Good free simple firewall for children to use?

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by timnicebutdim, Mar 10, 2005.

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  1. timnicebutdim

    timnicebutdim Registered Member

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    I am helping to set up the computer system round my sisters house for her two children who are very young ( 14, 8 ). They are looking to try out broadband so i need to set them up with some kind of free firewall that will basically run itself in the background.

    It has to be a very simple firewall to operate since they are children who will be using it. I know windows comes with a built in firewall but i am hoping to use something else other than just the default windows firewall.

    It has to be free and simple - protection doesnt have to be brilliant, just basic.

    Any suggestions?
     
  2. Terryala

    Terryala Rest in Peace

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    Like Spanner I too would recomened Zone Alarm Free. Always had good luck with it..

    Grand Dad
     
  3. Michael_aust

    Michael_aust Registered Member

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    I'm 18 now and I recomend like the other two people Zone alarm. The first time I used it I was about 12 or 13 and didnt really know very much about computers someone I knew (adult) recomended I used it, I never encountered any problems with it at all. I just set up what I wanted to acces the net what I didnt, stopped it from showing those warning things and I was sorted never needed to bother about it again. Easy as pie.

    Michael
     
  4. RAV

    RAV Registered Member

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    You might also want to try a paid version of Zone Alarm like ZA Pro because it has so called "expert advice" and automatically will configure common apps. You may even want to go a step further and get the security suite that also includes parental controls for the kids if this is of any concern and an antivirus that all uses the same interface. I agree that any flavor of Zone Alarm would be the best choice for new users and I still prefer it myself. I also highly recommend some anti spyware software- I must admit I really like MS Antispyware because its free, autoupdates, has scheduled scans, and really takes care of business by itself once configured.
     
  5. AvianFlux

    AvianFlux Registered Member

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    A simple firewall? No such thing.

    Windows SP2 firewall is about as simple as it gets. And it's a damn fine firewall, too. It's what I use.

    Just make sure Internet Options Security Zone settings, Privacy (cookies), and the SP2 firewall are configured correctly, and they should have few problems.

    Throw in IE-SPYAD, SpywareBlaster, hpguru's HOSTS file w/eDexter+JavaDog, and they'll be good to go.

    What they don't invite in won't get in.

    PS: They'll also need CleanUP! or CCleaner, ERUNT w/NTREGOPT, RegSeeker, Ad-Aware, SpyBot S&D, HijackThis!, and monthly visits to Trend Micro's House Call, for routine system optimization, maintenance, and cleaning tasks.
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2005
  6. Arup

    Arup Guest

    Zone Alarm is very good and you can also add Sygate Free to your list, comes with default set of rules which are pretty good and all you have to do to set it up is give access permissions.
     
  7. timnicebutdim

    timnicebutdim Registered Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions... i am going to with zone alarm free.

    Does anyone know if i can download service pack 2 so that i can install that also, since they will at first have a dial up internet connection it will take ages doing it from the microsoft website.

    Thanks once again.
     
  8. Diver

    Diver Registered Member

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    With kids the problem is not the firewall. Kids will install Kazaa and every other thing that has all sorts of crapware attached to it in about 5 minutes flat. You could do almost any firewall, but the easiest is actually the sp2 firewall becasue you do not have to spend time setting it up. Anything will keep worms out including a router. With kids application control takes on a different meaning. You have to keep them from installing the stuff in the first place. It is just like a corporate set up where personal firewalls with application control are not used.

    Rather than relying on the firewall for application control you need to take other measures. Any of the good personal firewalls can be set up to keep new stuff from connecting out, none of them that I know of will prevent the installation of spyware in the first place.

    First, the machine must be run in a non administrative account, and for extra measure use Deep Freeze or some other kiosk browsing program. If you do not believe me, I have a computer around here I got for free because its teeage owner so totally messed it up with spyware from free applications that it would no longe run. Deep Freeeze backs up essential system elements and returns the machine to its previous state after each boot. It may have other functions to resist the installation of malware.

