firewalls

ag10

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Is the XP built-in firewall OK, or should I use something else?
I have tried Zone Alarm and Outpost, but they both slowed down the computer so much that I stopped using them, and am relying on the XP one at the mo.
Any recommendations for a (must be free, of course!) firewall that won't slow the computer too much? Thanks!
Al
 

BGonaSTICK

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Wow, Zonealarm slowed down your computer?

I would have thought that if your box is up to running WinXP then ZA shouldn't cause too much of a problem.

I had XP and ZAP running flawlessly on my old server which was a PII 400.

When you installed ZA, did you turn off the XP firewall?

My thoughts are that if the XP firewall is working OK, and you can't get ZA to behave, then stick with what works.

The only other cheap/free firewall that I know is popular is Blackice Defender, but it did give me some stability problems.
 

PoloMint

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What’s your system spec ag10?

And was it your whole system it slowed down, or just the internet connection?

I agree with BGonaSTICK that it really shouldn’t slow your system down drastically.

However I do think it is important that you get a firewall other than the XP built in one. The XP one does not tell you what programs are trying to get access to the internet or indeed let you stop any program going on line. In preventing Trojan horses this is vital, Zone Alarm also has far better inbound protection than the Windows XP one.

I think you should try and find out what was causing the problems with Zone Alarm rather than just stick with the XP one, what version of Zone Alarm was it you tried installing?
 

ag10

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Thanks, guys.
It's an 1800 Athlon / 256 (if I remember correctly - I'm in work at the mo!).
It didn't slow it all the time, but at times on the internet and when closing some programs (again, if I remember right). I did turn the XP one off, and it was the latest free version.
The same thing happened with the Outpost though.
What I'll do is reload ZA (hope I've kept the download) then I'll be able to give a lot more info in a day or two.
AL
 

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Majorgeeks.com should have a number of firewalls for free download including Zone Alarm
 

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Try the Zone Alarms again, but if you hit problems then try Sygate Personal Firewall at
http://smb.sygate.com it is supposed to be very good, and free.
Don't leave it to XP's own firewall, except as a last resort. O-no
 

PoloMint

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Open control panel > open network connections.

You should see all your connections, netwrork and dial up.

Right click on the connection you want to change > properties > advanced tab > un tick the firewall box.
 

ag10

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OK. I've reloaded ZA and what happens is when you close down a program it seems ZA 'locks' the computer for about 45 sec. EG if you open Firefox, then close it you can't reopen it for 45 sec, and 45 sec can seem a long time! I think I'll try Sygate!
While I'm here - I can only use plain text with Yahoo mail and Firefox (the option for 'colour' or whatever that you get with IE isn't there). Is this a limitation of the browser?
Thanks, Al
 

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I think running Sygate and adaware and even a virus scan are a good idea, ZA shouldn’t be doing that to your system. One other thing, does it do the same thing when you are not online, for example if you restart windows and open firefox and close it, without connecting to the net after rebooting, will it not let you reopen it for 45 sec?

As for firefox, I don’t think that it should be stopping you use colour text in yahoo mail, I don’t know if I still have any active yahoo mail accounts to try it on but I have never run into any problems of that kind with firefox before and I have been using mozilla/firefox/firebird for years and years.

---

EDIT: well I take it all back, I just reactivated one of my old Yahoo accounts and the “plain/colour and graphics” option is not there in Firefox, but is there in IE.

Perhaps why I have never noticed that I am missing out on things in firefox is because I am not aware that I am missing anything!

Shame on Yahoo for not coding their pages to fully support Firefox!
However as a plus I also noticed when reactivating the account that the storage is now 100MB, up from the 3 or 2 or whatever it was before, not bad.
 

ag10

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Yes, ZA freezes when not connected. I'll experiment some more. I've just downloaded Sygate so I'll try that too.
Re Yahoo mail, I've just found in their help section that at the mo you can only use plain text with Netscape (so presumably Mozilla/Firefox).
Thanks for help. Al
 

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If you have an old cover disk or anything with Zone Alarm on it you might want to try installing that (if it is version version 4.5 or older), seems the new free version is causing lots of people with XP problems

http://www.download.com/3302-2092-10291280.html

Didn’t see you latest post before I edited my last one. :)
 

ag10

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Hmmm. I was having problems with ZA4.5, that's why I changed!
Thanks for the link. Very interesting. So it's not me after all! (Being a well-known nincompoop, I naturally assumed it was something that I'd done / hadn't done.)
Anyway, I've discovered that the problem on startup I've described applies to other firewalls too, which is not suprising because I've found it's there even with NO firewall! I think you have to wait 'til Firefox times out - I'll try having blank as my homepage.
However, I'm sure the problems I was having WHILST connected WERE due to the firewall (as all seemed fine when using the XP one). I haven't been surfing much lately so I can't give examples.
So, I'll try one of the others and will see if I find any probs over the next week or so. If I do I'll give examples.
Thanks for all the help / suggestions; I appreciate it!
Cheers, Al
 

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I'm on 4.5.594.000 and it's solid on XP with SP1. Has been running for weeks continually.
 

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I realise this topic is quite of date now, but I thought I would share my personal knowledge and expertise.

Firslty I would like to say that the built in XP firewall is good for controlling the applications that use your connection from your computer, but in terms of it's abilities to cope with any concerted effor to "hack" your computer, it isn't much good. It would keep a slightly less experienced "hacker" out for a little bit but not for ever, an experianced "hacker" would cut throught it like a knife through butter. The main reason for this is that it is based on Microsoft code that has inherant flaws.

With regards to the ZoneAlarm firewall it is quite good, and much better than the XP firewall, as you've said it does sometimes have issues with being a bit resource heavy but this is spasmodic and only evident on some systems suggesting that it is a system problem opposed to a software problem with ZA.

My personal recomendation in terms of firewalls would be the Sygate firewall that has already been recommended or the Tiny Personal Firewall (www.tinysoftware.com), which although Tiny is reported to be very good and supposedly used internally by the American civil service which is possible good and possibly not depends on your views of the American's ;)

In terms of really good security I reccomend a hardware firewall, many are available cheaply, my personal favorite is Netgear (www.netgear.com) which have a range of firewalls with built in broadband routers and LAN switches, some even have integrated wireless access points.

Once you've installed your firewall you can test it's security by going to www.grc.com and using their "Shields Up" port scan, ideally all ports should report as being stealth if your firewall is doing it's job. GRC also have lots of security related information particularly for those of you who use Windows, especially XP which is not exactly the worlds most secure OS despite it's built in security features.

Hope this helps, oh and if your wondering how I know this, it is because I am currently doing a course at university on Cyber Terrorism, and I work in IT. So i'm not some crazy hacker guy :)
 

BGonaSTICK

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kieranjones said:
... So i'm not some crazy hacker guy :)
No, but we are!

Well, maybe not. BTW, the version of ZA I mentioned above (in fact a slightly older version), set up properly, also passed the port probe at "Shields Up" (at least when I used it a few months back) and it's certainly a useful resource for basic testing.

STICK
 
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