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TOPIC: Windows Firewall vs. Router Firewall vs. Norton Firewall?

Windows Firewall vs. Router Firewall vs. Norton Firewall? 14 years 1 month ago #6043

Hi Everyone. I'm trying to determine from professionals (since I'm technically not one) how to make the choice between router firewalls like the ones typically built into home routers like the Linksys befsr41 for example, Windows XP's new SP2 firewall, and "other" 3-rd-party software firewalls like Norton, McAfee, etc.

I don't care about "advanced" features like privacy monitoring of outgoing text strings (passwords, account numbers, etc.), blocking of certain applications from sending outgoing packets, etc. that the 3rd-party firewalls all seem to offer. I just want "relatively" good firewall security from incoming threats.

I mostly install small home networks and ease of use and no configuration hassles or problems by the end-users after I leave is the major concern.

I have had people tell me everything from "the more firewalls the better", implying I should turn on ALL the above silumtaneously, to "more than just the hardware firewall" for my application as mentioned above is probably overkill and a waste of time (config) and money, not to mention Windows overhead.

I would greatly appreciate the opinions of experienced pros.

Thanks a lot.
Chicago, IL USA

Re: Windows Firewall vs. Router Firewall vs. Norton Firewall? 14 years 1 month ago #6045

The firewall topology that I feel most comfortable with is with a hardware firewall providing NAT, packet filtering, and rule based policies. This is placed between the Untrusted zone and my LAN. In a home network, this would be between the cable modem and your LAN switch.

I also utilize a software firewall on each host machine on the network. This provides defense-in-depth with basic firewalling for both incoming traffic AND outgoing. A simple firewall like Tiny or ZoneAlarm works well for this purpose.

In a basic configuration like you are describing for small home networks, you might be inclined to go only with a basic FW like a Linksys or Netgear. However, I feel that the extra step of installing and tweaking a host FW is well worth it.

Re: Windows Firewall vs. Router Firewall vs. Norton Firewall? 14 years 1 month ago #6046

Im currently using sygate pro on the desktop running to an IPcop linux box..
Sahir Hidayatullah. Staff - Associate Editor & Security Advisor
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