etc.....


    Group B: Firewalls are not needed, its much better to just shut down all the ports that are in state 'LISTEN' and to make sure that user permissions are setup in a way that noone can install anything on the system. Keep the system clean, shut down all non needed services, and make sure that you never download anything which you are not 100000% sure of what it is.... Make sure that no hidden background application can be triggered in opening a port upon a certain TCP protocol, and make sure to have an uptodate AV. Make sure that you get a password prompt every 20 seconds to annoy you. Etc.....

    Both groups have valid points. But have any of these two groups thought about the following scenarios?

    Scenario 1 - Person goes into a computer store, to buy a computer for his home. He has never really had time to mess with a computer, but he thought the time has come to explore this so called 'internet' thingy, and OOOOOOOOHHHH, music downloads and other weird unknown names such as 'kazaa', 'napster', 'email', 'chat' and all the other stuff the internet is famous for.
    Buyer: "Good day, i would like a computer to go on the internet."
    Seller: "Sure, we here have this and that and yak yak yak."
    Buyer to not make a fool out of himself: "Ahh,ok, i will take this GB thingy, with the ermm... somthing-ROM, and i want DVD tooo, and internet on it."
    Seller gives him a box with a preinstalled windows OS on it. Buyet goes home with it feeling all l33t and ****. It takes him 3 hours to connect the monitor, modems, and printers to it.
    Takes him another hour fighting with the MS connection wizards and all the other lil wizzards and paper clips that come along with it.

    After some time has passed, use realizes that he really only wants a few things out of this box. He mostly wants:

    a: to click a button and read his email.
    b: to type in a link and go to a site.
    c: to be able to write letters and be l33t in 'excel' c0ding.
    d: to listen to music and watch movies/dvds.

    He doesnt care about multi user, file permissions, sharing enabled/disabled, AV, firewalls, IDS, trojans, worms, exploits and another 500 pages of etc.......... (Oh, and before i forget. Many many people DONT want to use a password for anything!!!!)

    If someone comes to his place and starts talking about "Ahhh, no firewall, no AV, your nuts man. YOu need all this l33t protection on here. Get a firewall NOW!" Get this and that now.... the user goes nuts and all paranoid and scared, but he has really no idea whats actaully going on. It doesnt matter if its a corporate box, or a private home box. To the owner, its worth alot of value. Because its HIS, and he payed for it, and hes a '(l)user'.

    Scenario 2 - Parent lets kid use his computer. Parent is the same as user mentioend above in scenario 1. Kid goes to msn or yahoo chat... finds a room called 'l33t 3v1l h4x0r5 w0nd3r00m' and starts bragging bout 'his' new computer. Doesnt take long until hes been s3x0r3d by an evil sub7 pro, and has opened all kinds of weird ports on his dads box. Hence: Dad's data is at risk, not to mention dad's box.

    Both scenarios are REAL everyday scenarios everywhere. These sort of people are not bothered about firewalls, tcp/udp, ports, packets and so on (another 500 pages of etc.....)

    So back to the real problem here at hand. For a total newbie, who really has no idea about whats really going on, and who doesnt want to become a genius, just to read his mails, and surf the web, and play a game or two, the most recomened solution for a simple home computer.

    1: Get a very simple firewall, its worth the hassle and really not hard to setup. And an uptodate AV.
    2: Make sure that you never enter valuable or sensitive data into that box.
    3: Backups, backups, backups, and backups.

    A simple free software firewall is by no means a 100% protection guarantee, heck its not even 50%.... but the 3 points listed above will make it upto that 50%, and that 50% is more than sufficient to keep skiddies and the most common everyday plagues out of that home box.

    Ubuntu-: Means in African : "Im too dumb to use Slackware"

  4. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    instronics, you gave a good reasons why we need ti install at least a very simple firewall in our system, "Better than never.". Because not all computer users knows about computer system(mostly in comp. security, its too complicated), for those who still less in computer knowledge including me, I suggest you and me also to install firewall, at least it can protect ur important data and please make backup of ur data and store it in save place, for instance, if you got 2 hdd, once you have make a backup in 2nd hdd, then unplug in fromur system, because nowadays, there are thousand of of ways intruders can access our pc.

    What is the best free firewall on the net? This part I dont really know, but most computer users prefer ZoneAlarm (this is what I most heard when I read article about computer security).

    I don't know really much about computer security and I think that is all, hope those others AV members can contribute more info. about computer security, because different people have different opinion...

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2003
    The best free firewall? FWTK.

    The best free firewall for unskilled users? They all pretty much suck so just pick one at random. The unskilled user won't understand or care about the nuances between them, just which has the prettiest graphs about all the attacks it is thwarting.


  6. #26
    AO Part Timer
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    While we may not see eye to eye. Your knowledge is respectable. So I will give you this.

    By adding a firewall in this environment you actually decrease the security of your system by increasing its complexity (reduced assurances, and just another application that needs to be trusted and kept current) and surface area.

    As for the original question. If you are really set on not using one, be sure you know the ins and outs of the os you are using. RTFM, patch, and lock it down to the best of your abilities.

    2 cents
    Your heart was talking, not your mind.
    -Tiger Shark

  7. #27
    AO Ancient: Team Leader
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Insitronics: You got it...... Nice post

    Catch: As always is right.... Also I note that you finally admit that most of what you say may be above the heads of many users... Good man. As usual though, the problem I have with your posts is that you would do well by premising them by stating that "the following is generally theoretical, for very advanced users and should probably not be tried at home... But it is correct".... There are utter newbs here that may take your advice and sit completely exposed on the net "thinking" they are safe because they turned off NETBIOS over TCP/IP 'cos they read it somewhere. There is an actual cost to them in dollars when they need to take their computer to the local store to be reformatted and reinstalled when the inevitable happens.

