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Computer question for you all...

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
I was chatting with a coworker today who is getting Road Runner internet tomorrow. She said that they told her she needed to get a Fire Wall. When I got Road Runner back in March, they didn't say anything about it. I'm not even sure what a Fire Wall is!

She was told that she could download a free one off the Net.

Do you think I should download one? If so, any idea where I could find a free download one? I'm clueless when it comes to this stuff!
TIA!
post #2 of 26
Firewalls are a pain in the butt

We have them at work and they block certain things like for instance, I cant send files over Msn at work because of firewalls.

People cant access my FTP (where I share music) sometimes because they have a firewall.

It's supposed to be a great security protection but in my opinion is only necessary at work/business.
post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
From what I was told is that I need it since my Internet is always live. That was no one can hack into my computer.
post #4 of 26
If you need to enter a password in your computer when you reboot/start up, that is your protection right there.

That's what I have. Lots of people dont do that, which is why I can guess they say you need a firewall
post #5 of 26
Thread Starter 
I just restore everything back on to my PC last week. Now when ever I reboot, it asks for my password which I don't have. I just click ok or cancel and the screen goes away.

I think it'd be a big hassle for my folks if they had to type in a password. They barely know how to turn the machine on in the first place!
post #6 of 26
Sicy is right sometimes the fire wall can be a "pain in the butt"

I have a firewall on my computer and when I am not on here I cut the power off for the internet connection on the box. I did have a person from Sinapore(I pinged the IP address to see where it came from)try to hack into my computer while I was online about 2 months ago and the firewall stopped them. So personally I will always have a firewall on my system.

You might try finding a free firewall on ZDnet.com/downloads
post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I downloaded a free one from that site. Thankfully it's got an uninstall, so if I'm not happy with it I can get rid of it.

Thanks guys for your help!
post #8 of 26
Zone Alarm sometimes interferes with other programs, although it is a very good program. Another option is Sygate Personal Firewall, which is also free. You can get it here:

http://soho.sygate.com/products/spf_standard.htm

Just so you know, either program will ask you when you use a program to access the internet, whether you want to do that. You will have an option to allow one-time access (like when you use a program's upload now feature) or always allow it, which you would want to do with your browser, for example.

When you have cable service, if your PC is on, your on-line (unless you turn the modem off). Unless it becomes a real nuisance, you are better off running a firewall program. These are less finicky than the kind people experience at work..

If you happen to be running Windows XP, it has a built-in fire wall that you can enable in the Administrative Services control panel.
post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I've got Windows ME

So far I haven't had any issues with the firewall...yet!

Thanks again!
post #10 of 26
Great!

I think the purchased version of ZoneAlarm is the more problemmatic.
I evetually gave it up for the free Sygate version, since I had a few programs which it didnt play nicely with!

It's better to be running it than not. Better to be safe than sorry.
post #11 of 26
I have windows ME too. and I got the free firewall from Mcaffee and it slowed my computer down, boy was I pissed, but I did uninstall and now it's back up to speed. EXCEPT that comcast my broadband provided did some crappy upgrade and it affected my regular e-mail so know I'm using my backup yahoo.

Thank yahoo for free yahoo.
post #12 of 26
I have windows XP and I use the free Zone Alarm.
It never ceases to amaze me how many alarms I get. When I got cable I was told to always have a firewall.
I am computer challenged(lol) so my Son set it up for me. So far I have not had any problems with connecting or the like but, I have heard with the version you pay for it is problematic
post #13 of 26
I spend two-three houes a day sending files to people on MSN, my friends and I just share jokes & stuff. So a firewall woouldn't be ideal for me.

Good Luck w/i anyway Shell
post #14 of 26
actually, a firewall program wouldn't prevent you from sending files on Messenger or whatever, because you give the messenging program permission to access the internet. All it does in that case is log the events.

As nighteyes said, if you are on a cable modem or DSL, it is amazing to see the number of attempts made to contact your computer that come from both legitimate and unknown sources! I found that when I first installed Zone Alarm (the free one), I let it show me a pop-up window alert when an unsanctioned contact was stopped. I turned that off right away since clicking 'ok' on the alerts was becoming a pain.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally posted by Lucia
actually, a firewall program wouldn't prevent you from sending files on Messenger or whatever, because you give the messenging program permission to access the internet. All it does in that case is log the events.
Then how come sometimes when I try to send or receive files at work msn tells me that it cannot send the file because I'm behind a firewall or blocked connection
post #16 of 26
The same thing happens to me as with Sicy - at my Grandparents...
post #17 of 26
ZoneAlarm is one of the best, if not, the best free firewall. It's better than many firewalls that you have to pay for. If you're running Win ME it should work just fine and I doubt you'll have too many problems. I agree that it's necessary when you have a connection that's live all the time. ZoneAlarm is only annoying if you're actually having a lot of internet attacks or spyware on your system and you can't figure out how to make it run in the back ground without telling you every time that something tries to probe your computer.

