Windows Firewall Control (WFC) by BiniSoft.org

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by alexandrud, May 20, 2013.

  1. alexandrud

    alexandrud Developer

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    The current version of WFC, 5.4.0.0 is free and does not have a time limit, so this version is free forever :) I will keep you updated on this. I do not take decisions anymore.
     
  2. OrangeDoorHinge

    OrangeDoorHinge Registered Member

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    I found a "bug":

    In Malwarebytes Premium, when you have the "Enable self-protection module early start" enabled, the WFC service doesn't start resulting in a black icon with a "!".

    In this case, the event viewer simply reads "Can't connect to Windows Firewall Control service. The service is not running.". The only way to start the service is to go to services.msc and restart the service manually (I've tried having it automatically try to restart every 1 minute indefinitely, but that doesn't work either).

    When you turn off the early protection module, WFC service starts as it should with no issues.

    Also I have a request:

    Is it possible in the future to make the program block incoming traffic as well, and notify me asking to block/allow like it does outgoing traffic? Thanks.
     
  3. Rksh

    Rksh Registered Member

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    Heh. Lets be honest we mostly use this software to deny internet access to "good" programs that we feel don't need it. In other words we have telemetry in tool we use heavily to stop or limit telemetry in other programs :)
    Anyway data that you are trying to collect doesn't look that invasive. It should alleviate some worries (at least for more flexible users).
     
  4. AmigaBoy

    AmigaBoy Registered Member

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    The Windows Firewall already does this on incoming connections, both the blocking and the notifications.
     
  5. Roberteyewhy

    Roberteyewhy Registered Member

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    I have MB Premium with 'Enable self-protection module early start' engaged and no problems with WFC 5.4.

    Win 10 Pro x64

    Robert
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike Registered Member

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    There are two principals in pricacy and data protection:
    - Collect only data, which you need to fulfill the job
    - Don't use the collected data for anything else

    The problem is, how companies treat their customers. They don't clearly state, what data they collect (because then it's easy to collect more at any time). There's no transparency and most don't respect these two principals.

    It's technically necessary, that the website knows my IP to deliver the service, it's technically not needed, to count the users, check from which country/isp is the user...
    An even better example are cookies. Most websites don't work without. So, nowadays, on any website, I get a warning "We use cookies". I know that, I have no problems with cookies in general. But most owners of websites also use cookies to track users and build profiles. The warning doesn't change anything. I can accept cookies or the website won't work in most cases. So I'm using an addon to block third party cookies and scripts - and to filter the useless cookie warnings.

    I don't login to accounts of these special candidates, but I'm sure, the people there are smart enough to know me in spite of blocking their like button's and ad networks and...

    - You created a great software without collecting this data before. The argument, that companies collect this data to improve the software quality isn't completely honest. I admit, it could help...
    So thank you for your honesty.
    - I guess the problem is not, the data you collect for now, but what you might collect in the next version.
    - You stated how to prevent WFC from sending this data by blocking it. I would have preferred if you had implemented an option to simply disable it in the GUI.

    Microsoft needs that data (and more) to provide the correct updates via automatic updates. They don't need it to calculate market shares and whatever.
    There are plenty of users trying to disable the "telemetry features" of windows and dislike automatic updates for exactly that reason. There are plenty of users, which use your software WFC to get the control over their applications phoning home for various reasons.

    That is really great. I'm happy to have a version of your great software, even if the activation site won't work anymore or the product in it's actual form is discontinued because of some marketing decisions. At least until a future version of Windows will break it...

    Yes
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  7. aldist

    aldist Registered Member

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    I totally agree with you :thumb: Stormy, prolonged applause :)
    alexandrud apparently also agrees with you, but he now has an employer who dictates the conditions.
    Earlier, alexandrud had repeatedly spoken against telemetry in Windows 10.
     
  8. OrangeDoorHinge

    OrangeDoorHinge Registered Member

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    Alright I will try re-enabling it to see if it was just a problem with the new 5.4 installation.


    edit: I confirmed that the issue went away after disabling, and enabling the self protection module. I think it only occurred because my WFC was a new installation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2018
  9. Special

    Special Registered Member

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    Please don't bring up that weak argument about "why this is not, but Facebook is okay?" How do you know people are double standardizing, I have never and will never use Facebook. Also...

