For this lab, I chose the workshops focusing on the use of firewalls (Using Firewalls). My previous knowledge on this topic was very limited. I knew that it was important to have a firewall on your computer to prevent others from accessing your information. I completed all the workshops relating to firewalls as it was one the topic that knew the least about and after I completed the first session, I wanted to learn more. The information I found out from this workshop was very interesting and is making me re-think the way I have the current firewall set up on my computer.
The main think that I learned about firewalls is that there are differences types. There are hardware and software firewalls. It is important to know how each protects your computer because they protect in different ways. Hardware firewalls are found in routers that individuals often use to create a home wireless network. For example, a Netgear wireless router is an example of a hardware firewall. Software firewalls are installed on your computer and block access to your computer by unwanted individuals. ZoneAlarm is an example of a software firewall (and it's FREE!). The information that surprised me the most was the firewall information regarding Windows. In Windows XP, the Windows firewall was turned off by default so users had to manual turn it on (which I can imagine was not done often). With the release of service pack 2, this firewall was turned on by default; however, Windows firewall only blocks inbound transmission leaving outbound transmission vulnerable. This information about firewalls is something that I will definitely share with others. I think that most computer users focus on virus protection, but forget (or don't) know that others can access your computer without your knowledge.
I was also very interested in the ShieldsUP! website and diagnostic information. I decided to run the "tests" on my laptop. The results are as follows and I must say, I was very happy with the results.
- For file sharing, my computer in FULL STEALTH MODE.
- For common ports, my computer rated the following:
Your system has achieved a perfect "TruStealth" rating. Not a single packet — solicited or otherwise — was received from your system as a result of our security probing tests. Your system ignored and refused to reply to repeated Pings (ICMP Echo Requests). From the standpoint of the passing probes of any hacker, this machine does not exist on the Internet. Some questionable personal security systems expose their users by attempting to "counter-probe the prober", thus revealing themselves. But your system wisely remained silent in every way. Very nice.
- All ports, the first 1056 ports were stealth.