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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I've read through a ton of messages here, but I can't find a clear answer to this:


Is there a recommended firewall to use on a home network with RTVs?


I tried Zone Alarm Pro once about 1.5 years ago and it caused much havok... I've read lots of messages recommending NOT using that. But I'm getting nervous that my network is exposed, and I leave my PC on almost all the time, so I'd like to have some protection... Here's my setup:


Linksys BEFW11S4 Router

PC connected directly to a port on the router

2 5040 ReplayTVs connected via WAP11's


So what are my options? I DO use DVArchive and want it to continue to work... Any recommendations?


Thanks!


Eddie
 

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I've used both the free & paid ZoneAlarm for several years with no problems. If you're behind a NAT router/firewall AND running a software firewall you're better protected than most consumers with broadband connections.


The Linksys firewall should stop most attacks, but I like having the software firewall for application control and as a backup.
 

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I've used the free version of Zone Alarm for a while and liked it so well that I bought the full version. Although I've seen complaints here, I've never had a problem with it and I even run it on the same machine as DVarchive (something that I've also seen others complain about).


Thunk
 

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Only reason I upgraded to the paid version of ZA was that I needed to open some inbound ports for remote desktop. Still have the free version running on the rest of my computers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmmm... Well, maybe I'll give it another try. Last time I tried it I was using a different PC, and a 4504. I now have a newer, better PC, and two 5040's.


Thanks!


Eddie
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by lizard_boy
Only reason I upgraded to the paid version of ZA was that I needed to open some inbound ports for remote desktop. Still have the free version running on the rest of my computers.
why do you need zone alarm for this? The BEFW11S4 supports port forwarding... Are you running ICS with a router?


Personally, I don't see the point for a software firewall behind a linksys unless you want protection from others on your local LAN.


Robert
 

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Others may disagree with me, and of course this is my own opinion so......I feel if you are behind a router, then you are protected enough. Purchasing and using a firewall along with the router is just redundant protection, and frankly I do not see the need.


I have run all kinds of scan tests on my computer and I am already invisible on all of them. If you erect an additional firewall, you will have to open the exact same ports in it as you did your router and what have you accomplished?


Again, just my opinion, but for what its worth, save your money. I feel the router is protection enough and if you purchase the Linksys firewall router you are even protected against DOS (Denial of service) attacks.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Reden
why do you need zone alarm for this? The BEFW11S4 supports port forwarding... Are you running ICS with a router?


Personally, I don't see the point for a software firewall behind a linksys unless you want protection from others on your local LAN.


Robert
Like I said above, I like having a software firewall for application control and as a backup to the NAT hardware firewall. This is the configuration I've been using for several years with no problems.


I know it's redundant but every so often ZA will catch somthing that gets past the NAT router. Plus I like knowing if some something tries to connect to the internet that I haven't given permission.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Valid argument. I'm wondering if I need to do anything special in the setup of the router to ensure I'm protected?


The reason I ask, and the reason I started this thread, is that my cable modem is constantly showing transmission activity, even when my PC is off... So I was wondering if someone could be jacking into my wireless network, or if it is truly secure and that's just normal network static (the tx light blinking)... I've tried turning on WEP, but that disables my RTVs. I don't know what else to do to ensure I am really secure...


Thanks for the help,


eddie
 

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One more vote for Linksys-level security to be enough protection from outside network folks. Now, you always have things you might download when you didn't see it (ad snooping programs), and then they would be connecting outbound. A sweep with AdAware (I think that's it...) will catch those. (A popup eliminator will help also...).


If you have wireless, you really need to be sure it's secure, though. People could be anywhere nearby using your net.


Here's what I did (not from a wireless POV). To know what's going on, I have a Linksys router, and use the freeware software at http://www.wallwatcher.com. It keeps and shows graphically in realtime the logs from a Linksys router so you can see what exactly is going in and out from your net and from where and to where. *Very* useful for troubleshooting and security ID.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Lee! That sounds reasonable. I do have AdAware and run a check every few days, just to be sure.


I'll try wallwatcher out!


Thanks again - eddie
 

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In my case, I started using Zone Alarm during the "dial up" days, so there was no router. I paid for the full version more to support the company than because I needed features.


Since I lived way out in the mountains, DSL and Cable were never an option for me. So, my next step from dial-up was DirecPC satellite. It only used a USB inferface, so I configured a Windows Server 2000 machine as my router to share the connection and used Zone Alarm to protect it. I saw lots of attacks, but never any evidence that anything got through ZA.


