Vista Advanced Firewall 101

I have noticed at many residential addresses that "Security" is not a topic that is discussed without issues, as securing your network will undoubtably causes issues with communcations until you allow all the relevent traffic to the relevent ports on the WWW.
This is very crucial in this day and age, as no longer is having an updated antivirus (A/V) package good enough to protect you from the elements of the Internet with all the BotNets, Zombiles, Trojans and other packages that cause harm to your computer system.
NOTE : I would like to take the opportunity to outline that BotNets, Zombiles and Trojans are not viruses but Malware and Adware which means that unless you have a MalWare scanner then your normal run of the mill antivirus protect will not protect you.
Right, back to Vista and Firewalls.....a firewall will not fully protect you from a BotNet or Malware but what it will do is prevent your computer from being send remote commands and executing remote scripts originating from outside your internal network.
You therefore need to have an active firewall if you have disabled your Firewall then you are stupid and should be shot in the head with a shotgun, this guide will ensure you have your Windows Firewall setup correctly to minise attacks from the outside world!!!
Firstly you need to find where the firewall control panel is located, so start your control panel as shown below, you need to double click on the Administrative Tools (shown highlighted below) :
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You are now looking for the icons that says "Windows Firewall with Advanced Security" as highlighted below:
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Double click on the this icon and you firewall control panel will be displayed....now compare your view with the one shown on the site:
Disabled and Inactive Firewall
Your firewall is disabled and inactive and your could be at risk to outsiders on the internet as Vista will not actively stop any TCP/UDP traffic from the Internet.
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Active and Enabled Firewall
Your firewall is active but do not let your guard down as it might be allowing traffic that is unauthorised so follow this guide anyway!
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Next, you will need to click on the Windows Firewall Properties on the main screen (looks like a web link) to get the main properties for the running configuration from the firewall...
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The Windows Vista firewall is divided into three (3) profiles for ease of use :-) these are as follow:
Domain Profile : Used if you are on a domain in a corporate network, home users do not need worry about this setting
Private Profile : Used for your private network (dependant on your Networking Sharing Settings)
Public Profile : Used if no network type is defined (most common)
You will see here that you have have the following options for all profiles on the firewall:
Firewall State : Enabled or Disabled
Inbound Connections : Allow, Block (Default), Block All Connections
Outbound Connections : Allow, Block (Default), Block All Connections
WARNING : Ensure you choose the right connection orientation as mixing these up could cause loss of internet and allow outside people access to your computer!
Inbound Connection : This is a connection that originated from the Internet to your computer this options is usually "Block" as this is not an action you want unless you have a web server!
Outbound Connection : This is a connection that originated to the Internet which means that your web browser started a connection to the "outside" world, the fact that data is transferred from the Internet does not mean you need to enable Inbound Connections!!!!
Now we have the basics covered you need to figure out which profile you fit in......and as this guide is written for the home market as corporation should have professional IT administrator (errrrrr.......yeah right!) the domain profile will not be covered.
How do you tell though? To find this out right click on your network connection on the Taskbar (near the clock) and choose Networking Sharing Center this will present you with the following information:
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If you notice on my connection you will see "A6N Networks" then "Private Profile" which means that I am in my private profile so here the options for the private profile:
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This means that Windows Firewall is blocking all inbound traffic and allowing all outbound traffic.....so I cannot remotely manage this workstation or use Terminal Service to this computer and as the firewall is blocking this action.
Advanced Diagnostics
However if you want to see what is allowed then you will need to click on the Inboung Rules off the main navigation menu which will display all allowed traffic from your computer to the Internet, shown below is my allow list with all the security information removed......
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If you see something here that you do not agree with then right click on the rule and choose "Disable" I have left it as default as my hardware firewall does the majority of traffic filtering before it even reaches internal computers.....
You have now completed Vista Advanced Firewall 101