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Is a software firewall necessary these days?


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#1 razz3333

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 09:16 PM

When I got my first computer 17 years ago (Windows ME) a friend strongly recommended a firewall and he suggested ZoneAlarm Free.   After many new computers I lost touch with ZoneAlarm and recently noticed it's still quite active.  This brought to mind the thought that I figure with the wide-spread use of routers these days (as well as a much improved Windows Defender in both Windows 8 & 10) a software firewall is no longer required.  This I figure would be especially true if your anti-virus program includes a firewall.

 

Is my thinking correct or would adding a software firewall, like ZoneAlarm Free, still make sense even if you use a router, have Windows Defender active (in Windows 10) and have a firewall as part of your anti-virus (in my case Kaspersky Total Security 2017) ?



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#2 RolandJS

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 12:26 AM

Which Windows do you have?  If memory serves me, Windows 7 and beyond have a very good built-in firewall; which is all you need.  3rd party firewalls are plentiful, I used a few myself from Windows for Workgroups 3.11 to Windows 95-98-98SE to Windows 7, its internal firewall is the only firewall I now use.  I did add Windows Firewall Control which allows me to "see and edit" certain operations a little easier.  Having a firewall is similar to using two locks on your front door -- such is safer, maybe not foolproof, but safer.


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#3 ichito

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 03:36 AM

I'm interested how many of "normal" (average and less-average) users do something with settings of Windows builtin firewall...I could make a bet - actually noone. Common understanding of such system application is on level " of ground" and I can undesrtand why - Microsoft doesn't give clear and "digestible" guide of using for most of us. In the contrary system firewall 3d-party firewalls offers "on enter" settings that allows in quite good way secure our ports, protocols and data...and what's important - system firewall in default doesn't block (controll) outgoing connections except those which exist by default.


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#4 razz3333

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 09:13 AM

Which Windows do you have?  If memory serves me, Windows 7 and beyond have a very good built-in firewall; which is all you need.

 

I have the latest Windows 10.  I didn't realize that Windows 7 had a decent built-in firewall.  I thought a decent Windows firewall didn't come along until Windows 8.  Anyway, it's good to know I have plenty firewall protection  :)



#5 tos226

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Posted 08 June 2017 - 10:57 PM

I'm interested how many of "normal" (average and less-average) users do something with settings of Windows builtin firewall...I could make a bet - actually noone. Common understanding of such system application is on level " of ground" and I can undesrtand why - Microsoft doesn't give clear and "digestible" guide of using for most of us. In the contrary system firewall 3d-party firewalls offers "on enter" settings that allows in quite good way secure our ports, protocols and data...and what's important - system firewall in default doesn't block (controll) outgoing connections except those which exist by default.

It is able to block outbounds if you change default setting. But then a lot of stuff gets blocked and you don't know why. The problem is that windows firewall doesn't alert that something wants out. So how on earth is one to figure out which exact .exe need a new outbound rule. And the rule making interface is ridiculous. It takes multiple dialogs for what one could do in Kerio for instance on one dialog. I tried several times to use built-in on Windows 7 and 10 and gave up each time.
 
Most 3rd party firewalls use the same engine, Windows Filtering Platform, as the Windows firewall. Some use the rules in windows firewall (for instance Windows firewall control from binisoft), some do not (Sphinx, Outpost) and all have default-deny with informative alerts to allow or block.


#6 jessica2291

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 03:13 AM

Yeah Now a day most of computers, mobile phones & tablets are hacked someone are affected virus, so the firewall is must necessary. Firewalls are used to protect your devices from hacker and virus



#7 jullyfedro03

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 08:42 PM

Check out these reasons why firewall is need for these days:

 

1. A firewall protects your computer from unauthorized remote access

2. It can block messages linking to unwanted content

3. It makes online gaming safer

4. You can block unsuitable or immoral content with a firewall



#8 x64

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 02:29 AM

Check out these reasons why firewall is need for these days:

 

1. A firewall protects your computer from unauthorized remote access

2. It can block messages linking to unwanted content

3. It makes online gaming safer

4. You can block unsuitable or immoral content with a firewall

 

 

Reason 1 is true (although it is not necessarily total protection in that area), the Reasons 2,3,4 are totally false - products calling themselves firewalls might may do those things, but they would be additional protection in addition to the product's firewall functions.

 

Reasons 2,3,4 are protected against by other functions of Internet Security packages (Such as the KTS mentioned by the OP).

 

A firewall vets inbound and in many cases outbound connections to/from your computer to check that the connection is appropriate. It does not examine user content of traffic.

 

As RolandJS said. Windows 7 and above have a firewall which is sufficient for ordinary use. Some Internet security packages will include a firewall component that replaces windows firewall.

 

You definitely need a firewall on any portable computer/device that will connect to untrusted internet connections. I would very highly recommend continuing to use a firewall on your own 'trusted' internet connection, albeit with the more relaxed settings that these firewalls impose on such connections.

 

On your home network, most routers will use NAT (which, whilst not being NATs primary reason to exist, has a side effect of blocking random unsolicited inbound connections - which are the greatest risk). Use this in addition to at least the Windows firewall (to cover the gap left by the relaxed firewall settings that will exist when your system is on a private network).

 

I've talked about trusted/private connections - That is one of the things that Windows network location awareness assists with and why network adapters and wifi connections are classified as private or public by windows. Windows firewall takes that into account to decide whether to allow the more permissive settings that for example are required for content sharing at home. Other IS packages such as KTS have similar grades of protection based on which network you are connected to.

 

For avoidance of any doubt - a firewall will NOT protect against malicious content pulled into your computer by (for example) making a web request or your email client retrieving a dodgy email.

 

x64

(note I've simplified a few explanations above and written in the context of a fairly normal home set-up, as opposed to more advanced or corporate configurations)



#9 Umbra

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Posted 29 September 2017 - 05:36 AM

A fact that many people don't know, is that ALL 3rd party softyware firewalls whatever the brand use Windows Filtering Platform (WFP). 

 

Using an analogy is like they are all different cars but all using the same motor.



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#10 ichito

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 11:37 AM

A fact that many people don't know, is that ALL 3rd party softyware firewalls whatever the brand use Windows Filtering Platform (WFP). 

 

Using an analogy is like they are all different cars but all using the same motor.

And it only means that you can get completely different features/options and treat it as more or less usefull for you :)


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#11 Umbra

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 01:14 PM

 

A fact that many people don't know, is that ALL 3rd party softyware firewalls whatever the brand use Windows Filtering Platform (WFP). 

 

Using an analogy is like they are all different cars but all using the same motor.

And it only means that you can get completely different features/options and treat it as more or less usefull for you :)

 

Indeed, more features may add more security options but the security foundations are still the same



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#12 santiano

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Posted 14 November 2017 - 02:40 AM

Firewall protection is necessary to secure your network. I can't say about inbuilt firewall protection or using any third party protection. I think, its totally depend upon the work user is performing like simple netsurfing or confidential data emailing, online payment like that. 






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