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Software firewall issues in general...

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Every time I try using software firewalls I always get discouraged after about a day.  I've tried Outpost in the past, and just recently, I tried the Kaspersky one that comes with it's Internet Security suite.  Here's what happens:

I install the firewall, it usually has some kind of "training" mode that asks you to allow/block all the connections.  Here's my problem with this, I get these training notifications every 5 seconds for every little connection made from the computer.  Each webpage has multiple things it wants me to allow.  The problem is that I can't really even tell at all if something is a good connection or a bad connection, and even when I decide to block something that looks suspicious, it ends up being something necessary to view a webpage that I'm trying to get to.  The bottom line is, I can't tell what to block or allow, so I just allow pretty much everything.  I mean, what do I do with 'generic host process"?  I don't know what that means, but I know I need it.  Whatever.  After I try all this, I usually put the firewall on some kind of minimal mode where everything is allowed except the stuff I explicitly block, but I never block anything because I don't know what to block, so the firewall is essentially useless.  So after a few days of this, I usually just uninstall the firewall.

That's my firewall experience.  I've never had any spamming problems, or wild spyware problems, and so far, I've never had any kind of problems with people hacking into my computer (that I know of).  But everyone says a firewall is important, so I keep trying, but the end result is that I just get frustrated and quit.

Carol Haynes:
Have you tried the latest version of Outpost? It has an automatic training mode which applies suitable rules to most common applications as they try to connect to the internet.

I reinstalled it on my system a few days ago  (after a complete format and start again session) and most of the prompts have died down now again. Don't forget to tick the "remember this in future" box when allowing known apps to have access and they quickly stop coming.

I have also reinstalled AppGuard and RegDefender on my system which work in a similar way - you have to set up rules to allow apps to run and allow and apps to change registry settings etc. For the first time I can actually stop the "tooleaky" test.

It's quite funny actually - when you defeat TooLeaky it doesn't assume you are protected - it assumes their own server is down or your internet connection is bust !!! LOL

Thanks Carol.  I don't think my problem is getting it to work, I can do that if I really tried.  My problem is that I have no idea what I'm doing and if the program asks me, I'm just going to allow the connection.  So what's the point of the firewall if I'm just going to allow everything?

It's like having a antivirus program ask the user, "Is this file bad"?  Heck, I don't know!  That's why I got the antivirus program, so it will tell ME what is a bad file and what is good.  Fortunately, antivirus programs don't do that.  But these firewalls do, and like I said, I don't know what's a good or bad connection and I don't have the patience right now to learn, unless it's really simple.

Carol Haynes:
I am in a similar position, but I work on the principle that when I install it then it has a lot to learn. Ideally it is good to install this sort of thing on a clean install of windows then you know there is not rubbish on your system for certain - or at least do a thorough spyware/trojan/antivirus check before installing a firewall.

Basically I allow most things unless it is something that is very unexpected or I know the program doesn't need to connect to the internet in which case I just block it.

If I recognise a program and I have installed it on my system I have already showed a degree of trust, therefore I don't have any reason to block access if it needs access. For example if the only thing an app needs to access the internet for is to check automatically for updates I tend to block it and if possible turn of the automatic update option and then check manually occasionally at the website.

I can't really see the point in being too anal about it - if you allow an app some access to the internet you may as well give it full access as far as I can see 'cos if it is going to do naughty things it will probably have figured out how to do it anyway by bypassing the outbound firewall.

I see, maybe I'll just copy what you do.  That sounds reasonable.  Thanks!


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