    The simple fact is that it is much easier for us "Guru's" to persuade a (l)user to install zonealarm then it is to persuade them to spend hundreds of hours learning to actually secure their box when all they really want, as insi pointed out, is their bloody joke emails from Uncle Jerry. I know this from personal experience. Over time I became fed up with incessant calls and visits from users telling me that their home computer was "only three months old and it is running ever so slow" or "it's doing really odd things when I boot" that I decided to become proactive. I already knew that when I said "Go CTRL-ALT-DEL and...." I was losing them right there. So I typed up a long email with links to Ad-Aware, Spybot, The Cleaner, Bitdefender's online scan, Winpatrol, Popupstopper and Zonealarm. The email detailed how to download each, the order to install them, to update them, to run them etc. and what they will do. This email was on the premise that it would cure their "ills" and make their computers run faster. Of the 350 users I sent this to I'm guessing some 50 went home and carried out this procedure and every one of them thanked me and told me their computers run so much better/faster. I reckon 50/350 is a pretty good ratio and those that did are better off for having done it.

    Are their computers "secure"? Not by the standards of many, obviously. But they are more secure then they were and the (l)users see a non-technical benefit - their computer runs better. What they did keeps the dross at bay, the hounds from their door etc. etc. The benefit for me is that I don't have to sit for 1/2 hour trying to explain what to them is Einstein's Theory of Relativity all the while watching it go in one ear and out the other. Funnily enough, an added benefit has been that I now get more "advanced" questions from those users. They now come and say that they were reading a comparison of firewalls and..... what do i think they should do.

    Interestingly enough, those who did not take my advice in the first place do still come, from time to time, and have the same old woes. I forward them the email and I'm done...
    Don\'t SYN us.... We\'ll SYN you.....
    \"A nation that draws too broad a difference between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools.\" - Thucydides

  8. #28
    rebmeM roineS enilnOitnA steve.milner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Originally posted here by catch
    Edit to add: So what if this is above a "normal" user's head, how are they supposed to learn? never be pressed to think and just fall into the habbits of the flock?
    It is important that "normal" user is catered for, since they constitute the bulk of users connecting to the public network.

    I won't make one jot of difference if a small number of 'very secure' sites are fine and dandy if there is no network bandwidth available to do anything useful with beacuase 99.9% of the networked computer base is sending volumes of crap down the line!

    We must help the "normal" user as well as advancing the field with more detailed and theoretical discussions.

    Perhaps a more responsible reply would have been along the lines of...

    "While an easy to configure firewall can provide some basic security for the inexperienced user, better security can be obtained by....."

    Cover's more bases perhaps.

    While I would never question your security expertise, catch, I would ask you to consider that your audience here has a wide variety of ability, not only in the security arena, but the general computing arena.

    IT, e-commerce, Retail, Programme & Project Management, EPoS, Supply Chain and Logistic Services. Yorkshire. http://www.bigi.uk.com

  9. #29
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Snohomish WA
    okay.....I actually have an opinion on this post. Lets see if I can express it.

    Kruptos said:
    no one knows whos going to target what or when........the best bet is to stay ever vigalent in your security practices.
    I think this pretty much sums it up. Maybe most people who already know what they're doing will attack a major target/company. But, where did those people learn???
    How many people here at this site have downloaded and played with a port scanner?
    Guess what, lets say your IP happens to be in the range covered by a random port scan....if you have a firewall chances are you won't show up as anything special....without a firewall (at the very least xp's firewall) then you may stand out as having more open ports....making you a prime target for practicing newbies and script kidies.

    Instronics said:
    Group B: Firewalls are not needed, its much better to just shut down all the ports that are in state 'LISTEN' and to make sure that user permissions are setup in a way that noone can install anything on the system. Keep the system clean, shut down all non needed services, and make sure that you never download anything which you are not 100000% sure of what it is.... Make sure that no hidden background application can be triggered in opening a port upon a certain TCP protocol, and make sure to have an uptodate AV. Make sure that you get a password prompt every 20 seconds to annoy you. Etc.....
    Ports?? 'LISTEN'? permissions? services? background application? opening a port? TCP protocol????
    I'm not questioning the validity of the statement, only trying to point out that the number of things a newbie will need to define/understand are numerous....it may be simpler just to install a simple firewall (zonealarm. norton's internet security, tiny).

    Not only would this provide a certain measure of protection against your common port scan, it also gives the newbie a chance to learn about the terms mentioned by Instronics.

    Take for example the MSBlast worm....how many newbies without firewalls spent countless hours trying to figure out how to keep their box online long enough to find a solution? I myself was amongst those. If I'd had my firewall installed, I probobally wouldn't of had to spend hours (60 seconds at a time) online trying to google for a solution.

    As a newbie....I would suggest running some sort of firewall (at least the one included in XP....it's already there, might as well use it.)

    If you want to make God laugh....make plans.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Don't enough other people her address the normal user?

    I don't want to be a pompus whatever and be like "this advice is only for advanced users" because well back when I first got into computers I always got the most correct adive, not whatever someone else felt was at my level. If what I was told was over my head at the time, it was time to start asking questions and reading.

    You might say that the average person doesn't want to become a security expert, and I agree with that, however what is the tagline for this site? "Maximum Security for a Connected World" if they want basic good enough advice, there are a zillion other generic computer help sites.


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