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Author Topic: Best free firewall for Windows?  (Read 139521 times)
lanux128
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« on: November 07, 2006, 12:16:15 AM »

seems like there's an active interest in firewalls lately..

Best free firewall for Windows? - Ask DLS


[link from downloadsquad.com]

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Gothi[c]
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« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2006, 12:50:27 AM »

Well, sygate was indeed the best firewall i ever used for windows. RIP. I'd recommend anyone to try and find a copy of it. ZA, while it works for many people, is a bit too bloated, and I can't stand the newbieware approach of it tongue sygate was VERY lightweight, and it worked great. But something tells me the responses there didn't cover all the firewalls out there. There may be one or two or three or more firewalls out there that aren't as popular as the before mentioned but still good.
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app103
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« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2006, 12:56:40 AM »

Sometimes the firewall you choose depends on the software you plan on running.

If you plan on using IRC, forget Norton, it will block you from IRC for no good reason whenever it pleases.

I loved Zone Alarm, but had to ditch it after it kept kicking everyone out of the chatroom I host on my pc. (took awhile to figure out that was the problem)

Some firewalls just don't get along with some things you may want to do. So make 2 choices and use the second one if you find software not getting along with your first choice.
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lanux128
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« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2006, 01:09:24 AM »

So make 2 choices and use the second one if you find software not getting along with your first choice.
this is the reason i had asked here about an alternative firewall.. now, i've made my choices: Windows Firewall followed by ZA.

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f0dder
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2006, 09:18:13 AM »

If you plan on using IRC, forget Norton, it will block you from IRC for no good reason whenever it pleases.
And IIRC (grin) it was also Norton that would BSOD if anybody on IRC wrote some special command (from a list of commands that Norton was monitoring because they were used by zombie bots).

Personally I've stopped using software firewalls; I depend on my NAT'ing router to keep incoming traffic away, and Kaspersky to keep malware from running. Of course I can't detect "phone home" in regular software that way, but oh well.
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app103
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« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2006, 09:31:36 AM »

Personally I've stopped using software firewalls; I depend on my NAT'ing router to keep incoming traffic away, and Kaspersky to keep malware from running. Of course I can't detect "phone home" in regular software that way, but oh well.

I am kind of doing the same, with the addition of AVG, Spybot, the spyware detector built into my browser, and Windows Firewall...untill I can find an alternative that won't dump everyone from my chatroom. (which I need to discuss with other room hosts I know)
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superboyac
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« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2006, 09:40:41 AM »

If you plan on using IRC, forget Norton, it will block you from IRC for no good reason whenever it pleases.
And IIRC (grin) it was also Norton that would BSOD if anybody on IRC wrote some special command (from a list of commands that Norton was monitoring because they were used by zombie bots).

Personally I've stopped using software firewalls; I depend on my NAT'ing router to keep incoming traffic away, and Kaspersky to keep malware from running. Of course I can't detect "phone home" in regular software that way, but oh well.

I do exactly the same.  Personally speaking, I have never used a software firewall that wasn't more of a nuisance for me than anything else.  My computer habits are good enough where a good antivirus program and a few spyware programs is good enough for me.  I don't know if my computer is vulnerable to attacks or anything, I hope not.
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f0dder
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« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2006, 09:47:39 AM »

I do exactly the same.  Personally speaking, I have never used a software firewall that wasn't more of a nuisance for me than anything else.  My computer habits are good enough where a good antivirus program and a few spyware programs is good enough for me.  I don't know if my computer is vulnerable to attacks or anything, I hope not.
Well, if you use Windows Firewall, that should hopefully protect you against worms etc. - which, with a decent NAT router setup, would only happen if somebody on your LAN got infected. Dunno if there's any remote exploits for the windows firewall, oh well smiley
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superboyac
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« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2006, 11:00:19 AM »

Quote
Well, if you use Windows Firewall, that should hopefully protect you against worms etc. - which, with a decent NAT router setup, would only happen if somebody on your LAN got infected. Dunno if there's any remote exploits for the windows firewall, oh well smiley
Actually, I don't even use Windows Firewall.  Am I crazy?
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Edvard
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2006, 01:17:56 PM »

Before I converted my Lovely Wife to the ways of Ubuntu, she would sometimes call me at work and tell me that a "Remote User" had shut down the XP computer. So we installed and used ZoneAlarm for a while. No more remote shutdowns and it was pretty scary seeing it report thousands of probes and a handful of suspected bona fide break-in attempts.
After doing some more reading, I discovered that the thousands of probes were actually just internet "background noise". So, depending on how the rest of your system is set up, the sensitivity of your data, and how secure your ISP claims to be, you might not have a whole hell of a lot to worry about.

Why I don't use Windows Firewall? Read "A Cautionary Story of Vulnerability Research in the 21st Century, or A Super-DMCA Fairy Tale" at http://www.hackbusters.net. (Scroll down a few paragraphs, or better yet read the Whole Page, it's a real ticker...)

And if you have a spare box around, you can always set up your own hardware firewall...
« Last Edit: November 07, 2006, 05:45:03 PM by Edvard » Logged

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f0dder
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2006, 05:08:32 PM »

Edvard: I think that hackbusters URL needs some fixing, as it looks pretty much like a DNS-squatter to me. You probably meant http://www.hackbusters.net/ ? The story sounds like a bunch of FUD anyway.

Now, I don't know just how bad the windows firewall is. Sure, locally, given admin rights, you can punch holes through it (duh, same can be done as root on *u*x). And of course there's probably some privilege escalation bugs around in both *u*x and XP. The interesting part is if there's any remote holes in the windows firewall. If there isn't, it should be perfectly fine for protecting your box against worm attacks.
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« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2006, 05:26:33 PM »

I was fortunate enough to locate the free version of Sygate Personal Firewall long ago when it was around.
Saved it to disk, just as I do all my software goodies.

