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Should I Get A Firewall???

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Nancy in Friday Harbor

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
Hi All,

Am currently hooked to the internet through a "Netgear Cable/DSL Web Safe Router". The new Dell desktop w/XP, the old Gateway desktop w/W98SE (for backup) and the Gateway laptop (W98SE) are all networked through this router. My techie told me this was all that I would need to be absolutely safe.

Also am religious about updating Norton AV and running a full scan at least once a week. Have been hit twice this week with the new "klez" worm as an attachment to emails -- and reading the descriptions on ZDnet makes one nervous.

Both Norton and Gibson Research, which do "shield" tests report that I'm vulnerable to web sites being able to see my browser history and to data being able to leave the computer.

OK, so what to do. I am NOT well versed in this techno stuff, in fact most of it sounds Greek to me.

Do I need a separate software type firewall?

If I do, which one do you recommend?

I already have Norton System Works 2002 on the new computer (the old one won't run with XP). What do you think of Norton Personal Firewall?

I've read where some of you have had real problems with Zone Alarm.

If I get additional firewall protection, do I install it on all three computers? If yes, does that mean I have to get more than one program: one for the W98SE 'puters and the other for XP?

Any and all information you can offer is appreciated. These things are a tool to me--I'm an appraiser, not a computer guru. But I know a lot of you have a great deal of knowledge (remember Julio fixing my printer problem when Dell & HP could't?).

Have a great weekend! Thanks again and I remain,

Baffled in Friday Harbor aka Nancy Clifton
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
Nancy,

I run a Lynksys Router (firewall) it is great no problems with it no one knows that my computer is on the internet. I have tested a couple of sites that will test to see accessability through hacker attacks and they have all stated that my computer does not exist or is running in stealth mode. Would not have it any other way.

Ryan
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Do I need a separate software type firewall?

If I do, which one do you recommend?

YES!!! You need one.
Use the free one from ZoneAlarm. It simple and will (in most cases) not give you any problems. Most of the complaints were about the Paid version of Zone Alaram I believe. It offers additional features which most folks dont really need in my opinion.

Zone Alarm home page
Download it at Cnet
 

Wally Jones

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Florida
Nancy,

By all means get firewall protection. Most personal systems don't interest the average hacker, but it only takes one time of losing all your data to take all the fun out of your day. I've used Norton Personal Firewall for two years with no problems (I'm still running Windows 98). As Ryan noted, I test the system often and my system appears to be invisible. You need someone with more "WINtelligengce" than I to talk about the networking factor.

Get protection and good luck!

Wally
 

Jeff Horton

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Alabama
Wally your partially right. Most hacker that looking for data dont want a personal computer. But hacker thats looking to Knock Down web sites by flooding them with data love computers on HighSpeed Access. Once they get a trojan horse or something like that in your computer then they can control your internet connection and use it send data to the site they want to flood. Overloading the server and causing it to go off line or make it unaccessable to everyone else.

If your interesting go to Gibson Research and look for the link on the denial of service attack on him. Its a pretty Geeky read but it is facinating to learn about the world of hacking and how he broke into their (the hackers) sites and learned about how they work.
 

Nancy in Friday Harbor

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
Ryan, Jeff & Wally,

Thank you for you input.

The DSL router is a firewall and, according to Gibson Research and Norton, I am invisible on the internet. But, also according to them, I am vulnerable to a web site I'm connected to gaining access and looking at/pulling data off my machine. Like there's a back door into MY computer.
Since so many of these "spam" type emails automatically connect you to a web site, I'm wondering if I really am vulnerable. And you can't delete an email message without clicking on it--which opens at least the message--and connects you to that website.

So, am I really vulnerable or are Norton/Gibson are just trying to sell me another piece of $49.95 software?

Nancy
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
Nancy, are your other computers networked, or individually linked to your dls/cable access? If they are networked, a firewall correctly set up on the main server should do it.

Like Jeff, I use the free version of Zone Alarm with no problems. The router helps, but as you know, you may still be available for pilfering through the cable or dls connection with out a firewall.
 

Nancy in Friday Harbor

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Washington
Uh, Mel?

The questions you asked just went past the end of my computer knowledge. All three computers are plugged into the DSL router box which is plugged into the DSL box from the phone company.

Server? I don't think so.....just three separate computers plugged into the router. No networking cards or "Laplink" --- just a data cable with a funny looking plug, sorta like a telephone plug but bigger.

So is this "backdoor" thing a problem or just marketing hype?

Nancy
 

Mountain Man

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Georgia
With the router, a hacker would have to know your IP address and know that your computer was on. So the chances are minimal that someone would find you, but possible. Since your computers are not networked, I would install the firewall on each computer that was online. The free version of a firewall should be fine.

Try downloading the free version from the net. But rather than "running the program from the site", "save it as" somewhere on your computer where you would remeber to find it. Then save that program on a zip disk or CD and down load it on each unit. On each unit, open the file and click on the exec. command. The program should prompt you, and walk you through it.
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
Nancy,

As I understand you allready have a router. As Jeff points out the hacker would have to know that your computer(s) are on and what the web IP address is. Even then they may not be able to access your machine. M. Pointed out some good information the free version should work fine for you since the chances of even getting a hacker would be very slim. I would be more inclined that you would have a virus on your machine before a hacker would actually be able to get into your computers.

Ryan
 
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