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Windows 7 Thread, Is Windows 7 Firewall good enough for home use? in Technical; The last version of Windows I maintained at home before moving to Linux was XP. It was necessary to ensure ...
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    Is Windows 7 Firewall good enough for home use?

    The last version of Windows I maintained at home before moving to Linux was XP. It was necessary to ensure you had AV, Firewall and malware checkers installed and running.

    My mother has purchased a W7 laptop and asked me to "make it safe from all those nasties on the Internet". I've turned on Automatic Updates and installed Avast already but is there anything else I should do apart from regular maintenance?

    Should I download a recommend Firewall program or will the W7 Firewall be fine?

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    synaesthesia's Avatar
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    Built in, along with whatever's in the average router, will be absolutely more than enough. Nasties will still get through as that's the way of the world, and the only thing that would be able to cripple anything are directed exploits for existing software; a weakness of *any* OS and several components therein, and as you already know you can minimise that with a decent AV (would probably suggest MSE over Avast! - less hassle) and automatic updates.

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    stickyfoot (29th April 2012)

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    RabbieBurns's Avatar
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    +2 for MSE

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    stickyfoot (1st May 2012)

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Hmm I've used MSE before at home but found it a pain - use avast and the school I've just left use it across the network on all client machines and servers - works really well!

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    stickyfoot (1st May 2012)

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    @all:

    I have used MSE for the past 2 years on all my computers and laptops throughout my family and have found that it is the only thing you need. It is excellent and its free, well done Microsoft.

    +++ for me

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    stickyfoot (1st May 2012)

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    No mention of if you are after free or paid as far as any of this ( anti virus / anti malware etc )

    As long as the router is a reasonable make i.e. link sys / net gear or the likes then firewall should be fine, if you do want to use firewall software on said pc then I was thinking either

    Zone Alarm Free :

    Best Free Firewall Software for Download: Personal Firewall by ZoneAlarm

    Commodo

    Firewall, Personal Firewall Software, Free Internet Fire wall PC- COMODO

    I know a lot of people go for Commodo firewall over zone alarm ( meant to be pretty good )

    As far as Anti Virus I would say Paid for either Vipre or NOD32 by eset, if free then as above Avast

    As far as malware I normally tend to use malware bytes or super anti spyware and I think McAffee took over HiJackThis ( so they have this for getting rid of malware from IE )

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    Quote Originally Posted by stickyfoot View Post
    Should I download a recommend firewall program or will the W7 firewall be fine?
    There hasn't been a need to install a third-party firewall since XP SP2. There is even less of a reason with the advanced firewall built-in to Windows 7. A firewall also isn't going to help much once the malware is on the computer after being downloaded via your web browser.

    Quote Originally Posted by mac_shinobi View Post
    Zone Alarm Free
    ZoneAlarm is a PoS and completely unnecessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by stickyfoot View Post
    is there anything else I should do
    Here are a few things I do to keep my parents PC safe from nasties (after a lesson on Internet safety )...

    • Create a separate standard user account for them to use and set this to automatically login. I am the only person who knows the administrator password.
    • Install Google Chrome, set this as the default browser and tell them to use this for "the Internet" from now on.
      • Install the Adblock Plus extension to block malicious adverts.
      • Install the Search Engine Security extension to block your browsers referer when visiting websites from search engines. The main purpose is to prevent the installation of drive-by malware on compromised websites that only install themselves when they detect you are coming from a search engine like Google.
      • Install the HTTPS Everywhere extension to force the use of HTTPS on popular websites where it is supported.
      • Uninstall the Flash Player plug-ins for IE and Firefox, because Chrome comes with its own version of Flash Player which is updated automatically without prompting the user and is more secure (at least in theory).

    • Uninstall Java.
    • Install Internet Explorer 9 even if it isn't going to be used (since it is more secure than IE8 and hotfixes for IE9 do not require reboots).
    • Use the OpenDNS servers (208.67.222.222 and 208.67.220.220) on the router to block malware.
    • Install Microsoft's Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET), click the 'Configure System' button and select the 'Maximum Security Settings' profile. For a great overview of EMET, please see Didier Steven's article here (pages 10-13) or this article on enabling bottom-up ASLR for applications like Adobe Reader (also recommended). Some programs do not like things such as DEP being forced on, so you may need to adjust the settings. i.e. change Always On to Application Opt-Out.
    • Make sure all third-party software is up-to-date. Secunia PSI helps if you have a lot. Uninstall apps which are no longer used.
    • Install a good anti-virus program. Review effectiveness annually.
    • Install the free version of LogMeIn for remote support.
    Last edited by Arthur; 28th April 2012 at 04:57 PM.

  13. 5 Thanks to Arthur:

    Duke5A (30th April 2012), flyinghaggis (29th April 2012), mac_shinobi (2nd May 2012), RabbieBurns (30th April 2012), stickyfoot (29th April 2012)

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    As others have stated, since XP Windows has had a built in Firewall. It should be noted however that XP SP2's Firewall was enabled by default, although it only monitored incoming traffic and not outgoing. Windows Vista's and 7's Firewall do monitor incoming and outgoing traffic by default. Windows XP Gold and SP1 did have a Firewall, but it wasn't enabled by default for some daft reason, which Microsoft later regretted with Blaster infecting millions of computers worldwide.

    I agree also, the majority of people access the web via a router, which is an additional layer of security. I think the last time I used the likes of Zone Alarm or WinZip was in the Windows 98 days

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    mac_shinobi (2nd May 2012), stickyfoot (29th April 2012)

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    Agree using a standard account and MSE is good idea.

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    stickyfoot (1st May 2012)

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    IMO for home users Microsoft's built-in firewall and Security essentials AV are more than enough. If it wasn't for the AV providers throwing money at OEM's like Dell/HP to bundle their software with new computers and PC world trying to make a quick buck punting them with every new PC they sell I'd be surprised if they had any home-user market share left whatsoever!

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    Thank you all for your advice; I uninstalled Avast and downloaded MSE. She was desperate to get playing on it so when I next get chance I'll work through Arthur's list of other things to consider as well.

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    As per Arthurs suggestion completely ignore zone alarm as it is rubbish, if you did want to go with a software firewall then commodo. On the AV and anti malware side it may be worth while setting 2 seperate schedulates that won't run at the same time so they are at least being run at least once a week ?

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    Hardware firewall on a good router should help. However the best bet is to get a good AV package with it's own Firewall (like Kaspersky). That will cover you for most nasties!



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