Two-Way Firewalls Complete Windows Vista's Security Features

by: Vithal Pai

Why is a firewall important?

Firewalls provide high-quality security towards the network traffic of internet, network, and user data that is unsafe for your PC. Firewalls introduced a sense of security for users compared to previous versions of Windows operating systems. The lack of protection caused many users to use third party firewalls for protection. Microsoft's response to this was released in Windows XP for a custom built-in firewall for their operating system (OS). Many people rejoiced because of this innovative protection towards spyware, adware, and other unwanted data that could harm your investment.

Microsoft's new release of Windows Vista introduces a new, full-fledge security pack that harnesses the power to protect PCs from unwanted data. The alliance with Longhorm servers helped produce a two wall firewall in Windows XP Service Pack 1 and Service Pack 2.

Control More Network Traffic

Administrators can control the flow of network traffic and applications while you use the internet. This protects users from potential network attacks of viruses or spyware through the system. The final version of Windows Vista is expected to have these additions, but it's currently in its testing phases for complete efficiency. This top-of-the-line security feature is expected to help manage the total traffic without stalling its performance.

The "Two-Way" firewall earned its reputation because it will block and filter in-coming and out-going network data. Administrators can control outgoing data as well to prevent the illegal access completed by most hackers online. Now, you can rest safely due to the firewall's ability to keep information in the network on a uniform style - if a certain VoIP system is installed, you can only use this VoIP service to keep unwanted sources out of the network.

Two-Way Firewall Features:

Windows Vista and Windows Server Longhorn have integrated the following features into their firewall for optimal protection. Some of the features include the following:

- Integrated internet protocol security settings and Firewall filtering.

- Microsoft Management Console Snap In for User Interface

- Filters both incoming and outcoming network traffic

- Custom configurations for IP Addresses, TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), Active Directory, directory service account and groups, Internet Control Message Protocol, IPV6 services, and UDP (User Datagram Protocol).

Firewall Configurations:

Windows Vista's Firewall's configurations are dependent on the network administrators' needs. If the network administrator creates a configurationt o block all traffic through specific ports, you can save hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. The Firewall's default settings are to block all well-known ports used by viruses, spyware, and adware from specific IP addresses that contain vital data. Other default settings of the Firewall include:

-Block all incoming data, except specific exceptions that match an incoming criteria,

-Allow all outgoing data unless it matches an unauthorized criteria established by the network administrator.

If you're interested in configuring the Windows Vista firewall by using Firewall Item in the control panel. In order to reach advanced configurations, you have to use a Snap-in item called "Windows Firewall with Advanced Security". You have to add the Span-in in order to access through the MMC Console. Currently, there is no designated console available. These developments are said to be available before the release.

Another easy route to configure the firewall is with the command line. Enter the command nesh advfirewall context to access the configurations panel. The command line is not available in Windoes XP with SP1 and SP2 or Windows 2003 Server.

You cannot configure the new firewall for Group Policy because Windows XP with SP1 and SP2 and Windows 2003 Server will ignore the settings then use its old version of the firewall. Now, the Beta Version of Windows Vista does not have a defined rule for blocking or allowing network traffic in the Control Panel.

In configuring the Group Policy, go to Computer > Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Windows Firewall with Advanced Security in the Group Policy Editor Snap-in. The current Windows Firewall at ComputerConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesNetworkConnectionsWindowsFirewall.

New IPSec and Firewall based security features:

Security of one's IP address has reined in thousands of discussion boards online. Users have realized that IP addresses are used to identify personal computer systems with specific models, makes, and owners. Now, the need for IP Security and Firewalls has been tackled with Windows Vista Two-Way firewall. IPSec is a set of Internet standards that provides a higher level of protection from IP traffic; this is essential in file sharing software that require tapping into other IP's for important information.