getting the user's (internet, not local network) IP address

Bob Sneidar bobs at
Tue May 18 17:10:23 EDT 2010

Hi Mike. 

It is the generally accepted rule of thumb that some kind of firewall appliance between your cable modem and your computer is highly advisable. First, it almost certainly will use some form of NAT, which is Network Address Translation. This converts the packet info containing your local IP to the public IP of the gateway/firewall, effectively hiding your local IP from any casual bots or even a real hacker. I think all modern gateways detect IP spoofing so the packets would be dropped. By default, most home gateway products allow all outbound traffic, while only allowing approved inbound traffic that you have configured. Mostly you won't need to do this, but some older PC games require you to open up ports. Peer to peer file sharing will as well. I recommend you avoid those like the plague. 

A personal firewall is also recommended in a situation where there are several computers connected to yours locally, say throughout the house, and especially if you have a wireless access point on your local network. Wireless access points are not very secure, unless you take the time to lock them down which most people have no idea how to do well. If everyone has a personal firewall running on their computers, it becomes much harder for a determined hacker who got in (like your neighbor's kid who cracked your encryption on your wireless access point) or a worm on a computer on your network trying to compromise other local computers, say from your neighbor's kid who brought over his laptop for he and your kid to use. 

If you take these precautions, along with some decent form of antivirus/antispyware (avoid the free ones please) and you keep your computer up to date with Windows Update, your chances of being compromised are almost nil. 


On May 17, 2010, at 6:14 PM, Michael Kann wrote:

> <snip>
> The part that scares me a little is Bob's remark:
> -------------------------------------------------------
> Still, I think the more likely scenario for this thread is that he -- that being me -- doesn't have a firewall solution that is not a personal firewall, which I always recommend for any home user or business.
> -------------------------------------------------------
> What that tells me is that a personal firewall isn't really sufficient.
> Thanks again for the info,
> Mike

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