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Windows Firewall: I HATE IT! - WhiteFox

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August 12th, 2011

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05:22 am - Windows Firewall: I HATE IT!

Back in XP a new feature design flaw was added to Windows to help protect users from them selves, Windows Firewall.  The basic purpose of any firewall is to the network, and how they have access to it.  In theory this is a great security feature, in practice it's a royal pain in the ass.
In XP it wasn't to big a problem.  The firewall was turned off by default, and most people never turned it on.

In the newer versions of Windows it's a complete a source of major problems.  It's turned on by default, and it's almost impossible to predict how it will work.

  1. A couple of months ago my teenage son tried to log into his Blizzard Battle.net account to play Starcraft II, and it wouldn't authenticate him.  After much fussing and a call to Blizzard tech support we found out it was the Firewall and turned it off.  All of a sudden he could connect again.  What was really strange is that 2 weeks before he could connect without a problem.  At some point the firewall decided all on it's own that it should start blocking the out going ports used by Starcraft II.
  2. Today while setting up an application server and a database server, I all of a sudden couldn't connect to the database engine.  All the settings were correct, and I'd tested them several times earlier in the day, and everything was working.  Then all of a sudden I started getting messages saying the SQL Server wasn't running.  Checking the DB server everything seemed fine, the database was there and running.  Back on the other system, still getting errors.  The firewall on the server running the database had decided all on it's own to block incoming connections on the ports used by SQL Server.  Once the firewall was turned off everything connected fine.
What really pisses me off is that there is NO GOOD REASON for this software.  The reality is that software firewalls are not and never have been an effective method of protecting a system.  That's because the software firewall is setup and controlled by the same computer the malicious software is running on.  That means the malicious software has access to the controls of the firewall, and can let it's self through.

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