Windows XP SP2 rollout continues, resistance is futile

Despite some glitches and Microsoft delaying the rollout for a week,
Service Pack 2 is on its way to all Windows XP users via Windows
Update. Many large installations have turned off or disabled the update
out of concern for the many programs Microsoft has documented as not working
or needing updates in order to work with SP2. Firewalls, VPNs and SQL
Server based applications seem to be the primary casualties. FoxPro
applications using DBF-based data appear to be unaffected.

Microsoft is enabling the firewall by default, a reversal of their
earlier configuration. While it is a step in the right direction, the
firewall is still far too weak to be the sole line of defense for a
machine attaching directly to the internet. The firewall included with
Microsoft XP doesn’t deserve the name. A
firewall is an internal structure in a building that is designed to
stop fires from spreading by imposing a solid barrier. In the Windows
XP case, this firewall is one-sided, blocking some traffic from
ourside, but letting anything exit from inside. So, if your machine
develops a problem and starts broadcasting SMTP spam, or calls the
mothership and transmits your last tax return, there’s nothing in the
XP firewall to prevent it. That’s dumb. Look for better solutions
elsewhere.

If you are connecting directly to the internet, or take your machine on
the road and connect to foreign networks, look at a software firewall
like Kerio or ZoneAlarmPro. I notice that grisoft.com is promoting a nice package of their excellent AVG anti-virus software with Kerio for USD $55. Worth looking into.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.