A scared newbie

Read a good review in PCMag so I’m thinking of download, but this is new territory for me! Self-employed database programmer for 14 years, working out of home office, cable modem through a Linksys router. So far have had no viruses, negligible spyware. No real evidence of having been hacked that I’m aware of.

But I’ve always wondered… I have alot of client info on my laptop, and I can’t afford computer downtime. I also have no network manager, only myself. Good at databases, not good at security. Reading some of the forum messages make it sound like only a network guru would be able to get a firewall up and running, and that’s not me! I also use about 6 different means of remotely connecting into client’s sites and I’m worried that firewalls would hamper that. Occasionally a client will remote into my computer. Would a firewall present a big problem? Honestly, how easy would be it be for someone like me to install Comodo and not want to uninstall within a day?

Thanks!!!

Karen

Hey Karen,

Before we even start on the pros and cons of firewalls, if you have customer data and professional data you need to have a structured backup regime in place. Before ANYTHING else, take regular backups of data. You can replace an O/S, you can replace an app, but how do you replace X number of years worth of user generated data?

\RANT MODE OFF :wink:

Good at databases, not good at security. Reading some of the forum messages make it sound like only a network guru would be able to get a firewall up and running, and that's not me!

If you are storing client data and you are proposing to allow incoming connections via the internet, then yes, you do need a firewall. No ifs or buts about it. Whether it’s CFP or another firewall (excluding the built in firewall in Windows XP - it only checks incoming, not outgoing), you need one.

Providing you are prepared to invest a “little” time, it really isn’t that hard to get CFP installed and configured to provide solid protection. The installation process guides you through the install and you really only have to make one choice - install as a power user or not. Installing as a power user gives you choices at each stage of the install. Installing in “automatic” mode installs the firewall in its default configuration. The default configuration is designed for a solitary PC (as opposed to one on a LAN) and provides more than adequate protection, out of the box.

You will get pop-ups when you start using applications after installing the firewall. This is not unique to CFP, all firewalls do this, as they are learning what is on your system and what is or is not allowed. The amount of pop-ups diminshes over time as the firewall learns your system and your computing habits.

CFP provides great detail in their pop-ups and they CAN be interpreted by the average user (if my mum can ge the hang of it, anyone can ;)). All you really need is a basic understanding of how data moves in and out of a system, a basic understanding of IP addressing and an awareness of what is happening on your system at the time of the alert. It’s not rocket science. Don’t get me wrong, it can get involved and complicated, but it doesn’t always. The posts you referred to are the exceptions, not the rule.

There is a compilation of tutorials (https://forums.comodo.com/index.php/topic,6167.0.html) on the forums. The first three posts in this topic cover installation, terminology and firewall rules. They aren’t the end, but they’re a great start.

Do you have just one PC or do you have more than one and they are connected as a LAN?

If you do have a LAN, then there are a couple of other things you need to do to ensure secured communications between the devices on your LAN. Let me know if you need details on the required LAN settings.

Take your time, don’t panic, read the alerts and learn from them. It’s not hard - a little common sense, a little learning and a little perserverance are the foundations to understanding and using a firewall.

Browse through the forums. There’s a great bunch of users on here with an exceptionally broad range of experience and you can usually get a response within a day (usually way quicker than that), workloads and personal committments permitting, of course. Comodo also have an offical support centre (http://support.comodo.com). I would also recommend that you register at the support centre,so you can lodge support tickets if needed. They are building a knowledgebase on each of their products on the support centre, and while the same info is generally in the forums, it can take a bit to hunt it down.

Hope all this helps,
Ewen :slight_smile:

Hi Karen,
I’ve installed Comodo Personal Firewall on a lot of machines, and most of the people didn’t know the difference between a monitor and a keyboard, and there were no big problems, after some explanation.
I think this forums give a bit of a disburbed picture, because most of the people of course come here when they have a problem, and far less people come here to say they had no problems.
In my experience Comodo is by far the best firewall, also when you’re not so experienced in security.

Peter

Wow, thanks for the feedback, Ewen! I appreciate the clear explanation. Maybe I’ll go ahead and try it. From previous postings it looks like an uninstall would work if it messes up my system. I’m not on a LAN. There’s just another computer in the house connected to the Linksys router simply to share the cable modem.

BTW I didn’t say it right in my original message – I don’t have any actual client data here. I have old databases with sample data that I can play around with, and I keep uptodate copies of all programs. A weekly backup is enough, so far needed only when I totally ■■■■■ up a program and forgot to make a copy of the original one before I started. My interest in a firewall is just that if I have some kind of catastrophic breakin that causes me to have to reformat my computer, it would take TONS of time to restore all the stuff – which would relate to an equal amount of non-paid workdays!

Karen

Hey Karen,

Before we even start on the pros and cons of firewalls, if you have customer data and professional data you need to have a structured backup regime in place. Before ANYTHING else, take regular backups of data. You can replace an O/S, you can replace an app, but how do you replace X number of years worth of user generated data?

\RANT MODE OFF :wink:

If you are storing client data and you are proposing to allow incoming connections via the internet, then yes, you do need a firewall. No ifs or buts about it. Whether it’s CFP or another firewall (excluding the built in firewall in Windows XP - it only checks incoming, not outgoing), you need one.

Providing you are prepared to invest a “little” time, it really isn’t that hard to get CFP installed and configured to provide solid protection. The installation process guides you through the install and you really only have to make one choice - install as a power user or not. Installing as a power user gives you choices at each stage of the install. Installing in “automatic” mode installs the firewall in its default configuration. The default configuration is designed for a solitary PC (as opposed to one on a LAN) and provides more than adequate protection, out of the box.

You will get pop-ups when you start using applications after installing the firewall. This is not unique to CFP, all firewalls do this, as they are learning what is on your system and what is or is not allowed. The amount of pop-ups diminshes over time as the firewall learns your system and your computing habits.

CFP provides great detail in their pop-ups and they CAN be interpreted by the average user (if my mum can ge the hang of it, anyone can ;)). All you really need is a basic understanding of how data moves in and out of a system, a basic understanding of IP addressing and an awareness of what is happening on your system at the time of the alert. It’s not rocket science. Don’t get me wrong, it can get involved and complicated, but it doesn’t always. The posts you referred to are the exceptions, not the rule.

There is a compilation of tutorials (https://forums.comodo.com/index.php/topic,6167.0.html) on the forums. The first three posts in this topic cover installation, terminology and firewall rules. They aren’t the end, but they’re a great start.

Do you have just one PC or do you have more than one and they are connected as a LAN?

If you do have a LAN, then there are a couple of other things you need to do to ensure secured communications between the devices on your LAN. Let me know if you need details on the required LAN settings.

Take your time, don’t panic, read the alerts and learn from them. It’s not hard - a little common sense, a little learning and a little perserverance are the foundations to understanding and using a firewall.

Browse through the forums. There’s a great bunch of users on here with an exceptionally broad range of experience and you can usually get a response within a day (usually way quicker than that), workloads and personal committments permitting, of course. Comodo also have an offical support centre (http://support.comodo.com). I would also recommend that you register at the support centre,so you can lodge support tickets if needed. They are building a knowledgebase on each of their products on the support centre, and while the same info is generally in the forums, it can take a bit to hunt it down.

Hope all this helps,
Ewen :slight_smile:
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