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Windows 7: virus infections

14 May 2011   #1

Windows XP
virus infections

hey gang. I work at a service depot as a depot technician. I'm studying the MCTS, and a few of my collegues were discussing infections and how they're related to having or not having a NAT firewall device (hardware; i.e. router). Their argument was that not having a router vs. having a router would not affect the amount or types of infections on a computer. I feel this is not a valid argument. However, finding factual information on the internet is hard to that affect (one of the technicians claimed that he could find anything to agree or disagree with anything on the internet these days; pretty valid statement for the most part). If anyone can provide me with information pertaining to this with references from respected organizations, I would be very grateful. Thank you in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2011   #2

Windows 7 64 bit SP1

Well, the answer is that your friends are both right and wrong. A hardware firewall is not a requirement, but it is a lot easier and is less prone to actions taken by the user (such as agreeing to let something install itself).

Windows 7 has a great firewall built-in, which means that connecting it directly to the internet can be just as safe as using a hardware firewall, *IF* it is configured correctly. that is, you have the firewall set to Public Location.

The problem is that the Windows 7 firewall can be easily disabled by trojans that the user agrees to install, and allows via UAC. Or, if the user turns off UAC, then any exploit can disable the firewall, making sensitive ports open to the internet. Luckily, Windows 7 also has sensible defaults for file sharing and most other ports, but those can be turned on as well.

Also, if you have more than one computer in a household, you should have a hardware firewall as well, even if your router allows multiple public IP addresses. This allows you to use file sharing safely within the local network.

A hardware firewall is largely a "set it and forget it" kind of device, and it's so cheap that there's little reason to not use one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2011   #3

Windows 7 & Windows Vista Ultimate

Hi, dlancelot.

Welcome to Seven Forums.

To supplement Mystere's response, more and more households have become multi-PC families. As a result, there are increasing numbers of home networks with at least one, and often two or more, wireless connections. Your colleagues may find this interesting: Insecure Wi-Fi Results in Police Raid.

Having a router isn't a fail safe against infection but it can help. Consider also that if a "neighbor" can use your Wi-Fi connection, they may also be able to access your documents.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 May 2011   #4

Debian Squeeze Stable 64-bit

I'd also forget about wireless and use Ethernet if you want a bit of extra security in addition to firewalls. Whenever I set up networks for friends, I always run Cat5, wireless is slower, prone to interference, and insecure.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 virus infections

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