Monday, March 22, 2010

A user's guide to firewalls (no hitchhikers through the Galaxy please); how good is Windows Firewall on its own?

Terrence O’Brien has an important high-level article on firewalls on “Switched”, offered to AOL subscribers Sunday, “Erect a firewall to protect your PC”, with an amusing illustration, link here.

He makes an interesting analogy between IP addresses and long distance telephone numbers (country code included), and port numbers on your computer as direct-dial extensions.

He also advises that, while operating systems normally offer their own firewalls, users with Windows XP need a third party firewall for sufficient security functionality. The firewalls that come with Windows Vista and Windows 7 are, he says, far more sufficient. Other writers have criticized Vista’s firewall as not being adequate in a wireless environment with outgoing packets, possibly inviting drive-by hacks.

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