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Looking to turn an old computer in to a firewall for my home

by PRUVEIT / July 6, 2005 12:58 PM PDT

Some time ago I saw a site talking about turning an old computer in to a firewall to better protect your home or office network. I would be using it for my home.
If I remember correctly, the old computer resides between your cable/dsl connection and your router/hub(s).
Thank you for any assistance.

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JP, Some Links...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 6, 2005 1:38 PM PDT
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(NT) (NT) Grif. Thank you that's what I was looking for.--JP
by PRUVEIT / July 6, 2005 1:47 PM PDT
In reply to: JP, Some Links...
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(NT) (NT) JP, Glad It Helped !
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 6, 2005 1:59 PM PDT
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Thanks. I will see if someone can help me.
by Carol77garr / July 8, 2005 2:37 AM PDT
In reply to: JP, Some Links...

About the Linus & a used computer. I don't want to go to all that bother. Never dreamed it would take that much work. Thanks.

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Carol, Other Types Of Firewalls Are Available...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 8, 2005 2:51 AM PDT

You don't really mention your requirements in your response but if you just looking for a hardware firewall, there are "simpler" ways to do so...There are lots of new broadband gateways/routers which have firewalls or NAT included...If you don't happen to have an old used computer around, that's problably the easiest way to proceed.

Hope this helps.


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Thanks for responding
by Carol77garr / July 8, 2005 9:33 PM PDT

It has Windows '98 on it & I don't know how to hook it up since it's in another room. I don't know much about computers, except how to burn a CD or put them through disk defrag. I'm not very knowledgeable like you are. The other computer is in the d. room because I don't have enough room in here to bring it in the c. room. I'd have to know how to hook it up with this one & don't know where to hook it, etc. Thanks. Will look into this more. Carol

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Another cool solution :-)
by PatrickM / July 7, 2005 10:03 PM PDT
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Smootwall is the best
by JosePablo58 / July 8, 2005 2:44 AM PDT

I have installed Smoothwall for quite some time now and it does keep all undesireables out!
Specially the new "Smoothwall Express 2.0 is just great! Cheeres, Jos.

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About Smoothwall
by jevenew / July 9, 2005 8:25 AM PDT

I went that route just to check it out. Must have missed a day in class, because it never worked at all. Never got past the initial first few tweak pages.

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Dial up connection

I currently use an old PC with a router connected to the lan thru the routers wan port and a dial up modem to connect to the internet. My other conputers share this connection via the router. I'm using NIS 2004 and windows 2000 sp4. Is this config just as good? Are there any settings that I could change to make it more secure? I cannot get broadband here so I used an old PC to share an internet connection with all my home PCs.

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BigJohn, You Don't Say Whether...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 8, 2005 9:41 AM PDT
In reply to: Dial up connection

...the router has a firewall...If it does, then you should be fine because all computers which are connected to the router will be protected with a firewall..But generally, a software firewall isn't considered as effective as a hardware firewall...It's still OK though...

It's also not clear whether all the other computers are connected to the router separately and can connect to the net separately...or are they connected to net "through" the Windows 2000 machine through a router switch? In other words, if you disconnect the Windows 2000 machine from the router will the other computers be able to connect to the internet?

Recognize also, as it relates to the internet network, if your Windows 2000 computer is the only machine with a software firewall (NIS), then only that one will be protected inside your network. If all the other computers are connected directly to the Windows 2000 machine through the router switch then you might consider network aware viruses that can transmit to unprotected machines should a virus attack one computer . And if ALL of the machines connect directly to the net through the router, then they will need at least a software firewall as well..

Hope this helps.


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Win 2000 machine is the internet connection
by BigJohn17066 / July 8, 2005 12:42 PM PDT

The windows 2000 machine is the internet connection for all my computers. All the other computers are connected to the router (USR 8054) either directly or through an ethernet switch (USR 7908) connected to the router. The wan port of the router is connected to the win 2000 machines lan port and that machine has the dial up modem. Also, all my other machines run NIS 2005. Does my win 2000 machine need any tweaks to make for a more secure machine or is this all I need to do?
I know this setup is a slow internet connection especially if more than one person surf at a time. I just waiting for broadband to get to me here in the sticks of PA.

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BigJohn, That Will Work Fine..Unless You Want To...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 8, 2005 1:12 PM PDT

...install a hardware firewall. Since all computers are using a fireal, it should be fairly secure...Still, I would be sure to correctly set up "File and Printer Sharing" on ALL the computers...If you're not going the access the other computers or share files, then you can disable it entirely from the Network settings in Control panel..

If you are going to share files and printers on the network, then make sure that your "Sharing" permissions are correctly set. For example, on the Windows 2000 machine, since you may only want the other network machines to share the printer on the Windows 2000 machine, then ONLY share that item. Don't share the entire hard drive (C drive).

If you're going to share only some folders on the other computers, then ONLY share out those specific folders and don't share them for "Everyone". Create the share for each specific computer. Older operating systems such as Windows 98 would also allow the use of password-protected shares.

Hope this helps.


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Real life working solution
by Jadoo27 / July 8, 2005 8:02 PM PDT

DSL connection.
my system has: Pentium 3 450 / win2k sp4 / zoneAlarm 5 pro / avg free version Antivirus / freeproxy from hand crafted software.

Do not enable connection sharing of the DSL dialup connection let freeproxy handle everything.

Initially you might have irratic performance as zone alarm blocks intrusion attempts - usually between 7000 to 9000 and then after about 8 hours becomes stable.

Use private IP scheme - gateway should be / the DNS fields to be taken from what your isp is feeding the dsl modem [use ipconfig/all]

All other computers to use as the gateway. for proxy you can set the freeproxy to work on port 8080 or something like that.

Freeproxy can handle email as well and have my gmail configered via AVG through freeproxy pop3 proxy.

I switched from Norton as it eats up memory and does not catch as much virus/trojan etc plus i have to pay for it. AVG is very good and lite weight.

Always rename your administrator account to something else and also always use your internet gateway in just an account with ''user'' rights only.

Also ensure your freepoxy is always bound to your local card n ip i.e.



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