[Dshield] "Personal Firewalls" are mostly snake-oil?

Russell Washington russ.washington at vaultsentry.com
Wed Jul 24 14:58:12 GMT 2002

<snip snip snip snip snip>
I responded to Peter in private, since I felt like this thing was veering
back into the realm of distraction.
But I have to point something out and ask a question.  Twice now this debate
has been inflamed by someone who walked in and started pushing the virtues
of ZA and its contemporaries as viable options, with the usual stance being
that its good points somehow outweighed every single one of the concerns
raised about the product.  This "outweighing" has not necessarily been
explicitly stated, but it has been implicit in the "well what else would you
use?" arguments that attempt to squelch the discussion by killing off the
validity of any criticism.
So my question is as follows:  What is the real debate about here?  Is it
- whether personal firewalls are useful in any form at all?
- whether personal firewalls are comparable to more traditional firewalls
("real" firewalls, according to some, myself included)?
- the inability to really lock down much of anything, with any product, in
the context of an end-user whose priority of convenience destroys security
whenever that user has the power to do so?
I say we pick a topic.  Or maybe we pick all of the topics and start some
new threads.  At the rate this thing is going it's looking twistier than the
roads on some auto ads I've seen recently.  But more to the point, every
time this seems to start to die down someone kicks it back up and the
meaningfulness of the thread is getting lost.
My two bits.
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