Re: [Full-Disclosure] Microsoft urging users to buy Harware Firewalls

From: Thilo Schulz (
Date: 08/14/03

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    Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 04:00:03 +0200

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    On Thursday 14 August 2003 02:04, Richard M. Smith wrote:
    > I agree with Microsoft's recommendation for a hardware firewall on all
    > home PCs. A Linksys NAT router box is selling for only $40 at Amazon as
    > we speak. Besides protecting against the MSBlaster worm, a hardware
    > firewall blocks those annoying Windows pop-up spam messages which have
    > become so common lately. A hardware firewall also protects a shared
    > Windows directory from being accessed from the Internet. My only
    > question is why aren't NAT routers built into all cable and DSL modems.

    This is ridiculous. Before long, you get millions of windows private users
    complaining, why netmeeting, or their nice game server is not accessible
    anymore. Nice - of course you also disabled the potentially "evil" services
    now. Then the user finds about port forwarding, and as soon as the user has
    done this, the computer is suddenly vulnerable again to flaws in the service
    that is being provided to the outside! who would have thought that?
    Also - the principle of masquerading is, that inbound connection attempts land
    at the router and cannot get to the computers in the local network. By
    default the router approves all connections from the inside to the outside.
    To be honest, I have preferred this solution in my home LAN, I would not want
    anything else to be set up.
    Trojans/worms that connect from inside the lan to a control channel in IRC or
    something like that are not hindered at all by the router/hardware
    - From the point of the user - one has bought some new hardware router and now
    has trouble with configuring the firewall (to make it possible for onself to
    host games or something like that), or doing all the portforwarding stuff -
    all of it requiring time. Furthermore, I have seen many routers enough, that
    were unable to do some decent connection tracking, especially for UDP based
    games .. if the user has not put that hardware he bought into the trash can
    yet, he has some basic security. With port 135 and 139 and all the like
    closed and secure.
    What is wrong with this picture?

    How about not opening these ports in question _AT_ALL_ on the private home
    I mean - what the hell has a oversized bloated super server behind the port
    windows opens by default got to look for on a home computer? The popup spam
    is only a minor example ... I simply ask _why_ open the ports to the internet
    at all? I can understand if this is needed for file shares, etc... but why
    not leave the configuration of these matters in the hands of the users and
    only start to listen on these ports if the user explicitly tells windows to
    do so?
    If a user *really* wants these services be available to the world wide web and
    has a hardware firewall, he will do port forwarding, and we'd be back again
    where we started.
    If Microsoft's general concept of "secure by default" installations is not
    going to change radically, we will face a vulnerability soon enough again.

    SQL slammer
    Remote DoS against FileSharing
    RPC ....

    I think history speaks for itself. I want to annotate, that I am not happy
    either regarding the policy of many Linux distributions.
    But that microsoft expects home users to buy additional hardware to make up
    for microsoft's own faults is an outrage.

    - --
     - Thilo Schulz

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