Do I Need To Keep Running A Sorftware Firewal Now That I Installed A Router?

Posted on 2006-04-30
Last Modified: 2013-11-16
Have run ZoneAlarm for some time.  Nice program, albeit a little too aggressive at times.  I bought and installed a router yesterday.

Do I still need to run ZoneAlarm?  Advantages?  Disadvantages.  Compare and contrast. :)
Question by:StuartGriffen
    LVL 32

    Assisted Solution

    I guess I would vote to keep it running. It does give you an extra layer of protection in case another infected PC is connected your side of the router.  It also provides a first level of alert in case your PC were to become infected somehow (e.g. via an infected program download or clicking on an email link).

    The disadvantage is what you mentioned. ZoneAlarm can be obtrusive sometimes. If you want to remove Zone Alarm I would still enable the XP firewall (assuming you have XP). It only blocks incoming traffic but is a lot easier to live with than ZoneAlarm.
    LVL 97

    Assisted Solution

    Greetings, StuartGriffen !

    A router only blocks incoming traffic.  ZoneAlarm blocks both outgoing and incoming traffic.

    ZoneAlarm uses a lot of your computer resources and sometimes interferes with other programs.  If you are not having such problems, keep and use ZoneAlarm.

    Best wishes!
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    To build upon war1's comment...

    If you are behind a router you are (usually) protected to incoming traffic. So if there's an infection that opens up a port on your PC for someone, you don't have to worry that this port is beeing exploided as it can't be accessed from the outside. However, you still have the infection.

    Plus, there are many virusses and worms do a 'call home' to receive instructions. They usually connect to an IRC server or something similar and they just wait for the hacker to enter the chatroom and control them. As your router permits outgoing traffic, it will permit the infection to connect to the IRC-server.

    If the infection gets the instruction to download a list of Email-adresses from somewhere (an FTP or WWW server) there's nothing stopping them. And if the instruction was to send all the email-adresses from that list an SPAM-email, you might end-up on an SPAM-blocklist.

    Now, if you stick with Zone Alarm or any other desent firewall, you would've seen the infection as soon as it attempts to open a port or setup a connection to the IRC server.

    PS: With 'desent firewall' I do not mean the crappy-firewall-wannabee-thing that Microsoft managed to squeese into Windows as it doesn't monitor the outgoing connections.
    PPS: If you use your router, ensure you disable UPnP. Universal Plug and Play can be very usefull as Windows is able to setup portforwardings if it needs one. However if Windows can do it, applications and infections can do it as well!
    LVL 17

    Assisted Solution

    YES. I would recommend you to keep ZoneAlarm.

    BR Dushan
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    Yes it would be best to keep the software firewall as well.....for all the reasons stated above.....Also sometimes routers have vulnerabilities and this would help if someone was able to get past the router.

    Author Comment

    Good info.  Thank you all.

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