Lately, I'm living back in civilization and have cable access. I concur that the router provided ample protection from the outside world, but still run Zone Alarm because it also traps outgoing traffic as well as incoming traffic. That's how I spotted some adware that once snuck onto my system. So, these days, I don't really use ZA to protect me from the outside world, I use it to guard against adware.


Actually, last night I decided to remove the router and use a Win Server 2003 system as my router because I wanted to play around. So, ZA is again my primary fire wall. :)


Thunk
 

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Wallwatcher is very nice. I recently switched over to LinkLogger, as it seems to add more functionality (some that I was specifically looking for, and could not get from wallwatcher.) Linklogger.com or something like that...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by eappell
Valid argument. I'm wondering if I need to do anything special in the setup of the router to ensure I'm protected?


The reason I ask, and the reason I started this thread, is that my cable modem is constantly showing transmission activity, even when my PC is off... So I was wondering if someone could be jacking into my wireless network, or if it is truly secure and that's just normal network static (the tx light blinking)... I've tried turning on WEP, but that disables my RTVs. I don't know what else to do to ensure I am really secure...


Thanks for the help,


eddie
I recently switched from DSL to crappy-ass RoadRunner and even when all my PC's were off the router/cable modem were still showing activity.


I hooked my PC directly up to the cable modem and checked ZA's logs - I was getting bombarded with Port 135 scans & NetBios scans. This was about a month ago when SoBig was causing all kinds of problems.


When I look at my router (Netgear MR814) the wireless light is not blinking (no wireless activity) and none of the lights for the hard-wired devices are blinking so I think it's just constant scans & chatter going all over the internet. I'm using the NetGear option to only allow approved MAC Addresses to connect, running 128-bit encryption and not broadcasting my SSID. I know none of these is 100% effective (MAC addresses can be spoofed and encryption can be cracked) but someone would really, really want to get at my PC or on my network to put in the amount of time this would take, and nothing I have is really that valuable.
 

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I recently discovered that the POS microsoft wireless basestation MN-500 has so called client filtering by MAC address, I tried it - and it works. I removed WEP and never looked back (retired Dlink routers) and have better throughput without encryption. Of cause everyone can sniff my video streaming - but more power to them.
 

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MAC addresses can be spoofed, but they will need to know which one to spoof - no easy without access to your router setup...
 

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Quote:
The reason I ask, and the reason I started this thread, is that my cable modem is constantly showing transmission activity, even when my PC is off...
Entirely normal... most cable modem networks are also showing the activity of your neighbors, everyone on the node will light up. In fact, most cable modems will be rx'ing data almost continously.


As far as double firewalls, it is IMPOSSIBLE for something to make it past a nat firewall to your computer, unless your computer already initiated the connection, or you intentially turned on port forwarding for a specific port/range. (That would be a neat trick though, and would be worth millions if you could!) That is simply how nat works by design. Also, using it as a backup is redudant. Should it ever fail, you simply will lose your connection, they can't do any more.


That said, software firewalls are great for catching spyware or other software that decides to phone home every once in awhile. I personally run Tiny Firewall v2 everyone couple of weeks to see what is talking. It is by far the lightest weight and simplest to use out of any. (and I am a network admin!) kind of hard to find, but also entirely freeware for personal use.


and finally, for the really paranoid, check out

www dslreports.com/scan


Hopefully it says you have nothing open, otherwise go back and see what is wrong...
 

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Quote:
MAC addresses can be spoofed, but they will need to know which one to spoof - no easy without access to your router setup...


too easy it is almost scary on most cable modem setups. All you need a linux box directly connected to your cable modem, and *****cap. (program name left out, it is a free tool used by net admins for tracing problems, but has many other potential uses) Cable modems are entirely unsecure if someone has the know how or will....
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by diverjones
Again, just my opinion, but for what its worth, save your money. I feel the router is protection enough and if you purchase the Linksys firewall router you are even protected against DOS (Denial of service) attacks.
It isn't so much DOS attacks that I worry about, it is idoits that the firewall stops. You neighbor on broadband might start broadcasting a ton of crap that your firewall will ignore, but your router will try to process.


I know my cable modem light flashes about 80 times a minute when I'm not using it, I'm sure that someone on my node is an idiot, sending out a ton of crap that my firewall ignores.


Another good thing about a firewall is that you only need one and it doesn't take any processor juice from your pc. ZA/ZAPro really take a lot of PC processor juice, so you have to wonder if that is worth it.
 

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And, more relevant to here, a NAT Router/Firewall also protects devices that you can't add software to, like RTVs! :)
 
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