    2018-08-03_07-34-31.png
    2018-08-03_07-41-47.png

    These posts show me that you are/were against telemetry *****, I've admired this, especially one who makes a Firewall product, oh but now it's suddenly okay, like Facebook.
     
  10. Umbra

    Umbra Registered Member

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    WFC is now property of Malwarebytes, @alexandrud is now just an employee and have to follow their orientation; if people don't like WFC's telemetry, don't use the product; simple as that.
     
  11. alexandrud

    alexandrud Developer

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    I am still against telemetry (a few posts ago I just described to you what data is collected, how it works and how to avoid it if this is really important to you), but you must understand some aspects. When I owned WFC, I didn't care about statistics because I had a full time job and I was developing WFC as a hobby in my spare time. If I wanted to make a new release, add a feature, fix a bug, it was my decision. I didn't care about business plans, statistics, advertisements, etc. I even allowed the registered users to activate WFC for unlimited times on unlimited PCs. Almost for free. It was my hobby, I worked on it whenever I wanted. Meanwhile I had a full time job to take care of my family. I also received a few donations which made me continue with the development over the years. Developing WFC and supporting it took me thousands of hours over the years. This is not as easy as it might appear.

    Now, WFC is owned by a big company which has to pay salaries (including mine), offices rents, buy hardware, etc (as a single developer, I didn't have such problems). They have to make some business plans. They must know which products worth investing money and which products only consume money and don't return any revenue. You can't pay hundreds of developers by giving all for free. So, they made WFC free for everyone and in return they want to see if this was a good investment. They must decide if WFC will remain as a standalone product like AdwCleaner, if it will integrated in another product, if it will be rebranded, if it will abandoned, etc. How would you do this ? You collect some statistics data and make some decisions. Taking into consideration that WFC is now free, this is a fair deal.

    This is the difference between a hobby and a business. I just wanted to share my thoughts on this and keep you all updated. I just thought it would be better if you hear how things are going on directly from me, not from some unverified sources that give their opinion. Next time I will keep the silence.
     
  12. Circuit

    Circuit Registered Member

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    WFC is not what is was, and will never be again. Just like any program sold to another company, many examples.

    SPHINX Windows10 Firewall Control is good at stoping telemetry in Windows 7-10.
    Starting really like the firewall.
     
  13. Roberteyewhy

    Roberteyewhy Registered Member

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    Everybody cares about their privacy or they should! But, Umbra is correct IMO. Just use the last version that Alex developed if you are so concerned.

    Alex has explained as best as he can or knows on what MB collects...he no longer has complete control over WFC's drirection. MB does. Period!

    Robert
     
  14. polly77

    polly77 Registered Member

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    Ok so WFC 5.4.0.0 or tinywall 1803 instead ?
     
  15. Mr.X

    Mr.X Registered Member

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    I suggest someone opens a new thread to discuss alternatives, just like you did with CCleaner. Don't spoil this thread. Thanks.
     
  16. Gein

    Gein Registered Member

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    What about Google? Apple? Valve? Amazon? Discord? Microsoft? or some open source services that use telemetry Mozilla? Ubuntu?

    Do you really know what every service and every windows signed executable is connecting to? Do you know why it's doing that?

    Telemetry isn't necessarily bad. There is a difference between collecting operating system and amount of users and harvesting browser history.
     
  17. aldist

    aldist Registered Member

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    At this stage telemetry in 5.4.0.0 can still be disabled, so use 5.4.0.0. Or 5.3.1.0, or 5.0.2.0. WFC is significantly better than TinyWall.
    This can not be the reason to spoil a good program. Like СCleaner, who now has non-switchable telemetry. The world is going crazy.
     
  18. Gein

    Gein Registered Member

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    Telemetry isn't necessarily bad. There is a difference between collecting operating system and amount of users and harvesting browser history.
     
  19. Big Mike

    Big Mike Registered Member

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    I think most people understand your situation perfectly and telling us directly was the best you could do.
    I personally don't have a problem if you say Malwarebytes collects the data for usage statistics to get an overview over the market share and then will use it for usage statistics, because Malwarebytes needs to decide about the future of the software, based on this data. Probably some people will allow telemetry, just because of this reason.

