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Zone alarm and networking

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 4:56 pm
by boozealot
Hi Folks,

I've finally managed to network my desktop pc and notebook (wirelessly) via my linksys wag200g modem router. There is one problem, when I have my zonealarm turned on, my notebook is unable to sharefolders. Would appreciate people's views on:

1) Is zone alarm necessary as a firewall or is windows firewall sufficient? Are there free firewall programs which people recommend?
2) How would I overcome the above problem? I have tried going into the firewall setting under "zones" and have added the ip of my desktop (in my zone alarm settings to allow it to "enter", however it appears to still block access when zone alarm is on.

Cheers

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 6:26 pm
by bennyvo
If you close zone alarn down and your able to share then all you have to do is Allow the connection with your laptop, you properly have accidentally Block it when it ask, so just Allow it.

Not many would recommend using zone alarm.
Since I use Nod32 as my anti-virus, people recommended using Comodo Firewall, its free and did the job well. Since I install it, my network with my laptop work just fine.

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:31 pm
by boozealot
Appreciate your help bennyvo.

My intention was to unblock zonealarm, unfortunately it seems to do it automatically when i turn it back on and was wondering how to go about it?

But may give your program a go.

Cheers,

Posted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:42 pm
by CoreyPlover
Zone Alarm's (and other programs') firewall services are for the most part unnecessary. Firewalls perform 2 tasks:

1. They prevent unauthorised inbound access to your network from the wider network (i.e. internet). This function is already performed by your LinkSys router. By default, firewall rules are enabled on your router so that data is only allowed through if the initial connection was made from inside your network. This means that "replied to" traffic such as web page requests, download requests, etc are allowed through but externally initiated traffic is blocked.

2. They prevent unauthorised outbound traffic. This means that unusual traffic going out from your computer will sometimes trigger a firewall rule and a message will pop up asking you whether you wish to allow the program to send information. This is useful to stop malware sending requests if your computer gets infected. Windows firewall can perform this service. In addition, plain common sense and regular virus scanning can prevent the infections from happening in the first place.

So the two reason to have a firewall are actually negated because other hardware / software can perform them. Me personally, I rely on my router for inbound protection and common sense & regular malware / virus scanning for protection from computer infections. The additional resources and loading time that Zone Alarm takes does not (in my opinion) justify the small functionality it may provide.

Re: Zone alarm and networking

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:54 pm
by austdata
G'day Corey,
Older versions of Zone Alarm firewalled systems very nicely and used few resources. I'm not so sure about now though.

The most effective part of Zone Alarm was, I believe, its ability to stop almost all hostile outbound Internet traffic.

As far as I'm aware, ADSL modem/router firewalls don't offer the same level of protection. Although the inbound protection is generally quite acceptable and probably better than I'd expect from Zone Alarm.

One other point I'd like to make about network protection. It is a very good idea to assume that danger lurks inside the firewall protected area. Every computer on a network needs to be protected from every other. Quite simply, if one is cracked the menace will be contained.

I'm told but have no personal experience, that in larger environments it can be done at the node level so switches and routers protect themselves too.

I'd like to have a look at a set up like that. :D

Cheers,

Mike

Posted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:24 pm
by boozealot
Thanks Mike for your feedback as well.

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 3:34 pm
by bennyvo
I have not use zonealarm for a long time so I can't really show you the exact step. Look in the network control rules or something like that in zonealarm and Allow them.

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:32 pm
by Omo
FYI

Zonealarm is crap. Just use the Firewall that came with your router

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:36 pm
by CoreyPlover
omo wrote:Just use the Firewall that came with your router
...in combination with Windows firewall / regular anti virus system scans to prevent malicious outbound traffic (i.e. spyware)

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:38 pm
by Omo
That as well

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 4:38 pm
by David_h
I disagree with zonealarm being crap.

I use it personally and find that it can be helpful with blocking certain traffic that comes from the pc It is also good for blocking certain portions of programs, however it must be used intelligently.

A router firewall will not block certain traffic initiated by programs on local PC's unless it's configured specifically not to do so (this is the function of upnp in the router)

So I can for example, play world of warcraft, but block the underlying p2p functionality that's used to distribute patches.

But that's an example only I haven't done that :P

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 6:08 pm
by CLoSeR
Zone Alarm will give many users trouble, not because its its a poor program, but because many people dont know how to use or configure it properly. You really need to know what your doing, and understand basic firewall principles.

If configured correctly, im sure its fine.

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:28 pm
by boozealot
thanks everybody for their comments,

on your point closer, how would you suggest configuring zonealarm so allow my notebook to be accessible to my desktop.

i thought i did the correct thing but entering my ip address into my desktop zone alarm settings as a trusted ip, but this doesn't appear to have worked. any suggestions?

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:16 pm
by austdata
boozealot wrote:thanks everybody for their comments,

on your point closer, how would you suggest configuring zonealarm so allow my notebook to be accessible to my desktop.

i thought i did the correct thing but entering my ip address into my desktop zone alarm settings as a trusted ip, but this doesn't appear to have worked. any suggestions?
When I used Zone Alarm and I managed to mangle the settings, I'd remove the program and start again. That's probably more than what's required, but after that it would prompt for all the settings again. That's when I'd usually pick up where I'd entered the wrong setting.

Cheers,

Mike

Posted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:23 pm
by David_h
To configre it to transfer files, you need to enter the ip in the trusted zone for both PC's this is because connections under windows aren't stricktly speaking 1 way exclusively.

What happens is that your laptop is connecting to the desktop, and the desktop is replying, but on the laptop, it's being blocked by Zonealarm as incoming traffic. So you need to set it as trusted on both pc's