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Thread: Hardware Firewall

  1. #1
    michaelandjolou Guest

    Default Hardware Firewall

    I realise that this may not be particularly "PC" in this forum, but one of my wife's credit cards has recently been compromised.
    I am currently using Zone Alarm Pro, but my wife does not always trust me when I advise her to enter the card details in 'My Vault'.
    In this instance the details were not in there.

    Can anybody recommend a Hardware Firewall that will run well in conjunction with Zone Alarm Pro to further protect us against the criminal element.
    I am running XP Home on a Mesh PC. If you need any further details to assist with your advice, please let me know in this forum and
    I
    will let you know as necessary.


    Operating System:Windows XP Home Edition
    Product Name:ZoneAlarm Pro
    Software Version:6.0

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    9,057

    Default Re: Hardware Firewall

    Hi It is absolutely disgusting that any theft or compromise of security is happening on the home-use pc. I have a low cost Netgear RP614v3 ( version 3 is the latest version) Home-Router. It does the SPI (Stately Packet Inspection) as well as NAT. Navigating to it, thru the IE, the admin can select appropiate "block" words. Mine are just for porn and such, but this could easily be applied to "credit" and other charge/ account words. I think many of the home firewall/routers have this feature. The "Alpha Shield" personal firewall will also perform the safety features, by default. The developers declare it as RTA (Real Time Authorization). It does the stealth of ports, packet inspection, opens and closes ports as needed, and keeps out unauthorized connections (proof is when I occasionally see the input LED blinking REd instead of Green - means there is somebody knocking on my door and they can not get in). It is a bit on the pricey side, however it is 100% Plug and Play, very user friendly, has a manual/automatic internet lock and is very portable for travelling. Look for alphashield.com. I use both devices at the same time with no conflict what so ever. The vault feature of the ZA should be enabled with the more private information- it does the job very well. Oldsod
    Best regards.
    oldsod

  3. #3
    fwguru Guest

    Default Re: Hardware Firewall

    To be honest I think you will find you were most likely compromised by activity from your wife's machine rather than a "hack" from the outside.

    (Home) hardware firewalls are only really protection against intrusions from the Internet - if they start messing with outbound connections then you can run into an administrative nightmare, plus there are certain things which are impossible for them to look at such as SSL traffic (all encrypted).


    That said, it IS still worth using a NAT-capable router and have your machines access the Internet through that, but I wouldn't buy one on the premise that it has a "built-in firewall" as the default inbound protection NAT offers suffices for most of the potential issues from the untrusted network.

    I would recommend installing AV, ensuring it is always up to date and ensuring it is always RUNNING - some malware will disable AV as their first course of action, so you don't get alerted when they do something naughty.
    Personally I use Avast! (www.avast.com).

    Also, I would recommend getting Rootkit Revealer from www.sysinternals.com and scanning your system for hidden malware which traditional AV can't detect - there are "rootkit" methods of hiding files, registry keys and processes which malware are starting to adopy more and more.

    If you are logged in as administrator users normally, then DON'T.
    Create normal limited-access user accounts for day-to-day stuff, only logging in as an admin for required operations such as software installs or Windows Updates.
    Any malware that you run (directly or indirectly via a vulnerability in an app) will run with your privilege level - why make it higher than it needs to be?

    Check out also other anti spyware/malware tools such as MS AntiSpyware, Spybot Search & Destroy, AdAware.

    Trend Micro also have an online scan tool which is pretty good.

    Finally, if you have been compromised then you should FORMAT THIS MACHINE and start clean - do not trust it in its current state, even if you think you have removed all traces of spyware.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hardware Firewall

    Basically any home router you purchase these days will be effective in hiding your computer from outside hackers. For my money the Linksys wireless g router is a great choice. It is chea($70), versatile in that you can set up
    both an ethernet cable
    and a wireless network with it, it is fast and it offers Wireless encryption security so you can sit in the garden with your laptop and surf the internet without any worries of being hacked.CompUSA sells it on their internet site
    Linksys Wireless-G Broadband Router, 802.11g,bManufacturer: Linksys



    Mfg Part #: WRT54G
    Product Number: 299891

    Message Edited by ledoc on 04-01-200610:07 AM

  5. #5
    michaelandjolou Guest

    Default Re: Hardware Firewall



    Thanks for your help everybody.


    Now that the initial shock has subsided, we had just come back from the pub, we can't be sure that it even originated as a hack.
    I think we've just got to take a step back and have a good think about how we use this computer.
    I have though managed to persuade my wife to enter all her card numbers in the ZA Pro
    vault and shown her how to use the trusted sites facility with the vault.


    I particularly liked the Rootkit revealer and logging on as Limited user, although I'm not sure whether to keep my files and folders private when prompted.
    Perhaps whoever posted that thought could offer some advice.
    i shall also be re-formatting the system back to the factory settings in the not to distant future also. I'm sure that I can manage to find that old backup somewhere,
    but not entirely sure that a sleepless weekend will be good for my health.

    If anybody does see a suspicious character in Houston, Texas and carrying my credit card, can you give them a swift kick up the backside for me? Be sure you take a photo. It would cheer me up no end!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    9,057

    Default Re: Hardware Firewall

    Hi MichaelandJolou Glad to hear the vault is enabled-it's there, it's paid for and it works! Maybe a format and reinstall is not a bad thing IF YOU are absolutely sure of a rootkit/unremoveable malware. In many cases it is the only way to be 99.99% sure of removing rootkits. It is noteable to see that certain antivirus software is now keeping up with the presemt times and have some limited rootkit detection integrated with it's guards and scanners. Newer to-to-be version 6 from Kaspersky does this as well. Antispy such as SpySweeper from webroot will detect rootkits. Ewido has made the promise that it's future version 4 will have rootkit detection and removal as well (when they actually get around to making the newer release). Consider something like Eraser or disk bleacher (performing usually at military or government standards) which will permanently remove any chance of recovering the deleted traces of any personal or private information from your hard drive. No traces could ever be read or recovered from the malware scan thus making it useless to the malware hacker. Unfortunately I live in Canada so I am not wearing my kicking boots! Take care Oldsod
    Best regards.
    oldsod

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