    The problem is, if I look at the "Malwarebytes Privacy Policy":
    First, there's only one for all (that's common) - so it's absolutely not clear, what fits to WFC and what doesn't. Your post is way better.
    Second, it's obvious, that the usage data is used for making those decisions, because of your stated reasons, but the privacy policy tells me a different thing for the data you mentioned (that's also common):
    Client Data:
    And not so funny: Machine identification data:
    Sorry, why does Malwarebytes need to know, what changes on my system over time?

    We know, you have no influence on this and you can't do anything about that. But please understand, that the feelings are mixed about telemetry in WFC.
     
  20. alexandrud

    alexandrud Developer

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    You mention a generic EULA that covers a wide range of products. I am still the only developer that touches WFC and I know exactly what I've put in code for this new release. I already explained in my previous posts, there is a limited data that is used for statistics and I mentioned them exactly, their purpose and other related answers. Please stop interpreting each paragraph of the EULA. It may apply for other products, I just kept you updated about WFC only. If you can't take my word for it, then what can I say more ? I proved my integrity over the years and I will not start now to convince you of anything. Maybe I should have done what Tinywall developer did, by disappearing and abandoning his product and the users. This would have avoided this kind of discussions.
     
  21. askmark

    askmark Registered Member

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    You have gone above and beyond what is expected and should be very proud of what you've given to this community, the integrity you've demonstrated and all that you've achieved making WFC the best front end for Windows Firewall.

    You have to accept there are individuals who you will never, ever please, no matter what you do, just please don't let them discourage you from supporting the rest of us who are behind you 100%.
     
  22. Infected

    Infected Registered Member

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    Agree :thumb::thumb:
     
  23. silverfang

    silverfang Registered Member

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    Been silently following the thread for years and had to chime in after reading so many "bellyaching" posts.

    How many developers do you people know who still bother to keep in contact once the software was sold? Even more, tell things the way they are, no "ifs" and "buts"? In my opinion, shows a lot of honesty and integrity, which are in low supply these days.

    Will things change in the future, once MB starts to "assimilate" WFC? Surely. If it's for the better or worse, time will tell. For illustration: Not so recently, I gave up CCleaner after the 5.33 fiasco. Nonetheless, I'm still using Sandboxie, despite tzuk leaving and Invincea stepping in.

    Much ado about nothing, at the moment.

    Thanks for all you've done, @alexandrud. Even if WFC goes the way of the dodo in the future, you provided a solid Windows Firewall frontend for many years. :thumb:
     
  24. Kob

    Kob Registered Member

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    I think that the vast majority of this forum's members are thankful and appreciative of the time and dedication that @alexandrud has put into this program throught the years.

    As a security-conscious bunch we highly value transperancy, and are suspicious of any action that is opaque and/or not directly supportive of the stated functionality of the product.
    @alexandrud, being a single developer (= more trust) and with his sensitivity to users' requests, straight talk, clarity, transperancy and proven integrity gave us a security product that we have fully trusted.

    Now, we understand that things have changed, and we do recognize the value of telemetry to the new corporation. But we can't deny the lingering feeling of a possible (not probable - just possible) breach of that trust as we go forward.

    In my opinion, a major step towards helping us regain some of the old trust in the product would be to have a local rotating log (say for 30 days) of all query/telemetry data that goes in and out from/to servers under Malwarebyte control or under 3rd party "business partners". If we know what is communicated, we will be much more inclined to share data to support the vendor and the program. If the vendor declines to log that data for our perusal, then only minimal trust would be extended.
     
  25. asampal

    asampal Registered Member

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    I'm not sure if this is a bug or it's known behavior, but with the latest version, 5.4.0.0, I'm seeing duplicate rules created over and over when Notifications are set to "Learning mode".

    After installing, I believe I had about five hundred or so rules. That number is now over 1300. Most of them are for the "svchost" container process, but I've seen them duplicated for other processes, e.g. Chrome. I don't recall if the multiplying rule problem was there right at the start or if I did something to set the app into some kind of state.

    I left the direction for new rules to be "outbound" and set the locations to "private".

    The rules don't have any distinguishing fields set, i.e. no local ports, remote address, remote ports, service, etc.

    Does anyone see the same problem or have an explanation for this?
    Screenshot https://imgur.com/a/VvDd22j
     
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