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XP removed from Internet via Def. Gateway removalbut still on Local Nework- Secure?

Posted on 2014-04-15
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Last Modified: 2014-04-24
Ref. the ending of security updates for XP: I have removed the Default Gateway entry on  a Windows XP machine that I still want to have access to/from our small office LAN but do not want any access to/from the internet.

This seems to be working fine, In that, as far as I can tell, you can't access it from the internet (tried to access the computer via Logmein - used to be able to). Also the connections on the local network are working fine and you cannot view a webpage via Internet Explorer.

The PCs are all behind a router firewall and all have Norton Internet Security on.

Have I done enough to continue safely using the XP machine on the local network? Or is there still a risk?

Many thanks,

Lou
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Question by:Louverril
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16 Comments
 
LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40002012
Your still on the LAN, that means it can still get compromised by things that reach the LAN. Also, in my point of view you are using one of the worst "security" utilities available, I avoid all Symantec products at all costs!

Only turn the PC on for the short periods you are using it
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:bbao
ID: 40002306
if you really have security concerns for this XP, what's the point for you to keep using it? are there some special business-critical applications running on the XP?
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Author Comment

by:Louverril
ID: 40017105
Yes there is an old copy of Xara on there that I can't install on Windows 7 - I have tried to get help from Xara but have received no response. Will try again.

Also  - and this is probably the main reason I want to use it (skinflint that I am) - it's got a massive hard drive that I use to back up to and that is handy and a resource I don't want to have to pay to replace if I can help it. We are a small business. NB: I also have an on-line back up, but that is a continuous real-time backup and it is handy to have a version as at the close of the day and a local one.

The PC is switched off at the moment - switch it back  on for back ups.

Thanks for the responses ,
Lou
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LVL 37

Accepted Solution

by:
bbao earned 1336 total points
ID: 40017181
do you need to access the internet when running Xara?

if no, and the XP is solely for running the application and can be disconnected or seprated in a certain degree, and if you can also disable all autorun features of XP and got good security awareness when using the legacy computer, you may safely use the XP for a long time.

BUT, be aware the IF conditions above, sometimes it's not that easy to follow... ;-)
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40017206
Checking the Xara site, there seem to be versions available that run on current OS's. They also seem to have upgrade offers...

There's no reason to keep on using the HD even without having XP.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Louverril
ID: 40017287
Rindi - yes but I have a very old version of Xara and I asked them I question which they haven't even responded to - so I don't like them much at the moment  :-(  and therefore don't feel like parting with a lot of cash (which the upgrades are to me).

Not sure what you mean by "There's no reason to keep on using the HD even without having XP. " ?

Thanks,
Lou
0
 

Author Comment

by:Louverril
ID: 40017291
bboa,

Thanks. No I don't need to access the internet at all on the XP machine.

Could you explain what you mean by disabling all autorun features?

Thanks again Lou
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40017330
It usually depends on how you ask the Question. Many sites won't answer to emails, but usually they offer some other forms of support, for example you can open a ticket (and most sites will answer to those). There is also a knowledge-base and troubleshooter on their site, so maybe those can help you getting the software running without XP.
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LVL 88

Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 664 total points
ID: 40017336
About the hard-disk, well, you could remove the disk from that PC and install it into another as a 2nd disk, or you could use it in an external USB dock and keep on using it that way, or you could install a more modern OS to the PC it is in now.
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LVL 37

Assisted Solution

by:bbao
bbao earned 1336 total points
ID: 40017422
> what you mean by disabling all autorun features

this will prevent XP from automatically open (execute) files when a new storage device is attached, e.g. open AUTORUN.INF and run assigned executable on USB or open media files on CD/DVD or connected camera.

this autorun feature is by default enabled on XP and has been proved a significantly effective way to distribute (or be infected by) virus or malware OFFLINE.

other than accessing the internet and downloading malware online, autorun is still a major way to infect a disconnected computer.
0
 

Author Comment

by:Louverril
ID: 40017535
As the bank says no....

For now I have disabled the autorun feature and until I have sorted out Xara I will just switch the PC on to back up or for very occasional Xara use.

After that I will look at the cost of converting the drive to an external usb one http://www.ebuyer.com/blog/2013/11/how-do-you-turn-an-internal-hard-drive-into-an-external-drive/   or hoping I can afford a new back up drive or a "more modern OS" :-) .

 Such a waste of a perfectly functional PC...

Thanks both for your help.

Lou
0
 
LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40017700
Most Linux distro's are free, they are modern and easy to use. Many of them will also run fine on older hardware. So that only involves a minimum of cost (download bandwidth for the iso file, and maybe a couple of blank DVD's to burn the iso to, although usually you can also use USB sticks for instead).

To use the disk externally, there are many examples for USB docking stations, for example the one below:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1HE0S21579
0
 

Author Comment

by:Louverril
ID: 40018003
Thanks rindi - tempted to try Linux  but - I can't justify the time at the moment to learn it. Tempted though... :-) Thanks for the idea and the product link.

Lou
0
 
LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40018046
You can always download some of the iso's and then try them out. Most of them come as LiveDVD's that means is all you need to do is to boot a PC from that DVD and try it out. For that you don't need to install anything yet, and you get an idea of how it handles your hardware. Just one thing to mention is that running from a LiveDVD it'll be much slower than when it is installed to an HD. Another option is to install it as a Virtual Machine using tools like VirtualBox or VMware Player. All this doesn't take much time, and you can get used to it. Besides, many of those are very easy to use and there is no need to learn much. Most of them will just run out of the box. For example moving from Windows XP or Windows 7 to Windows 8 is usually a much bigger move in terms of learning, than moving from XP or Windows 7 to Linux.

Distributions that are very easy to use, and have a look and feel much like Windows, are Zorin, Linux Mint, Korora. You can find most of the common Linux distributions on the distrowatch site:

http://distrowatch.com/

They have reviews and descriptions of the different distributions, and also links to their sites and downloads.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

by:bbao
ID: 40018067
a LINUX plant? :-)))
0
 

Author Comment

by:Louverril
ID: 40019573
Might have been a plant but it is interesting :-) and useful -  if I can allow myself the time.
I work with a lot of small businesses and this (end of XP support) might be the push that makes some of them think more seriously about Linux. So maybe I need to know something about it! Wish there were 48 hours in a day!

Thanks again to you both.

Lou
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