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Router Question

by jlippincott / March 27, 2007 11:54 AM PDT

I was losing my internet connection so I took my computer in for service. The tech installed a new ethernet card and told me also that my firewall (I was using the free Comodo firewall) was causing me to lose my internet connection. He suggested installing a router instead so I purchased and installed a Netgear wireless router. The box says it provides double furewall security and is that really true? Will this be alot better then a normal firewall? Also, is there a way to stop that annoying "You don't have a firewall message installed" everytime I turn on my computer????

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Router Question
by Stan Chambers / March 27, 2007 12:48 PM PDT
In reply to: Router Question

Even though you have a hardware firewall (router), it's still a good idea to have a software firewall install. I use ZoneAlarm free version.
It's one of the better ones you can get, and it's free.
To stop the annoying notifications, go to the control panel in xp, open
security center, click (bottom link on left) "change the way security center alerts me" uncheck the firewall option. I uncheck all options.

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Thanks For The Info
by jlippincott / March 27, 2007 1:12 PM PDT
In reply to: Router Question

Thanks for the info!!!! Like I said the tech did some checking on my computer and found the firewall to be causing my problem. I use to use Zone Alarm but after an update to the program last year it caused problems on my computer so I had to stop using it. I tried it again 2 weeks ago but still had the same problem.

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Its Grayed Out
by jlippincott / March 27, 2007 1:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Router Question

That option you suggested in windows security is grayed out so it doesn't let me click on it to change anything!!!!

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Fixed It
by jlippincott / March 27, 2007 1:24 PM PDT
In reply to: Its Grayed Out

I fixed the problem!!!!

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What it probably means
by jackson dougless / March 27, 2007 1:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Router Question

Early on in the days of consumer level routers, many companies would claim that NAT (Network Address Translation) is a firewall. It's not, but it can have some firewall-like effects, such as stopping direct connections to your computer.

These days, virtually every router has a firewall as a standard feature of the firmware, though I wouldn't put it past a few companies to still try and milk the NAT angle.

Truth be told, there is NO added benefit to multiple firewalls. The other poster is sadly mistaken. More than one firewall just adds to the overall complexity of things, while adding next to nothing in regards to security. There might be a few odd uses for a software firewall, such as an early warning system for malware, but I find it easier to just avoid programs with malware issues, like Internet Explorer, and thus avoid the malware itself. You've got to love solutions that are elegant in their simplicity like that.

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by jlippincott / March 27, 2007 1:24 PM PDT
In reply to: What it probably means

Thanks for the input!!!! That back of my router box says that it has DOUBLE FIREWALL SECURITY (NAT Firewall and SPI firewall). When I scanned my computer at SHIELDS UP it said that all my ports were in STEALTH.

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As I thought
by jackson dougless / March 27, 2007 11:32 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

Also, the Shields Up program, and everything else contained on that site, is better off being ignored. The guy behind it is in no way a security expert, and is actually a continual source of both amusement and frustration among security experts. Amusement from the half-baked ideas and conspiracy theories he comes up with, and frustration from the fact that people actually listen to him and think he has a clue.

Just remember, NAT is in no way a proper substitute for a firewall. And just because you have "stealth" ports does NOT in any way mean you're safe from attack. Those two things will go a long ways to keeping you safe on the Internet.

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NAT alone will ...
by Edward ODaniel / March 27, 2007 11:33 PM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

make the testing show ports as "stealthed".

An advantage of a software firewall in addition to your router is that YOU can elect to allow or disallow apps on your computer from "calling home" more easily than learning to properly configure the hardware firewall your router might have.

Don't let anyone tell you that there is no benefit to a software firewall as an additional layer of security and defense because anyone doing so clearly doesn't understand security nor firewalls.

You can bypass the NAT "stealthing" by configuring your router's DMZ to allow direct connect to your PC (yet another very good and valid reason for a software firewall).

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by Hollow06 / March 28, 2007 3:14 AM PDT
In reply to: NAT alone will ...

Which basically means ur as wide open as a $20 hooker if you dont' know how to properly set-up ur router, or you descide to play with it.

Did the IT actually recommend the rounter? How many comps do you have?

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One Computer
by jlippincott / March 28, 2007 3:22 AM PDT
In reply to: neat

Only have one computer and the tech at Compusa, support for Roadrunner and the tech who all worked on my computer all suggested
using a router.

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Testing Your Router
by jlippincott / March 28, 2007 3:48 AM PDT
In reply to: neat

How would you go about testing your router to see how secure it is?
Also, if I need to use another firewall would the Windows firewall be fine to use along with the router?
In regards to software firewalls I've had some problems with them.
Also, if I did install another software firewall I don't know which one to use. I used Zone Alarm for years until last year when I had to stop using it because an update to the firewall caused it to bog down my computer. I tried it again this year and still had the same problem. I then switched to the Sunbelt Keiro firewall but had problems with that as well with a software update. I really liked the free Comodo firewall but the tech that worked on my computer for my losing connection problem did tested and found that that firewall was causing me to lose the connection.

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I dunno
by jackson dougless / March 28, 2007 5:20 AM PDT
In reply to: NAT alone will ...

I tend to find it easier to just avoid the problematic programs rather than have one more program I have to keep track of.

