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Firewall Help

By prestwood_32 ·
I am looking for a firewall for my personal laptop. Please understand that I am new to the "firewall scene" and really know nothing about them or really, their purpose on a computer. I was told that I needed one after a bad virus attack.

Anyone care to fill in a newbie?

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Purpose of a firewall

by JamesRL In reply to Firewall Help

A firewall in a car is the barrier between the engine compartment, with its heat and potential for disaster, and the passengers.

A computer firewall is something to insult either a user, or a network, from users on another network - most often its the internet.

There are "software" firewalls, and hardware firewalls. A hardware firewall is a dedicated device. Some of them can be found on low end DSL or Cable Routers. Larger organizations use dedicated hardware firewalls.

A software firewall trys to do the same job -essentially block unauthorised access from outside - but it runs on your own PC. This does make it more vulnerable. But you can get some decent software firewalls for free. Microsoft includes one with XP service pack 2, but its not the best. Zone Alarm is good, others here will have their preferences.


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After Firewall, need Anti-Virus

by jdclyde In reply to Purpose of a firewall

A firewall will NOT stop most viruses. This will keep people from scanning you looking for vulnerabilities and keep people locked out.

Get yourself a good Anti-Virus. Update it every few days, and run the scan just as often. Have Real-time scan on. Takes some of your resources, but worth it if your on the web and don't want to keep reloading your system every few weeks.

Also, get a spyware scanner/remover.

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by apotheon In reply to After Firewall, need Anti ...

It's true that you should have some kind of firewall protection. For a mobile system, a software "personal firewall" is probably appropriate if you're running Windows. If you're running some variation of Linux, you can simply define iptables protection: that functionality is installed by default with almost every (modern) Linux distribution in existence, though how it is configured most easily might vary from one distribution to the next.

For virus protection, as jdclyde mentioned, you need some kind of anti-virus solution. On Windows, I recommend AVG from and available for free (for personal use), and/or ClamWin from and also available for free (for any use, personal or otherwise). On any Unixlike system (including Linux), antivirus software is typically unnecessary, though ClamAV is available on Linux/Unix systems (and is, in fact, the AV solution on which ClamWin is based).

The three spyware/adware protection tools I use and recommend most often for Windows systems are Spybot Search and Destroy (, Ad-Aware (, and Bazooka Adware and Spyware Scanner ( There are a few other good products available, as well, but you should be careful about what you use: there are also a lot of harmful or useless programs that are misrepresented as effective spyware and adware blocking software.

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Well my recomendation would be

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Firewall Help

Sygate for a software firewall.
AVG as an anti virus
and Spybot S&amp for ad/malware.
All have free personal versions.
When your firewall asks you if you want to let something through. read the question before you click yes. Seems obvious but you'd be amazed at how many don't bother.
Then they say my firewall is broken !
Essentally any program that wants to access your computer over the internet and any program on your computer that wants to access the network, gets told NO. If you click yes then as far as that particular program is concerned there is no firewall.
Don't be scared to click No, until you are sure you want it to happen, you can change your mind and let it through next time.
Disaster strikes when you allow access to the internet when you shouldn't have not the other way round.

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by deepsand In reply to Well my recomendation wou ...

Re. Spy Bot Search & Destroy, be sure to make use of the options available via the Advanced setting, and activate the Tea Timer resident shield.

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by deepsand In reply to Well my recomendation wou ...

Re. Spy Bot Search & Destroy, be sure to make use of the options available via the Advanced setting, and activate the Tea Timer resident shield.

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My two pennies.

by mrafrohead In reply to Firewall Help

I hands down agree with what the other three guys have said. But here's my twist on it.

Firewall - protect your box from intruders. Not from virii...

A/V - will protect you from virii, but won't keep others out.

If you want to go with the free products that were listed previously, those will work for you just fine.

Although, I really like my Norton. I would recommend Norton Internet Security 2005 if you have a newer computer. At least a 2ghz machine. Otherwise it will slow your box down to nothing.

NIS 2005 has a firewall which is autoupdated, intrusion detection and comes with anti-virus. It is all auto-updated and very easy to configure.

I would recommend going through the advanced settings also and configuring it to your liking. If you don't know what you're looking at it has relatively good explanations within the help file.

Also, Spybot AND Ad-Aware 1.05SE to keep out spy/malware.

If you follow those simple practices and keep your windoze updated, you should be good. Also, practice safe surfing. Stay out of the pr0n sites. Stay out of the warez sites. Don't click on links that you aren't sure of, and don't open attachments that you weren't expecting, EVEN if they came from a friend. If you weren't expecting it, contact your friend and ask if they sent it first. If they did, you're golden, if not, you probably just saved yourself a format.


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not entirely correct

by dhoyt In reply to My two pennies.

Firewalls prevent unwanted programs and hackers from getting into your system, viruses are different and a firewall alone will not stop them.
A good firewall will come with anti-virus, anti-spam, banner blocker and ad-ware rejection. If one wants a good firewall with all the features, check out WinProxy by Blue Coat and compare with Norton, AVG Zone Alarm and McAfee and you will find that for the same price (maybe less) you get more product for your money. It is also a professional level hardware firewall

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by deepsand In reply to not entirely correct

Since when is "anti-virus, anti-spam, banner blocker and ad-ware rejection" a firewall function? They are not.
In fact, your 2nd paragraph, which contains this statement, contradicts your 1st paragraph, which correctly states that "viruses are different and a firewall alone will not stop them."
A firewall, whether hardware or software, has no awareness of what is happened at the top of the stack, i.e. at the application level, where is where malware lives.

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yeah . . .

by apotheon In reply to Huh???

That kinda confused me, too.

How's this: A good operating system will come with firewall and antivirus functionality, as well as protection from adware, spyware, and other malware, as optional security measures for no additional cost. Luckily, such an OS exists. Several such OSes exist, in fact, including various Linux distributions and other unices (like FreeBSD, for instance).

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