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Beginners Guides: Firewall Setup and Configuration

Beginners Guides: Firewall Setup and Configuration - PCSTATS
Abstract: Firewalls are a necessity, but configuring them so that every internet-based program still works is often troublesome. With this guide, you can have your Firewall, and MSN File Transfers too.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Jul 31 2007   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Home Internet sharing device firewalls

With the proliferation of broadband Internet, the home Internet sharing device (or router) has become a common feature in homes with more than one computer system. These networking devices are installed between your cable or DSL modem and your computers and almost all include some form of firewall protection to filter the data that enters your network from the Internet.

There are many, many different brands of routers out there, but most function in the same essential way. The firewall can be configured by using a web browser like Internet Explorer to navigate to the router's built-in IP address (consult your documentation for this information). The device contains a set of HTTP web pages which can be used to configure it.

This type of protection is known as a hardware firewall. A hardware firewall is a separate device that guards the entrance to a network, not an individual computer. This introduces a few different factors to configuration, which we will get to in a bit.

PCSTATS
(The Gigabyte GN-B49G Wireless Router)

Unlike the two software firewalls we detailed earlier, hardware firewalls are always active as long as the device itself is switched on. The only basic configuration necessary is to network your computers to the device correctly and enter your Internet connection information. Both of these should be adequately covered by the documentation, so we will leave the basic setup alone. Hardware firewalls offer some additional possibilities and complexities that we will cover later in this article.

Testing your firewall

There are several websites which will allow you to test the security of your PC for free. They accomplish this by running a series of software probes against the Internet address that you give them, searching for vulnerability and weaknesses. This simulates the use of freely available 'scanning' software like GFI's LanGuard which can be used to scan hundreds of systems for security holes in a matter of minutes. Any Internet attached computer can expect to receive several thousand scans like this during its lifetime.

Now that your PC is protected by a firewall, let's test its effectiveness by subjecting your system to a few fake probes.

The following websites will conduct a vulnerability scan of your system, checking to see whether it is visible on the Internet and if there are any unguarded avenues of attack. Follow the directions listed on each site carefully. If you have correctly implemented your firewall as directed above, you should come out with a clean bill of health.

Sheilds Up

PCflank

SygateTech

SCAN NOW SCAN NOW SCAN NOW

Configuring for maximum security

Any firewall product will provide you with basic security, effectively hiding you from potential Internet troublemakers. Some applications let you take further precautions to strengthen your security, though we should note that these settings can cause problems for certain Internet applications, as the reinforced firewalls prevent them from working correctly. Let's take a look at some of the options present in our three sample firewall types.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Firewall Setup and Configuration
 Pg 2.  Activating the Windows XP firewall
 Pg 3.  Zone Lab: Zonealarm
 Pg 4.  — Home Internet sharing device firewalls
 Pg 5.  Strengthening the pre-Service Pack 2 XP Firewall
 Pg 6.  Strengthening Home router firewalls
 Pg 7.  Allowing applications through a Windows XP firewall
 Pg 8.  Configuring Exceptions with the SP2 XP Firewall
 Pg 9.  Hosting with the Windows XP Firewall
 Pg 10.  Virtual Server Firewall Configuration

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