    Finally, you are going to want a content filter, and I cannot recommend one, because there is no one young enough around here that needs that sort of protection.

    This is a totally different approach to what most folks are doing around here, but most folks around here are clueless about how kids do things. Most folks want automated security solutions that allow them the fredom to make frequent changes in their machines. Hence, no running in a non administrative mode. Ever hear the expression that user awareness is the most important layer of computer security? With kids that awareness is not present, and the desire to do things that will result in the installation of spyware is very strong.
     
  9. dog

    dog Guest

    To save you the agony of DL'ing SP2 on dial up, you can order (free of charge & free delivery) from Microsoft here - http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/updates/sp2/cdorder/en_us/default.mspx

    ... don't worry about this ;) Most people receive the CD within one week ... I received mine in about 3 days. :)

    Steve
     
  10. nadirah

    nadirah Registered Member

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    If you want a good and easy to use firewall I strongly recommend Sygate Personal Firewall.
    http://smb.sygate.com/download_buy.htm


    To those people who recommended the built-in SP2 firewall, forget it. That built-in firewall only protects against incoming threats but it does NOT protect your computer against outgoing threats. Spanner already said this.
    Microsoft calls the built-in firewall in SP2 Windows Firewall. But, how can you call it a firewall when it only protects you from one avenue of attack!? I will not call that a firewall, its more like a piece of marketing crap by Micro$oft, they just made that firewall for more hype only. Don't you agree with me?
    A REAL firewall is a firewall that is able to protect you from incoming AND outgoing threats. If you have spyware on your computer and you use the built-in firewall in SP2, you're finished or should I say Dead Meat.

    Use a firewall that can protect you bi-directionally.

    note; if you have inquisitive children who use the computer, please attempt to password-secure the firewall to prevent those kids from using it. ;)
    Sygate Personal Firewall can be password-secured. See attached screenshot:
     

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    Last edited: Mar 11, 2005
  11. solarpowered candle

    solarpowered candle Registered Member

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    I agree with Diver here. No one is young enough to appreciate just what a young mind can get upto lol. I really dont think a firewall will be the answer either. As he pointed out it wont stop spyware or a lot of the serious issues out there. So the simpler the better and some thing that cant be easily uninstalled. A non administrative account and Perhaps Some thing like deep freeze may be the answer as suggested by diver . If you are concerned about content and sites etc there are plenty of good software out there that are good at this. If its porn sites etc then some thing like http://www.tryus.dk/enologic.asp
     
  12. RAV

    RAV Registered Member

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    For kids you need to password protect the firewall. If you use ZA Free the kids can click YES to all programs including spyware / adware which is the biggest problem for most PCs today. Another advantage to a password locked firewall is that the kids won't be able to run apps that they download like KAAZA. I highly suggest ZA Security Suite for this feature and for content filtering for the kids. In fact this is what I use at home for 2 computers.
     
  13. Notok

    Notok Registered Member

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    As an alternative, you could get something like ProcessGuard that would fortify your AV and FW, as well as allow you to lock down the system to block new and undesired executables from running. This would stop them from even installing something like Kazaa.
     
  14. cluessnewbie

    cluessnewbie Guest

    No. I don't. Hardware firewalls are mostly one way.
     
  15. nadirah

    nadirah Registered Member

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    I was talking about the built-in firewall in XP SP2. That is Windows Firewall. It is NOT a hardware firewall, its a software firewall. Do you know which firewall I'm talking about? If you're running Windows XP SP2's built-in firewall you should know this firewall.
    Windows Firewall is a SOFTWARE firewall that is one-way only. Windows Firewall is one-way only, but its a software firewall, don't mistake it for a hardware firewall.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2005
  16. Cluessnewbie

    Cluessnewbie Guest

    This is what I disagree with. I gave you examples of firewalls that are only one way.

    Regards
     
  17. AvianFlux

    AvianFlux Registered Member

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    What's good about Windows XP SP2 firewall is its' relative simplicity in contrast to third-party two-way firewalls. Because of its' inherent simplicity it's easier to configure and function as it was meant to.

