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turn off router firewall


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shaw5001 shaw5001 is offline
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06-Nov-2008, 10:12 AM #1
turn off router firewall
Hey Guys,
This may be a stupid question but I,m not that bright anyway.
Is it safe to turn off the firewall on my westell 327 router if I have my ATT security suite firewall running. I was having trouble forwarding my ports until I turned it off. I'm running a home network and this computer is ethernet connected to my LAN.

Thanks in advance
shaw5001
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JAP1st JAP1st is offline
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06-Nov-2008, 12:26 PM #2
Hi, my reply is more an advise based on personal experience (and about what I have read) rather than an absolute answer. Now it's your time to get a cup of coffee because I have realised I made it quite long...

I believe that the answer to your question depends on the security needs of every user (web-surfing habits, ability to recognize potentially harmful websites and files, types of internet applications used, etc.).

You will likely read that it's not necessary to have two security "devices" (hardware or software) in your computer or network. Furthermore, having a duplicated security system may cause some errors due to a lack of synchronization or even a counter effect between the two devices. And that's probably the cause of your problem with the port forwarding. So, if you have a third party software antivirus or firewall, it is recommended that you disable your OS internal counterparts (assuming you use Windows). Naturally, some people more concerned with security may tell you that you can never be too safe.

If you are careful about where you surf and what you download, maintain your computer clean, have a nice security suite and most importantly, your computer is connected to a trusted network (at home, office or education institution) then you can probably conform with only one firewall.

Regarding the specific Westell router vs. ATT Security suite decision, I can't give you a precise answer because I'm not familiar with any of those two. What I can tell you is that, if you decide to have only one firewall, hardware firewalls are usually considered more robust than software firewalls (in the sense that they provide you with better security), although they are somewhat more difficult to configure (in relation to their software counterparts). Thus if you are on a home network a hardware firewall will be more effective in that it will provide security not only to your main computer, but also to any computer you connect later.

On the other hand, if you usually don't give much attention to your system's state, cannot be certain of the reliability of the web pages you visit or connect your computer to public networks (assuming it is a laptop with wireless capabilities), then yo should probably keep your software firewall. This particular advice is strengthened in view of the wide range of software firewalls that come bundled with protection against trojans, spyware and virus. The problem, of course, is that many of them are of a commercial nature and cost you some money (although they have their free versions which are usually quite good).

Personally, I have both the router firewall and the software firewall up and running. If you decide to keep both firewalls, you have to make sure their rules do not override each other and that they actually work synchronously. I cannot recommend you to move away from ATT Security Suite, because I do not know it, but if you get tired of it or you start doubting its reliability, then I would recommend you this security personalised bundle:

Firewall: Comodo Firewall Pro - it's free, regarded as one of the best software firewalls today, with quick learning curve and an easy GUI for beginner or advanced configuration.

Antivirus: Avira or AVG - both have free versions which are quite good, also widely recommended. I don't know about the latest AVG version, but Avira also includes an anti-rootkit scan option.

Antispyware: Spybot which is a powerful and free application for spyware prevention and removal. You can accompany it with Spyware Blaster which is basically a spyware prevention tool.

If you are almost paranoid about your security, then you can also get Keyscrambler (an anti-keylogger) and JonDo (a proxy anonymization software to prevent spies from getting your real IP address).

I hope this helps you make a decision right for you.
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