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Hi, i run mc afee personal firewall and i have noticed that the software reports that it has blocked ICMP pings, usually about 60 per day. what are ICMP pings and are they dangerous and should i be concerned that some are not being blocked? what should i do?

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In reply to: ICMP Ping

There are plenty of harmless reasons you'd be getting ping requests, and also plenty of reasons that might indicate a potential threat.

There are 3 basic networking protocols used on the Internet... ICMP, UDP, and TCP, each one builds on the previous one. ICMP is really only used to "ping" another computer. This is a handy tool to be able to tell if a computer is running and connected to the network. It can also be a handy tool for people looking to launch automated attacks.

Generally speaking, it's best to have these requests "dropped", meaning the firewall doesn't respond at all to ping requests. To a bot looking for "live" IP addresses to try and hack into, this makes your computer seem invisible. It's less likely to fool an actual person hacker, but few of those exist.

If they aren't all being blocked, then you'll want to figure out what IPs are being allowed through. It's probably something to do with the automatic update system, but always good to keep a watchful eye on these things. You should be able to use a whois program or site to figure out who the IP address(es) are registered to. If it's something you recognize, it's probably nothing to worry about. If you DON'T recognize it, then you might want to start looking into the possibility that your system has been compromised.

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auto updates

In reply to: Depends

thanks for your advice. i must admit that i have a number of auto update options that i have turned on. what i would like to find out is does switching on updates from 'reputable' software publishers such as microsoft or some other publishers safe? or would you advice i switch all of them off?

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let me give you an example of what is being reported

In reply to: Depends

2007/01/11 20:13:42 ( IDS: 'NewTear' Attack
2007/01/11 20:13:39 ( IDS: 'NewTear' Attack
2007/01/11 20:13:36 ( IDS: 'NewTear' Attack
2007/01/11 20:13:33 ( IDS: 'NewTear' Attack
etc...etc.. it just keeps going on and on.
when i use the service, this is what i get..
Kopibeskyttet, se
Rights restricted by copyright. See
no matches

i was using skype at the time this was logged by mc afee, can it be a contributer?

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Looks like

In reply to: let me give you an example of what is being reported

Looks to me like you're just being probed by a bot that's looking for a way in. If you keep up to date on your Windows Update patches, there should be minimal risk. Also make sure your firewall is set not to respond to ICMP requests.

There's not a lot else you can do besides the usual. Make sure you ONLY open ports on the firewall that you have to. Avoid using Internet Explorer, Outlook/Outlook Express, pirated and file sharing programs, etc. Should also probably mention that using MS Word can be a bit dangerous these days, with 3 actively exploited security issues that are presently unpatched. MS Office apps are increasingly being targeted, so it might not be a bad time to change over to OpenOffice or something else.

Skype is kind of a wildcard program. It uses methods to force its way through firewalls, so it's impossible to secure. Any exploits for Skype could compromise your entire system.

However, the log snippets you provided just look like the firewall reporting that it detected and blocked this suspicious activity, like it's supposed to do. Probably wouldn't hurt to do a complete scan of your system using an online virus scanner like the one from Housecall. Then also run the virus scanner on your system, and I'd also run a few spyware scanners as well. After all that, get your hands on a copy of Rootkit revealer, and let it run. You shouldn't have more than a couple of entries related to your virus scanner. If all of those things come up clean, you should be able to rest easy.

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