If I Have a Firewall Router Do I Need a Software Firewall?

Your "firewall router" (I love that term) will permit your PC to connect to anything, going out. So, any malware you do get has full rein to do anything it wants to your system, by connecting out to remote hosts.

A personal firewamm *might* help with this, *if* it's properly configured and doesn't get compromised.


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I have a 3Com 3CRWDR100A-72 broadband firewall router. I also run an Outpost software firewall. I find that Outpost causes problems and is difficult to keep properly tuned, also needs its annual licence fee to be paid.

If my PC is sitting behind the 3Com firewall with NAT enabled then do I really need a software firewall as well? I keep up to date with Windows updates.

Any thoughts?


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This question is often asked, and it's always difficult to answer because it's a bit like saying if you have a lock on your front door then do you need locks on your windows too? The answer is that it depends on what type of Windows you have, what area you live in, whether you know how to close the windows, whether you understand who or what is likely to get through the windows and how they might get through and under what circumstances, etc. So the only person who can assess your situation and tell you want you need is yourself. The best way to become able to make an assessment of what you need is to learn as much as you can about the technology behind what you are doing.

Your message gives me the impression that you are knowledgeable enough to understand why additional firewall software is not likely to be worth a license fee.


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Jason Edwards

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Several hundred opinions on this issue.

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"Davy" wrote in news:ya6dnQWQf4k- snipped-for-privacy@brightview.com:

If that router can stop inbound and outbound traffic by port, protocol IP, and has logging, then you can dump the PFW solution. If the router cannnot stop outbound, then you'll want a packet filter or PFW that can stop outbound traffic from the computer as some people supplement the NAT router that cannot stop outbound. It's as simple as that.

Duane :)

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Duane Arnold

Thanks for the link, very useful. It has prompted me to add a little more info about my situation: I run W2000 without administrator privileges except when doing Windows updates. No one else uses my PC. The machine is on a very secure network; file share is enabled but controlled. I don't visit high risk sites such as p*rn or free software, etc. I don't run Outlook Express with the preview pane open. I don't open emails which look dodgy. I use AVG virus protection but only because it is free; it has never detected a virus - not since my ISP started to automatically check emails. I have never been infected by a virus in the 20 years I have been using PCs. I don't seem to be infected by adware. Since installing the 3Com broadband router firewall, Outpost Firewall only reports suppression of popup windows; no attacks detected, no suspicious packets, no blocked out connections, etc.

Outpost Firewall can be difficult to keep configured, especially when in a hurry and I am no longer confident that I have given the right answers to its continual questions. I probably have a compromised Outpost that I cannot really trust.



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You could use the Windows-Firewall, if you're not trusing into the 3com configuration.

Yours, VB.

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Volker Birk

From my apartment, I can find several LANs that are open to anyone. Yours may be like thta. Unless oyu can be certain that nobody can break into your LAN, you need the extra protection of a firewall on your computer.

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