Wireless network + Zonealarm

  Muzziad 20:55 24 Mar 06
Locked

Hi,

I have been struggling tonight to wireless network my PC and a laptop. It all finally seems to be working but I am concerned about security. The Belkin helpline advised me that I don't need a firewall such as ZoneAlarm as the router can take care of everything. They also advised me to remove all encryption during the setup help I got from their call centre.

Firstly, should I be concerned about having no ZoneAlarm? And if so, how can I configure ZoneAlarm to work with the router.

I'm probably worrying unnecessarily, but for the sake of security i'd feel much happier if I could get some confirmation from anyone with experience of networks.

  mgmcc 21:13 24 Mar 06

<<< Firstly, should I be concerned about having no ZoneAlarm? >>>

The router's built-in hardware firewall will protect you from incoming "nasty" traffic from the internet. What it won't do is to restrict which programs in the PC are allowed to send traffic out. Therefore, it is still safer to have a software firewall such as Zone Alarm as well.

<<< And if so, how can I configure ZoneAlarm to work with the router. >>>

Open Zone Alarm, select the Firewall tab at the left and then the Zones tab at the top. Click the "Add" button and select "Subnet". Type in:

IP address - 192.168.2.0

Subnet Mask - 255.255.255.0

Description - {anything} but it needs an entry

Click "OK" to close the box and then click "Apply" in the main window. Enter exactly the same settings in both computers.

  Danoh 21:19 24 Mar 06

Its easier during setup not to have encryption on, so I can understand the Belkin support agent saying to leave that out so they have a better chance of concluding your support call successfully.

But IMHO, not having encryption set on is a lot more critical then not having a s/w firewall running on each of your computers.

  Muzziad 21:36 24 Mar 06

.... but they have lead to follow-ons.

Firstly, the laptop is my wife's work laptop. It doesn't have ZoneAlarm at the moment. If I install it and set it up as described, will it work when she is away at a hotel using their WiFi? I expect not, if so is it just a matter of disabling ZoneAlarm whenever using these public WiFis?

Secondly, how do I set up encryption on the main and laptop? And will this affect usage on hotel WiFis?

I apologise for what must seem basic questions to some, but the lack of manuals with any hardware nowadays is frustrating, especially when the online guides aren't particularly comprehensive either.

  mgmcc 21:58 24 Mar 06

<<< the laptop is my wife's work laptop. It doesn't have ZoneAlarm at the moment. If I install it and set it up as described, will it work when she is away at a hotel using their WiFi? >>>

The 192.168.2.0 "Subnet" address is appropriate for a network connected via a Belkin router because the router's own IP address is 192.168.2.1 and it will allocate addresses to 'client' computers in the range 192.168.2.2 to 192.168.2.254 (although its DHCP pool from which it allocates addresses is probably less than the full range). However, this is a "Trusted Zone" setting to allow computers in a Local Area Network to communicate - it doesn't affect an individual computer's ability to access the internet. Therefore, if the laptop connects to a WiFi hotspot in a hotel, it will have internet access. Talking to other computers in the same LAN in a hotel would require additional configuration of Zone Alarm or disabling it.

<<< Secondly, how do I set up encryption on the main and laptop? And will this affect usage on hotel WiFis? >>>

Encryption is set up in the Router's wireless settings using either WEP or WPA. The manual should give you details of how to do this. Then, when connecting with the PC or laptop, the encryption key must be entered into the WiFi settings before you will be able to establish the connection.

  Danoh 21:59 24 Mar 06

I don't know ZoneAlarm but my Laptop runs Norton which allows for different settings ("zones") when you are at home, in the office or "away" (e.g. at a Hotel).
I've never experienced any difficult with my laptop (nor even noticed or had to change "zones") when connected to public and corporate WiFi networks.

The encryption is set for specific wireless network settings on a laptop (& desktop).
So the one for home will only apply for the home WiFi network.

P/S Installation CDs usually has manuals in Adobe PDF format.

  Danoh 22:00 24 Mar 06

Oops! Sorry to trip over your posting, mgmcc!! :-)

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