Terrifying "advice"

  Kate B 14:37 14 Apr 2005

I just emailed the NUJ to report a broken link to the NUJ area of the Apple store (there's a small discount for NUJ members if you order via that link) and the NU IT manager came back suggesting I try the link with my firewall turned off!!

  jack 14:42 14 Apr 2005

Choices Choices.
Firewalls will block things it the perameters suggest that the link is dodgy.
Which fire wall are you using?
Zone Alarm for exapmle puts up a panel telling you who is callingand would you like to let it through - You choose.
Perhaps others do not!

  Diemmess 15:10 14 Apr 2005

Whatever firewall you are using could be turned off for that one reputable connection without fear of nasties.

The obvious things to avoid are a prolonged search for the site (you already have the correct website address) and the easily avoided temptation to clink another link.

Once done, you can exit and restore the firewall again.

  pauldonovan 15:15 14 Apr 2005

I don't like the idea of anyone suggesting you turn your firewall off, but particularly in relation to a broken link.

However, 2 points:

i) I can imagine a circumstance when the firewall could be the issue presenting itself as a broken link (guessing a bit here but say the link was a link to a file that your firewall was configured to block) - so it isn't as mad as it sounds.


ii) It must be tough to support remote users who may or may not have a firewall and may or may not have it configured in one of many ways. In fact, he probably should've stopped short of advising you to do anything unless he was going to be prepared to spend the time to figure out the exact problem with you without exposing you. His view may be that a quick shut down of the firewall might prove that to be the issue, but equally, theoretically it could be the very same time someone is trying to get into your PC!!!

By the way, before I talk too much more - am I the only person who doesn't know what NUJ is ?!?!!

  feb 15:17 14 Apr 2005

Make sure your up-to-date AV is running and you should be OK

  Kate B 15:23 14 Apr 2005

National Union of Journalists ... not known for its brilliant IT. The link was definitely broken as the link to the Irish store worked fine - the problem, I'm sure, is at Apple's end.

Thanks for the suggestion, Feb, my AV/firewall/anticrudware is all up to date.

  igk 16:45 14 Apr 2005

To Diemmess re your remark "Whatever firewall you are using could be turned off for that one reputable connection without fear of nasties"
You are surely not implying that only one packet at a time from only one source can come to your computer?? with respect you ought to think again about this statement.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 17:40 14 Apr 2005

Only a journo would use such an emotive word as 'terrifying' /eyes raise. As you may be aware I have not used a firewall for 3 years and I have never been remotely 'terrified'. Terrifying is when your life is in danger.


  Kate B 17:58 14 Apr 2005

Gandalf, you are a paragon of written restraint, and I'm always interested in your anti-firewall approach but I'm just not brave enough to try it myself.

  powerless 20:14 14 Apr 2005

If you can buy a £5K new computer, you can run it without a firewall I promise!

  Forum Editor 23:13 14 Apr 2005

I'm afraid I fail to see why such advice should induce terror. It's the simplest thing in the world to turn a software firewall off during access to a specific site, and the risks inherent in such a procedure are negligible.
It's important to maintain a sense of perspective when considering software firewalls, which are at best only partially effective against determined onslaughts. It wasn't so long ago that firewalls were the exclusive preserve of the corporate server - no home computers had such a thing - and we all went our merry way without a thought for the monsters lurking out there beyond the digital camp-fire's glow.

Now we all feel naked if we venture into the cyber-void without our firewalls wrapped safely around our machines, and it's a pity, because 99.9% of the time there's no need to be afraid. The fear that there are hordes of snarling nasties just waiting for a chance to invade your machine the second your guard is down is just plain silly, and I for one am with the NUJ IT manager on this. There's far too much empahsis on the need for personal software firewalls, and I can't help thinking that certain companies have a great deal to gain by fostering feelings of insecurity in the online community. Suffice it to say that the chances of your personal machine being targeted by a malicious entity are very small indeed.

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