If you are not running your computer in a network; for example, an office where each computer is linked with file and printer sharing, then you should definitely download and run a tiny tiny program called Unplug'N Pray. It's only 22kb and you only have to run it once. You can download it here: http://grc.com/unpnp/unpnp.htm Windows systems made after Win 98 leave file and printer sharing options open by default which leaves your connection bare-naked to be scanned and attacked by 24 hour hackers and spyware scumbags that slow down your computer by relaying browsing and computer habits to them before your computer can do anything useful. That's why it's been suggested to you that you get a firewall. The fact is that companies don't want to bother expalaining this to you because you're likely to put up with some of the slowdown that trojans and spyware programs cause without complaining. Actual hacker attacks that destroy your computer are much less common than spyware and your ISP still doesn't care because YOU pay for the connection anyways.

ZoneAlarm will do basically two things when running in the background. It will give you a pop up warning when something is probing your computer, and when a program on your computer is trying to "phone home". The first case is easy. When you get a pop up alert window for something that is trying to connect with your computer from outside your computer, it will give you a messsage that says: "The firewall has blocked access to you computer (blah blah)from blah.blah.blah.blah (blah blah) (blah blah). Just check the box that says: "Don't show this dialog again" This does not prevent ZoneAlarm from blocking, it just prevents the ocassion from interrupting you.

The second thing it does is alert you the very first time that a program from your computer tries to make a connection to somewhere or "phone home" when you're online with ZoneAlarm on. This is where you have to pay attention, but it's not as difficult as it sounds. For example, after installing ZoneAlarm, the first time you run your Internet connection program and Internet Explorer, it will alert you and ask you if you want to let it connect for each program. For a trusted program like that you can check the box that says: "Always let this program access the Internet". That way it won't alert you every time because it's not necessary.

For other programs, you'll have to pay more attention. This is where you may notice if you have any spyware that's trying to "phone home" like Realplayer. You can check a box that says something like; No, and don't ever let it connect, or you can just say no on a case by case basis. (This can help you identify how often spyware tries to phone home.) You can also say two variations of "yes, let it connect" by checking a box or clicking "yes". It may sound complicated, but it's all done from the same box and you just need to use some common sense. While programs like WM Player and Realplayer need to connect when streaming music right off the net, they don't need to phone home and spy on random occasion, like when you're not even downloading music. If you have some program you don't even recognize that wants to phone home like, blackhole666 then you should obviously say no. Wow, this post went on much longer than I thought. I hope it helps.
post #18 of 26
Thanks,
your post helped me, and I have Zone Alarm going.

If I a computer dummy can install and run this, trust me anyone can.
post #19 of 26
Quote:
Originally posted by Sicycat
Then how come sometimes when I try to send or receive files at work msn tells me that it cannot send the file because I'm behind a firewall or blocked connection
That's most likely because your company has set their firewall software to prevent what you from doing certain things or the company at the other end has done so, if you are sending something to a person at their jobs. The commercial firewall programs usually allow all sorts of tweaks, blocking certain sites , blocking certain users from some or all sites etc.
post #20 of 26
hydroax..

You do have to admire Real.com for their spying tenacity if nothing else when you use their software. I think they are one of the most annoying vendors around in that regard!
post #21 of 26
I see
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally posted by Lucia
hydroax..

You do have to admire Real.com for their spying tenacity if nothing else when you use their software. I think they are one of the most annoying vendors around in that regard!
I agree. They are annoying. As for admiring their tenacity, well... okay, but only reluctantly.
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally posted by nighteyes
Thanks,
your post helped me, and I have Zone Alarm going.

If I a computer dummy can install and run this, trust me anyone can.
It's quite an eyeful to read, but I'm glad it was of some help. I got ADSL when our local phone company first offered it and I had to go through the pain of my computer being hijacked before technical help told me about ZoneAlarm.
post #24 of 26
I had zone alarm and the only problem I had with it was its sporadic connecting to my gaming site. I was playing on pogo a lot then and it would let me on in the morning but let me try to play at nite and if I could connect, I immediately got disconnected. I would have to disable ZA to play.
Now I am using the XP firewall. The only thing so far that I have found that I can't do is send files over MSN messinger.
I was told that Norton's firewall is good and is only $15.
I do believe, after using ZA, that you do need one at home on every computer. You never know who is going to try to get in and a password won't stop them from the internet end.
Well, if anyone cares, that is my 2cents worth on the subject.
post #25 of 26
I'm sitting behind our hardware firewall. We share 1 IP address between 6 computers, so we have to use a router/IP Masker. It's safer, but unfortunately it does interfere quite a bit when I try to use programs like Overnet or Edonkey (file sharing software)
post #26 of 26
Myste, hardware firewalls like you mention only mask/block info from coming in. they generally do not however block programs you have installed from talking out, wich in my opinion is the more dangerous of the two, ie credit card numbers, personal info, ect. Software firewalls are the way to go for security, i do like the sygate one mentioned here.

Also to answer some of the why doesnt it work questions, there are sections in most internet reliant tools that deal directly with firewalls, you just need to let you're program know that you're using one, and then let the firewall know you're using a program.

you should also run all the security updates from microsoft windows update, oh you also need to disable windows messanger, startbutton>settings>Control Panels>Administartor tools>Component Services

find it and double click, disable and change to manual.


hope this helps.
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