It's not even that hard to do. You just replace Internet Explorer with either Firefox or Opera, discontinue all use of P2P file sharing programs, use freeware programs in place of pirated, and make sure you keep up with security patches. Using a one program instead of another requires no additional effort after installation, not using a program requires no effort at all. You can also spend less time bothering with malware removers this way.

You focus your efforts on reacting to problems after the fact, while I try to prevent the problems from ever occurring in the first place. I won't ever be able to predict everything, but unlike you, I only have to worry about the things I didn't predict. Also unlike you, I will likely have more resources at my disposal to deal with problems I failed to predict, and once I've learned how to deal with a problem, I can put preventative measures in place.

Personally, I don't like to wait around for someone to mug me, and then hope the cops can catch the person and get my money back. I'm going to do my best to avoid areas and situations with a high probability of my getting mugged.

Don't let anyone tell you that relying on software firewall to alert you to problems is a good idea because anyone doing so clearly doesn't understand security.

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ZoneAlarm as traffic cop and diagnostic
by linkit / March 28, 2007 6:32 AM PDT
In reply to: I dunno

You do make very good points, and I totally agree that prevention is better than searching for the cure.

One thing I like about ZoneAlarm (free) is the extra line of defense that it provides. I know, I know--don't install questionable or risky software, but that's only part of it. Many install "trusted" software from good companies (Microsoft, Apple, Real, Quicken, etc.) but sometimes don't catch that the program phones home frequently. Sometimes this is buried or not even mentioned in the sofware manual/description/EULA.

A problem arises when you have multiple programs phoning home at startup or at another time when you need the bandwidth or CPU resources for something else. I see ZA as a valuable tool that tells me when a program, trusted or otherwise, attempts to do this automatically. At that point, I know I must reconfigure the offending program or uninstall it.

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Not a concern for me
by jackson dougless / March 29, 2007 9:04 AM PDT

I'm not concerned about programs that "phone home" so long as it's not of the malware variety. Ideally it wouldn't happen, but I figure there are far more important things for me to be worrying about. And if it seems particularly bothersome, I'll find a replacement program for whatever it is.

I get that other people will have different opinions on that matter, and that's fine. I know people here like to try and vilify those with dissenting views, like Mr. O'Daneil below, but I try and be respectful of people's right to have different opinions. While I reserve the right to disagree with someone's opinions, I never say that a person isn't entitled to them.

I'll just say that ZoneAlarm isn't exactly the great savior you're making it out to be, if the goal is to reduce CPU time. ZoneAlarm is taking up CPU time on top of these programs, which are still trying to "phone home", ZoneAlarm doesn't alter their behavior in any way, they're just having their communications blocked. It's a personal choice either way, I've just decided there are other things that deserve my attention over that. I'm then sharing that opinion with others, so that they get a different viewpoint. One that isn't coming from the fanboy brigade. You can't really make an informed decision until you've heard multiple sides of an issue.

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Ideally, a lot of things wouldn't happen...
by linkit / March 29, 2007 10:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Not a concern for me

...but they do for the vast majority of users who aren't gurus.

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Very true
by jackson dougless / March 29, 2007 10:59 AM PDT

Which is why I borrowed and adapted some rather simple things people can do to reduce their risk. It may not be possible to eliminate the risk, but you can do some simple things that can be done to lower it significantly.

One of my favorite analogies I heard somewhere long ago, is that you don't need to be a master mechanic to do simple things like check fluid levels, and maybe change the oil, on your car. Making sure fluid levels remain sufficiently high, and the oil is changed regularly, will go a long ways to making sure your car will be in good working order for a long time.

A somewhat less American analogy might be that in order to stay in good health, it's useful to eat properly and get some exercise. It doesn't mean having to become an olympic class athlete and swearing off all forms of junk food.

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My Netgear Router
by PudgyOne / March 28, 2007 6:48 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

has a SPI firewall, I canno find a NAT Firewall. I use Zone Alarm(FREE version) for my firewall and have the Windows Firewall disabled. I have un-installed Internet Explorer 7 and went back to IE 6. I use Mozilla Firefox with NoScript feature and Sheilds up shows that all ports are in Stealth.

As for my connection, I use Verizon DSL and the Westell Modem/router used the same ip as the Netgear one. I had to go to the LAN settings and change the ip address on the Netgear router to No more conflicts and I connect great.


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NAT firewalls
by glennlee / March 29, 2007 12:20 PM PDT
In reply to: My Netgear Router

I also have a Netgear router (WGR614) and the specs claim SPI (stateful packet inspection) firewall and DoS (denial of service) firewalls. Even though it does not tout NAT (network address translation) firewall as a feature, it has this, as do most routers. Routers provide at least 4 internet connections on a private network assigning private internet addresses internally. I has one public IP address that communicates with the public internet. The router is set up to respond to only those packets from the public internet at the public IP address that have been requested by the private addresses within the private network. This prevents any unsolicited packets from the public internet from getting through to the private internet addresses, and as such, becomes a form of "de facto" firewall. Since most routers have this feature, and it's firewall protection is somewhat incidental to the nature of the private network setup, Netgear has modestly not claimed it as a specific feature. For details on the mechanics of SPI and DoS firewalls, look them up on Wikipedia or Google.

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