    Highly configurable third party firewalls are more likely to increase a computers exposure/vulnerability if all of the T's aren't crossed and I's dotted. While they are more powerful then SP2's firewall they're also more complex and difficult to setup correctly for the average computer user.

    I believe, this is the logic Microsoft applied in designing its SP2 firewall, keeping the average user in mind: The KISS, keep it 'simple' stupid, rule.

    When it comes to firewalls the less complicated the better, and the more secure the average users computer will be. Who would know this better than Microsoft itself? They're the ones getting all of the heat.

    XP SP2 is all I use. Don't have any anti-virus protection either. Computers working great with no infections whatsoever.

    Here's a couple of places where you can scan the firewall/browser settings, etc.

    Alkens

    Dozlengs
     
  18. Diver

    Diver Registered Member

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    Actually, the term is not "one way" firewall. The difference is there are some fiewalls that are application aware and some that are not. For the most part, when a firewall is application aware it maintains a list of applications that are allowed to communicate out. The idea is when an authorized application gets on your machine, the firewall alerts you when it phones home. Thing is there are many things you can do to keep unauthorized applications off your machine. If the machine has been hardened using other strategies, there is no real need for the firewall to maintain such a list.

    It is possible for a sophisticated trojan to take control of an authorized application and use it to bypass the firewall. Some of the newer firewalls have process controls to guard against this, but it can make the firewall very difficult to set up in advance. With a children's machine the firewall must be set up in advance so it can be locked down with a password. Tiny, Jetico, LooknStop, and Zone Alarm (when advanced protection is enabled) are of this type, and there are some others.

    Most of the firewalls that are not application aware allow the user to regulate various aspects of outbound traffic, such as only allowing the machine to contact certain IP's with certain services. Frequently this is limiting port 25 to authorized mail servers. CHX-1 and 8Signs are of this type. CHX-1 is free for non commercial use, but it is really a tool for experts. 8Signs is about $50 and easier to use. Both are relatively easy to set up in advance and have provisions to keep the user from changing settings.

    The SP2 firewall is partially application aware. When a program needs a server port to operate, the SP2 firewall will issue a warning and ask the user if he or she wants to grant the application server status. By the way, the most common server applications on home PC's are P2P programs. The SP2 firewall is also very light on resources, and included in the operating system. It may not be the ultimate packet filter, but it will keep worms out.
     
  19. mercurie

    mercurie A Friendly Creature

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    :eek: Oh by all means please make sure you follow this advice especially on a childs' machine. Be sure to teach them that smoking is healthy and nothing will ever happen bad from doing that either.... :rolleyes: ....This is just great advice!!!
     
  20. AvianFlux

    AvianFlux Registered Member

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    You know what? I don't think it's even possible to childproof a networked computer, no matter what you do. Short of disabling every possible user feature, there's really no way.

    How about Sandboxie? Maybe that'll childproof the computer.

    Oh - and tell them to wait until they're older before starting to smoke cigarettes, and drink alcoholic beverages. :D
     
  21. Diver

    Diver Registered Member

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    Avian-

    A computer is child proofed by turning it into a kiosk browser. Sacrifice freedom and flexibility for security. Why is that so hard to see? Actually many adults in various security forums are chasing their tails over the same issue. They all want a foolproof automated setup with the ability to play with the machine and make unlimited changes easily, but there is no such thing. The only way that corporate networks can operate is because the machines are all under policy restrictions. That way no way out stuff that monitors when application A starts application B is needed, and no one worries about leak tests because the proceedures are designed to avoid installing rouge software in the first place.
     
  22. ROnin

    ROnin Guest

    This would be part of inbound protection. :)
     
  23. Diver

    Diver Registered Member

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    Ronin, you are correct. My point is that one way/two way is not a meaningful distinction. The question is about application awarenessl and whether it is present or not. Actually, there a few important tricks that can be done with firewalls without app awareness. However, most firewalls lacking app awareness are able to place limits on trafic going either way. For that reason, they are two way, even though they have no control over which application is accessing the internet.
     
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