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Old 08-02-2005, 09:30 AM   #1
vharishankar
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A "personal" firewall is not a firewall, after all


Interesting article I came across today I wanted to share with all of you.

http://www.samspade.org/d/firewalls.html

The moral?

Always close open ports and turn off unwanted services or use a dedicated firewall box or router. Makes sense. Software firewalls are obviously less secure.

The question is how many of us can afford dedicated systems for firewall use or a hardware firewall device/router? Some of those gadgets are expensive (at least where I live )
 
Old 08-02-2005, 09:49 AM   #2
Crito
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The author obviously doesn't know the difference between a firewall and an IDS (intrusion detection system.)

Snort is a great IDS BTW.
 
Old 08-02-2005, 09:55 AM   #3
vharishankar
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It was quite a pro-Linux article I thought. I think mostly he was advising Windows users not to trust "free" firewall tools too much.

I still think that essentially the article is true -- the fact that dedicated Linux/Unix firewall boxes are better for Windows users with home networks.
 
Old 08-02-2005, 10:18 AM   #4
Crito
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The author's problem is he works at a help desk and gets annoying calls from people with IDS' who don't know how to interpret the results. If he had read the blackice documentation, for example, it would tell him that the software is comprised of two components, a firewall and an IDS. You can block or unblock any port by editing the firewall.ini file, just like any "hardware" firewall. The IDS portion blocks IP addresses when "suspicious" traffic is detected. You can choose to trust a computer however, in which case warning messages won't be generated and the IP won't ever get blocked.
 
Old 08-02-2005, 10:26 AM   #5
vharishankar
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Ok, Ok, I don't know a whole lot of technical details on firewalls so I cannot comment. I just wanted some information on whether I understood that article correctly.

But I think I've read in a few other places that hardware firewalls were better for security.
 
Old 08-02-2005, 10:53 AM   #6
Crito
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A "hardware" firewall is just a software firewall with the software burned on a flash chip. Sure, not having all those other services running eliminates a lot of potential vulnerabilities, but the real advantage is ease of use IMHO. Setting up three NICs to create a DMZ is a pain in the arse. Much easier to just plug in a black box and forget about it. That's also the problem I have with black box solutions, people rarely update the software on the flash chip.

I'd say a frequently patched firewall is always better than a never patched firewall, regardless of whether it be software or hardware based.
 
  


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