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Why Enable Windows Firewall?

Windows Firewall is a service provided in Windows XP that prevents unwanted, incoming traffic from connecting to your computer. Why is this important? Firewalls are important because they prevent attacks on a computer and they prevent special types of viruses known as Worms from infecting a computer. An example of recent worms is MyDoom, Netsky, and Blaster.

CNS requires that students run Windows Firewall, because it has been fully tested for compatibility with and protection on the Muskingum University network. Note: Although other software firewalls are available, many of them cause problems for students on our network. Examples of alternatives include ZoneAlarm, Symantec Internet Security, and McAfee Firewall. Students who choose to use these products are not supported by CNS, and run the risk of not being able to connect to our network. However, there are no objections to using them if you are able to make them work on your own.

The instructions below are provided so that your computer remains protected from security threats, but still provide compatibility with the services offered on our network. If these services are not configured properly, you could lose access to our network.

How to configure Windows Firewall on your Windows XP system:

1. Click Start, then select Control Panel.

2. If your Control Panel looks like the following image, please click "Switch to Classic View" or choose "Network and Internet Connections".

3. Double-Click on Windows Firewall.

4. On the window that appears, verify that the status of the firewall is "On" and that Exceptions are NOT disabled.

5. Click on the Exceptions tab. You will see a list of applications and services that are allowed to have incoming connections. In most cases, for security reasons, this list should be very small. There are a few services that should be enabled, however, for the Muskingum University Network.

5. File and Printer Sharing should be enabled (Checked), but click Edit... to verify that it is configured for "Subnet" only.

6. Other software that can be enabled includes Instant Messenger applications, Media Players, and Antivirus Software (such as Symantec Antivirus [as shown]). If an application attempts to connect to the Internet, Windows will prompt for permission. Choose Keep Blocking to prevent that connection, or choose Unblock to allow it to connection. If an application seems unfamiliar, it should be blocked until its purpose is known. Many viruses and spyware attempt to open connections, and they should be blocked.