Computer Firewalls

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Chat' started by Farmer Giles, Sep 16, 2004.

  1. Farmer Giles

    Farmer Giles Member

    hi all

    does anyone know a good firewall program ?

    i've just found out that someone has had access to my machine, so i need to get one.

    i've heard Zone Alarm is supposed to be quite good.

  2. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Yea my dad uses Zone Alarm at home... very errrrr, effective....!
  3. Bluebottle

    Bluebottle Member

    in very simple words, what is a firewall? i think we need to get a new one but i'm not sure! help!

  4. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    Zone alarm is quite good, not too expensive.
    You should scan your computer regularly with spyware programs such as ad-aware also to ensure that there are no hidden nasties.
  5. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    A firewall is a program (or sometimes a piece of hardware on large networks) that blocks access through the communications ports on your computer. Most firewalls have settings which allow trusted programs or machines in, but keep out everyone else. A good firewall will also block outgoing traffic, which can help stop the spread of virus and trojan horse programs.

    There is much more of this going on than most people realize. The firewall on my home system blocks an average of over 800 attempts a day, and sometimes in excess of 2000.

    The three minimum components for a reasonably safe system are a good virus scanner, a firewall, and a spy/adware blocker. Make sure that you keep your definitions up to date also, because having out-of-date protection software may be more dangerous than having nothing at all.
  6. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    See the latest thread in the tMP Library for some useful downloads that all help to protect and keep your PC clean of nasties...
  7. Jan H

    Jan H Moderator Staff Member

    On the Internet, your computer is like a house with many, many doors. These doors are colled "ports". One of these ports will be used for http-traffic (normal surfing), another port for incoming e-mail, another for outgoing e-mail and so one. In fact, there are several 1000's of these ports defined by the internet-protocol. Some of these ports are just spare ones, but somehow they may sometimes be used by malicious programs or viruses. It's like leaving your doors open at night, while you know that there are hundreds of thieves walking around in town...

    Using a firewall is like putting a guard at all of these doors. The firewall will control and coordinate access to all ports. Some ports can be blocked completely, or you can decide which programs are allowed to use which ports. You can also log which programs or try to use which ports (for programs that are installed on your PC) and also which other PC's try to connect to your PC trough some ports.

    Most professional firewall software is quite complicated, because you need to do a lot of finetuning of the settings. But ZoneAlarm tries to make it as simple as possible, although it is still usefull to basically understand what a firewall does before you start using the software.
  8. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    Zonealarm is the best of the freeware ones. I use McAfee on the PC and also have a hardware firewall in the ADSL router. A bit of overkill but I'm a Celtic fan so I'm allowed to be paranoid. If you have a broadband ADSL connection then maybe your best solution would be to buy and ADSL router with a built in firewall. I use a netgear DG834M, great little router and very effective firewall too. One of the benefits of this solution is that you can also use other network equipment which might not normally be protected e.g. games console.
  9. Farmer Giles

    Farmer Giles Member

    many thanks all.

    i have been meaning to investigate the router option, but just haven't got round to it.

  10. Fridge

    Fridge Member

    Well if your a bit of a geek build yourself a bogstandard machine with two NICs goto and make your own router/firewall with complete control! 9 out of 10 nerds recommend it :) And even better the s/w is FREE!
  11. jimortality

    jimortality Member

    I use Macafee, which comes free with AOL. I also have a modem router (ADSL Zoom X5) with a built in firewall.
  12. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    ... and as I haven't seen you on MSN for a wee while Jim I assume you are still having those issues in it not letting you access MSN eh...??

    Anyone have any ideas as to how to help Jim here? He has the setup above, but cannot access MSN.
  13. mikelyons

    mikelyons Supporting Member

    My router apparently has 2 firewalls and I alsoi have Macafee, but I have no probs with msn.

    I'm not paranoid, but I know that hundreds of attempts have been made to attack my home network as well as hijacking my email address. There are evil people out there.
  14. jimortality

    jimortality Member

    I can't access MSN anymore but I can get Yahoo messenger, strange! it's to do with the port access but I'm just glad I can now play Xbox online with my new router, so I'm not too bothered about MSN. If there is anyone that can help me with my ports, then great but not too wory if not.


    Jim Brailsford

    Ransome Band

    ps John, are you on YAhoo at all??
  15. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    No Jim, I'm not sorry. I do believe there is an application out there somewher ecalled trillian I believe, that allows cross-viewing of all instant messengers (IM's). Here's their www site >

    i.e. using it you can talk to people on Yahoo, AOL, MSN etc all from within the same application.

    Can someone validate this for me please...:tup
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2004
  16. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Yes Trillion allows you to talk with msn, aol, yahoo etc.... But you still need to be signed onto all of these services... it's just in one window as opposed to 4/5 separate messenger services :)
  17. jimortality

    jimortality Member

    That seems to be the problem, I can't sign in to MSN so I wouldn't be able to use Trillium.
  18. johnmartin

    johnmartin Active Member

    I'm prepared for all the ubergeeks out there to shoot me down but I'm sure I read somewhere that certain firewall software automatically closes the port that MSN talks on because it was the target of an internet worm at some point in the recent past. I'l do a bit of research and find out some more.

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