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XP Firewall

Three views on the XP firewall

 

 1.      http://www.cnet.com/software/0-6688749-8-7007240-4.html

 

"We tested the firewall by visiting Gibson Research's site, which tests computer ports for vulnerabilities by using ShieldsUp and a variety of other security-probing Web programs. The results were encouraging. The site detected the IP address of our test system (not unusual even with hardware firewall products), but XP also stealthed, or completely hid, all of our networking ports. By concealing these virtual back doors, XP's firewall prevented most forms of script-based hack attacks--and more power to Microsoft for providing the tool. Its blocking ability matched that of a hardware firewall on our test machine (Sohoware BroadGuard) and software firewalls from Norton and Zone Labs, although it did not keep a log of hack attempts as ZoneAlarm does. So does it replace these third-party options? No, not really, but if you don't have them installed, it's nice to have this option already in your operating system. (quoted from software.cnet.com)"

 

 2.      http://www.smalladdictions.com/Skateboard/articles/cyberspace-020.htm

 

"First, if you use Windows XP's built in firewall, you will get pretty good protection against incoming attacks, assuming you also keep up with Microsoft Security Patches. Most of those are offered at the XP Update site that can be reached by clicking Start, selecting All Programs and selecting Windows Update. However, unlike most third party firewalls, XP's firewall only protects against incoming attacks and provides no warning about those attacks. If you happen to get a virus or some spyware is deposited on your system because of some application you install or something you've downloaded, you get no alerts about any applications trying to send outgoing messages and XP's firewall doesn't block outgoing communication."

 

3.         http://www.hevanet.com/peace/microsoft.htm

"Windows XP tries to connect to Microsoft's computers in at least 16 ways.  Here is a (probably incomplete) list of ways Windows XP tries to connect each user's computer to Microsoft's computers, or expects to be allowed through the user's software firewall:

  1. Application Layer Gateway Service (Requires server rights.)
  2. Fax Service
  3. File Signature Verification
  4. Generic Host Process for Win32 Services (Requires server rights.)
  5. Microsoft Direct Play Voice Test
  6. Microsoft Help and Support Center
  7. Microsoft Help Center Hosting Server (Wants server rights.)
  8. Microsoft Management Console
  9. Microsoft Media Player (Tells Microsoft the music and videos you like. See the February 20, 2002 Security Focus article Why is Microsoft watching us watch DVD movies? [securityfocus.com].)
  10. Microsoft Network Availability Test
  11. Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service
  12. Microsoft Windows Media Configuration Utility (Setup_wm.exe, sometimes runs when you use Windows Media Player.)
  13. MS DTC Console program
  14. Run DLL as an app (There is no indication about which DLL or which function in the DLL.)
  15. Services and Controller app
  16. Time Service, sets the time on your computer from Microsoft's computer. (This can be changed to get the time from another time server.)

To generate the above list yourself, disable Microsoft's firewall and use the Zone Labs [zonelabs.com] ZoneAlarm firewall, which is free for personal use. The free version is located at the link Download FREE ZoneAlarm. (You may not want to buy a spyware removal program, as ZoneLabs suggests. Spybot [kolla.de] is a good spyware removal program, and it is free. Also see the Spybot mirror site [ejrs.com]. The former best spyware remover, Ad-Aware [lavasoftusa.com], has not been updated since September, 2002, and supposedly will be updated later in 2003. It seems sensible to wait until it is updated to use it again.) Also, Tiny Personal Firewall is reputed to be a good software firewall for Microsoft Windows. A software firewall is necessary, even for people who have a hardware firewall, and the Microsoft software firewall that comes with Windows XP has very limited features.
When Windows XP tries to connect to another computer, ZoneAlarm will display a dialog box asking whether that is okay. If you say no to some of the requests, some functions of Windows XP will not work (such as networking)."

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