I was hacked last week for the first time (that I know of) despite my "secure" system.
I was using Windows firewall. I had disabled many unneeded XP services. I had a Belkin router, a F5D7230-4 model.
I was in a chatroom where some people were talking about hacking in a friendly way and I asked if anyone would like to try hacking me. I asked in a friendly way and asked that if anyone had success that they let me know how they did it so I could secure my system better.
Well someone did it and left me a note in a txt document to prove it but they didn't say HOW they did it. And no one would admit to doing it when I asked. They did not do any damage to my data that i am aware of.
I reformatted and reinstalled Windows XP Pro, four times actually.
I installed Zone Alarm Pro although I'm not sure that I have it optimally configured.
I installed Avast antivirus although I'm not sure that I have it optimally configured either.
I Installed The Cleaner by Moosoft which comes with "TC Active" a trojan scanner which also has monitors live processes for Trojans/Worms and other malicious programs and kills thems before they do damage and "TCMonitor" which keeps track of Registry keys, Files and Folders and alerts to any changes.
I Installed Tauscan, another trojan cleaner that comes with TC Monitor..
Basically I don't really know what I am doing. I'll say it again to ward off flames etc. I don't really know what I am doing.
So I bought a "better" wireless router - a Linksys Wireless-G (WRV54G) with VPN! - but after installing it I failed some online port scans at GRC.com and in addition the tech support guy trying to help me a didn't really know what he was saying. After an afternoon of trying to configure it to work with my software firewall I gave up and reverted to the Belkin and Zone Alarm Pro etc.
So my question is this: What is a good hardward firewall in the under $200.00 range and a good software firewall to go with it? How might I best configure this combo? Any comments would be greatly appreciated.
PS: Please reply in this group so that others may benefit as well.