Is XP Firewall Safe?
Here Are The Issues

Amongst XP users, an often asked question is, "Is XP firewall safe?". Some of you will be using the built-in Windows XP firewall. This is switched on by default in new systems, but not in older PCs.

So, is it providing protection equal to the best firewalls?

Well, it's certainly better than no firewall at all! But just consider the following facts, to see whether it sounds like it's going to give you the security you feel you want. We'll be discussing...

  1. What are the issues?
  2. What should we do?
  3. Supporting articles

1. Is XP Firewall Safe?... What Are The Issues?

There are four prime concerns to examine here...

  • Is XP Firewall Safe?... Professional Opinions

    The Windows XP firewall has never been accepted by professionals as a serious firewall -- more, it is a "lite" firewall. And this includes the more recent SP2 version.

    How can this be reconciled with Microsoft's statements that they are now taking their system's security seriously?

  • Is XP Firewall Safe?... A One Way Firewall

    The XP firewall filters traffic coming in to a computer, but won't stop information leaving our computer. So, if spyware, for instance, has infected our PC, the firewall won't prevent it sending our stolen information to a third party.

  • Is XP Firewall Safe?... Unsecure Code

    The XP firewall will block access like any other software firewall.

    However, the settings which determine access permission are stored in the registry. A number of viruses, worms and spyware programs can edit these registry settings and give themselves permission to send or receive data over the Internet.

    Good firewalls encrypt these settings in a file that can't be tampered with. This mistake in the writing of the XP firewall program is a costly one for XP user's security.

  • Is XP Firewall Safe?... Unsecure Operation

    It was recently discovered that the XP firewall interface won't even tell the user about specific opened ports, allowing malicious programs permission to bypass the firewall.

2. Is XP Firewall Safe?... What Should We Do?

So, is XP firewall safe? The short answer is 'no' for most users.

It's a lite firewall that does half the job of protecting our PCs from attack. By only filtering incoming traffic, unless we can guarantee our computers are free of all malware and our system and software patches are up-to-date, there is a high risk that...

  • Spyware can be sending out our personal information
  • As a result of worm or Trojan infection, our PC's could be spam zombies or Denial Of Service machines -- and this will be going on without our knowledge

The first step in reclaiming secure protection of our data flow is to select a top performing firewall. Depending on what we use our computer for, we can download a free software firewall, or purchase a commercial software or hardware firewall.

If, like most people, you're not sure what firewall is most appropriate for you, then I suggest you...

  1. Take a look at A Commercial Or Free Firewall Download For Your PC?. After reading this, you'll feel confident about which of the three types to go for.

    Even if you decide you are going to purchase a hardware firewall, you'll still need to install a good software firewall. This is all explained in the article.

  2. Next, choose the specific firewall you're going to install on your PC to replace the XP firewall. To help you smoothly bypass the marketing hype, there is a choice of the best firewalls for each type at Commercial And Free Firewall Download Reviews for software firewalls.

Once you've chosen your specific firewall, download the software. Once it's downloaded, the XP firewall needs to be switched off... operating two firewalls at the same time can cause instability on your system.

To switch off Windows firewall, first ensure you are disconnected from the Internet or your network. This prevents any intruders gaining access to your PC while you do not have a firewall enabled.

Switching off the XP firewall is simple. On your PC, click,

  • 'START'
  • then 'CONTROL PANEL'
  • From the list of functions that appear, scroll down and click on 'SECURITY CENTER'
  • At the bottom of the window, you'll see 'MANAGE SECURITY SETTINGS FOR:'. Click on 'WINDOWS FIREWALL'
  • A new widow appears with a choice of 'ON' or 'OFF'. Just click the 'OFF' button.

Finally, go to the file where you have saved your new software firewall. Click on the application and install it.

Spend a little time getting a feel for the options and setting the configuration that best suits your usage. Then test that your firewall is secure with an external scan.

Now you are all set with a secure and tested firewall!

Now we've answered the question, "Is XP firewall safe?", you may find these other articles helpful in building your knowledge and confidence in the use of your firewall...

3. Is XP Firewall Safe?... Supporting Firewall Articles

  1. Free And Buy Firewalls Reviewed. Imagine what it would feel like to connect to the Internet and know you are fully protected from intruders. Well, it's within your grasp!
  2. Free Or Buy Firewalls? The Pros And Cons. There are three "types" of firewall to choose from. We can buy firewalls -- software and hardware -- or we can use a free firewall download. But which type is best for our computer?
  3. How Firewalls Work And Security Terms Explained. Hardware and software firewalls work and secure traffic in different ways. You'll want to understand this to get the best security for your bucks!
  4. Choosing The Best Wireless Router Speed. When choosing the best wireless router, some of the speed terms and claims made by marketers can be confusing. Here, they are explained.
  5. The Best Wireless Router... How To Maximize Security. With basic security configuration, a wireless connection can be accessed by other computers and crackers in the vicinity. Learn how to ensure your router is protected.
  6. What Are The Effects Of Computer Hacking?. Explains how malicious hackers target our PCs, what the effects are and how we can protect ourselves.


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