Dont Toss That Personal Firewall
Opinion: The new Windows Firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 2 is a big step forward and should make systems safer in general, but if you want to be serious about security you need more.The new firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 2 is not by any means the most important security advance in the service pack. Other changes, principally locking down the My Computer zone in Internet Explorer, will have more profound implications for security of the average system. But its not unimportant. Had Microsoft done the Internet Connection Firewall in the initial Windows XP this waythat is more aggressive, less troublesome for normal networking uses, and on by defaultit would have prevented a lot of the damage caused by Blaster, Sasser, Slammer and some lesser attacks. Microsoft pointed out at the time that users who ran ICF were safe from those attacks, but that missed the point: Why would anyone run ICF when it interfered with the ability to do many normal networking operations? Windows Firewall, as the new ICF is known, is a much better program. Ive been running it for months now, and it hasnt interfered with anything. In fact, Ive barely noticed it. You may already have realized that this is a clue to some of the problems with it.
Read all about Microsofts battle to deliver secure software in eWEEK.coms special report on