<<quick Googling>>
http://www.filehippo.com/...sygate_personal_firewall/

<<check my application installations>>
The version I have is v.5.6 build 2808

That is the one available for download at FileHippo
Wink
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« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2006, 05:41:44 PM »

SyGate is the one I use and setup on all my systems.  The free one works great.
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Edvard
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« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2006, 05:52:00 PM »

Quote
I think that hackbusters URL needs some fixing
Yep, fixed it. Thanks.

I don't know if it's FUD, really. I've heard many similar stories that go the same way...
1- OMG I found a vulnerability bug!
2- Tell Boss
3- Boss either ignores you or makes you sign a non-disclosure.
 huh
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lanux128
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« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2006, 07:27:28 PM »

Sygate is getting good marks here.. maybe i should try it out my pc sometimes, just to see for myself how it compares to ZA.
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tinjaw
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2006, 07:14:30 AM »

I suggest taking looking at Comodo.
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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2006, 07:21:27 AM »

I dont suppose anyone remember Conseal PC Firewall by signal9 from back in the day? That was an OUTSTANDING firewall that got bought out, I forget by whom. It worked, it worked well, and it was free.

If you have a spare PC, I would recommend IPCop. It is an outstanding firewall product if you have the spare pc with two or three nics.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2006, 07:28:06 AM by Josh » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2006, 09:01:10 AM »

Josh,

Although IPCop is good, if you have a spare PC I suggest you use Astaro Gateway instead. It is a much more capable product. Although it seems a little confusing, you can download the evaluation version and you will be given a home user license. There is a option to pay for virus scanning and email scanning at the gateway which is a good option if you have multiple computers on a home LAN.
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« Reply #18 on: November 08, 2006, 10:25:51 AM »

I use old sygate and it works like a charm in all my computers.

Does just the enough things that is needed in a firewall and lightweight..
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OldElmerFudd
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« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2006, 03:58:22 AM »

Firewalls? I haven't smelled smoke..oh, THOSE firewalls.

Some thoughts:
a) ISTR XP's firewall doesn't stop outbound baddies.
2) Yes, I know ZA's gotten fat over the years, but I use it on all our machines. Bite-sized trouble and I also sit behind a hardware firewall, and I routinely install multiple layers of AV, anti-spyware, anti-adware, and anti-trojan screeners and sweepers in every machine I get my hands on.
III) I check all the boxes all the time.

Software I use: AVG Free, Eset NOD 32, Spybot, Spywareblaster, SpywareGuard, SpySweeper, A2 Free, ZA, AdAware, TrojanHunter, and more. Not to mention WinPatrol Plus, Prevx...guards! Seize him! OK, I'll go quietly now.
I'm not really paranoid, just kind of a-retentive thorough about this stuff. Depending on the machine, I'll even use (shudder) payware.

OEF
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f0dder
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« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2006, 04:25:32 AM »

Some thoughts:
a) ISTR XP's firewall doesn't stop outbound baddies.

Once you've got malware on your system, it's too late anyway. The only use outbound protection is, at the software firewall level, is to stop "regular" apps from phoning home. And if so inclined, it wouldn't be too hard for an app to target various popular products and punch holes through them, or use covert channels.
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« Reply #21 on: November 09, 2006, 12:24:22 PM »

I suggest taking looking at Comodo.

I have been using Comodo for a couple of months now.  It is the closest to the old Sygate that I have found.  It updates itself, it is totally free, and they claim it always will be.  I have had no problems once I got used to it.  Zone Alarm, I discovered, was really slowing down the entire system, and many small problems went away as soon as ZA was fully removed.
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mwb1100
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« Reply #22 on: November 09, 2006, 04:55:09 PM »

Once you've got malware on your system, it's too late anyway.

This is not entirely true *if* you run as a non-admin user.  In that case you can unknowingly and inadvertantly download malware, and it will usually be unable to get itself installed or reconfigure your system (such as punching through firewalls).

Not that running non-admin is easy - an awful lot of legitmate software does not run well in non-admin mode.

In fact, if you're running non-admin without AV or Anti-Spyware you're probably safer than running in Admin mode with that type of protection software:

     http://www.eweek.com/print_article2/0,1217,a=165846,00.asp

Quote
We found a vast degree of difference among the three user memberships. On our Windows 2000 Professional client with User permissions only, none of the malware installed completely and two threats actually warned that the user had insufficient privileges.

A third loaded a malicious process into memory, but the threat did not reappear after reboot. The Sunbelt scan performed after the reboot could find only a single threat, which consisted of one file in the browser cache.
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f0dder
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« Reply #23 on: November 09, 2006, 05:14:52 PM »

Once you've got malware on your system, it's too late anyway.

This is not entirely true *if* you run as a non-admin user.  In that case you can unknowingly and inadvertantly download malware, and it will usually be unable to get itself installed or reconfigure your system (such as punching through firewalls).

Well, then you don't really have it "on the system". Sure, it's sitting there as a dumb binary file, but if it can't activate...  harhar
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OldElmerFudd
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« Reply #24 on: November 09, 2006, 06:18:08 PM »

Some thoughts:
a) ISTR XP's firewall doesn't stop outbound baddies.

Once you've got malware on your system, it's too late anyway. The only use outbound protection is, at the software firewall level, is to stop "regular" apps from phoning home. And if so inclined, it wouldn't be too hard for an app to target various popular products and punch holes through them, or use covert channels.


Too true.
Fortunately, I've rarely encountered virii or malware. At least the software has screamed bloody murder and made them go far, far away.
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