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So mad at ZoneLabs I could spit

by jaliw / December 13, 2006 1:58 PM PST

My ZoneAlarm Pro subscription ran out so I updated it today... was offered the Security Suite at the same price so I took it, figuring ZoneAlarm has always worked for me....

Now I cannot access the internet, the system freezes if I open the monitor for my wireless G connector, it hangs interminably for other unknown reasons, I cannot use system restore to undo the installation. The router and loopback connector were both in the trusted zone, the browser/DSL software had rights to the internet, and the network worked fine--just couldn't log onto the DSL.
ZoneLabs does not offer live chat or phone support with paid subscription. I did get a reply to my email with the suggestion that I open the ZoneAlarm control and 'remove any program with a red x on it'. When I attempted to do that the program said not to do it because I could crash the system. Searching the ZoneLabs forums did not help.

I finally uninstalled the ZoneLab security suite and attempted to connect to the internet again, this time it logged in fine--but I don't want to be without a firewall.

The system is WinXP, networked and connected to a DSL modem through a router. The DSL is AT&T Yahoo, security suite disabled because until today I had ZoneAlarm that was working fine. I have AVG and WinPatrol.

I lost a whole day today trying to get my computer to work again after installing ZoneLabs Security suite, and I don't have high hopes for tomorrow. It's just crashing/freezing six ways to Sunday. Anyone have any suggestions?

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Just use the router
by an.echte.trilingue / December 13, 2006 8:12 PM PST

Your router probably has a hardware firewall built in that you can configure and use. This is free to you and probably much better than a software firewall on your box. Why don't you just use it instead?

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Router hardware sufficient?
by jaliw / December 14, 2006 12:36 AM PST
In reply to: Just use the router

My router hardware doesn't seem to give me any program control, just the basic security of mac address and WEP. I don't know if it would tell me about programs with overactive internet interests.

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Program control does not matter
by an.echte.trilingue / December 14, 2006 4:52 AM PST

Let preface this by saying that I think you should do what makes you feel safe, and this is just my opinion.

The feature that many firewalls have that they block internet traffic on a program-by program basis is entirely useless. You will rarely, if ever, see this kind of thing on a professionally managed computer for this reason.

The reason is that a well-written piece of malware can simply circumvent any software firewall.

The purpose of a firewall is to block unauthorized incoming traffic. This means that even if you have a vulnerable service configured to listen to the internet, the OS still will not accept connections on that port. The functionality to control outbound traffic was added later on so that companies selling firewalls could give home users the impression that the software they just paid for actually does something tangible. However, a software firewall is run by your OS, and your OS can override anything it does. A well written piece of malware runs very low in the OS, and can simply direct the OS to turn off the firewall without telling the firewall software it has done this.

In short, once you have malware, the jig is up and your firewall is useless for controlling any kind of traffic, in or outbound. For things that are not malware that you do not want to send traffic to the internet, such as quicktime player, it is better to simply configure them not to send traffic to the internet. Assuming your computer is clean, a software firewall is fine for protecting from outside attacks, but a hardware firewall is probably better because it will continue to function even if the machine behind it gets infected.

And, assuming your router does not have a firewall, a hardware firewall at about 20

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Ditto
by santuccie / December 28, 2006 7:54 AM PST

This guy is right. Since the close of the millennium, firewalls have become more IDS than anything, which won't stop a worm from barging right on through.

While most software firewalls have simple packet filters that check headers, hackers have known for awhile how to spoof them. You need a firewall with stateful inspection (dynamic packet filtering) that actually inspects the content of those packets, to make sure they were solicited by you.

NetVeda Safety.Net is the best choice, as it offers industrial-strength protection for free. However, you have to be technically savvy to set it up, or know someone who is Happy

Otherwise, if you can afford $40 per year to protect your machine, I would recommend ISS BlackICE. It's easy to setup, and it takes inventory of your applications when you first install it. This is the firewall that Windows hackers actually use.

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(NT) Just use the free ZA.
by Coryphaeus / December 13, 2006 9:32 PM PST
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Update on problem
by jaliw / December 14, 2006 2:56 AM PST

Uninstalled and reinstalled ZoneLabs Security Suite. This time I'm not getting as many crashes and freezes. The first internet connection went fine, but after about 15 minutes the connection failed, web pages won't load any more, and I can't sign out. Restarted computer, DSL wouldn't connect at all. This is getting really frustrating.

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Finally solved it
by jaliw / December 15, 2006 3:32 AM PST

I finally tracked it down using the log of program alerts and firewall alerts. Just wish the zonealarm "tech support" had suggested that. I'm still not happy with the unsupport provided, but after 3 days of fighting with it the firewall is working fine.

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