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Posted 30 October 2010 - 08:32 PM
Posted 31 October 2010 - 07:11 AM
Although most outbound filtering is disabled, Vista’s firewall does provide limited outbound filtering which users may not be aware of as it is essentially invisible.
Matt Parretta, a former spokesperson for Microsoft's PR agency, Waggener Edstrom, offered this defense: "If we turned on outbound filtering by default for consumers, it forces the user to make a trust decision for every application they run which touches the network. After they upgrade to Windows Vista or purchase a new PC with that OS, they will be prompted on the first launch of every application that touches the network: Instant Messaging, IE, e-mail, Windows Media, iTunes, every self-updating app such as Adobe, and so on. Unless they click 'allow', the app will be broken and won't function properly. The out of box experience would be poor, and they would soon be desensitized to the prompts."
Outbound filtering can be configured to provide an additional layer of security and it does provide corporate and business administrators control over applications (i.e. peer-to-peer file sharing) they may want to restrict. Any such applications that require outbound access must be added to the rules list by using the firewall with the Advanced Security Microsoft Management Console (MMC). Configuration may be confusing for some and there is no practical way to to configure outbound filtering to stop all unwanted outbound connections. Inbound filtering can be turned on or off and through various tabs and configuration settings. For more specific information about configuration and security, please refer to these articles:
Jason Leznek, Microsoft senior product manager, told Computerworld that outbound filtering rules "are enabled by default for core Windows services as part of Windows Service Hardening, which enables the firewall to understand specific behaviors Windows services should have, and block them if they are doing something unexpected (ie, via an exploited vulnerability). Windows Firewall also protects the computer by blocking certain outgoing messages to help prevent the computer against certain port scanning attacks."
What's new in the Windows 7 Firewall?
The Vista firewall was built on a new Windows Filtering Platform (WFP) and added the ability to filter outbound traffic via the Advanced Security MMC snap-in. With Windows 7, Microsoft has tweaked the firewall further and made it much more useable, especially on mobile computers, by adding support for multiple active firewall policies.
The Windows 7 Firewall refines the much-improved firewall that was included in Windows Vista, and brings its "hidden" advanced features out into the open. Many users, including some IT professionals, were unaware that you could filter outbound traffic, monitor and otherwise perform advanced configuration tasks for the Vista firewall, because none of that was apparent from the Firewall applet in Control Panel. With Windows 7, Microsoft has created a built-in host firewall that is much more functional than its predecessors and now poses a viable alternative to third party host firewall products.
What's new in the Windows 7 Firewall?
As with Vista, the basic settings for the Windows 7 firewall are accessed via the Control Panel applet. Unlike Vista, you can also access the advanced settings (including configuration of filtering for outbound connections) through the Control Panel instead of having to create an empty MMC and add a snap-in...
The Vista firewall allows you to choose whether you are on a public or private network. With Windows 7, you have three choices - public network, home network or work network. The two latter options are treated as private networks...With all network types, by default the Windows 7 firewall blocks connections to programs that are not on the list of allowed programs. Windows 7 allows you to configure the settings for each network type separately,...
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