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Have router and network set up but confused by security and firewall options

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#1 benawhile


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Posted 27 May 2010 - 10:04 AM


I have recently set up a home network comprising a desktop and laptop, both running windows XP pro SP3, and a Netgear router WGR614v6. My internet service is via external cable modem.

The desktop has a network card but no wireless, the laptop has wireless.

My pc is currently set up with only a single administrator account with no password, to save time from startup to desktop. I am the only user.

Simple file sharing is enabled in Windows Explorer >“Folder Options”

My intent is for my two computers to be able to see each other and interchange files and folders from “my documents

My Questions are:

I have been told my router does not support WPA2-AES. Can you tell me which section of my network is vulnerable by having to use WPA-PSK, which it does support? For example what part of my network can a hacker see by hacking my wireless network?
Can they see along the ethernet connection to my desktop pc via the router? And what difference would it make if the Windows Firewall was completely disabled? Is this advisable?
I have got the impression from some information on the web that a router is a firewall in itself and so a software firewall should not be needed.
I would like to use “Zone Alarm” but I do not understand whether there is any point to this now, if the router is acting as a firewall, and the wireless network can be hacked anyway. Can you tell me any more about this?

With thanks

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#2 Darth sidious

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 02:42 PM

Setting your security to WPA-PSK is more secure than having an open connection where a cracker with a packet sniffer can capture your traffic and read it to see what your sending or where you are browsing.

If you mean the ethrnet cable the answer is no unless a device is physically attached to the cable, but that doesn't mean that the connection can't be hacked and is the same for wireless so having a firewall at the gateway as your netgear has with dos protection as well as spi firewall will help protect your connection.

The xp firewall only inspects inbound connections and is not adequate, so a third party firewall which will inspect outbound connections as well with a good anti-virus installed on your pc or laptop will give you graater protection. Although the router firewall will protect against some trojan and syn and ack attacks will not protect against viruses or email spamming attacks, you would need a proper utm solution which include gateway anti-virus, firewall and ips and ids protection and can be costly.

Making sure your wireless is encryted to wpa or wpa2 and hasn't been cracked yet whereas wep has and can be done easily, is important make it as hard as possible for crackers to compremise your system. Use a firewall and anit-virus solution on your pc and laptop as a second layer of defence on top of router firewall.

Also sensible surfing habits keeping away from dodgy sites such as warez sites and ilk.

A free program called rapport can be used to verify webistes you are viewing is genuine.

Adblock plus block out unwanted pop up ads in addition to your browser pop up blocker.

The administrator account set a passowrd for extra security.

Create a limited account with passoword and use this for everyday computer use if you need to run a program or install use the runas administratot option.

Using an admin account for browsing the internet if hacked will give the cracker full access to your system and will be able to create further user accounts and hide them from you or change configuration and deny you access causing havoc.

It's all about making it harder for the cracker to compremise your system.
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