No. of Recommendations: 2
Here's an interesting article on NetBIOS, the mechanism behind Windows File and Printer Sharing.

It claims you can be secure against hackers not only without a firewall, but even with File Sharing enabled and folders shared. All you need to do, it says, is not bind "File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networking" or "Client for Microsoft Networking" to TCP, and (most important) to disable "Enable NetBIOS over TCP/IP" in the TCP/IP Properties. (Of course we've often seen the recommendation to disable NetBIOS over TCP/IP.)

The steps for doing this are under at Security on Cable Modem or DSL for Microsoft Windows.

I think they are overlooking that with older cable modems (before the DOCSIS specifications of 1998, see which also recommends disabling NetBIOS over TCP/IP), you were essentially on an Ethernet LAN with all your neighbors. Therefore File and Printer Sharing could function over NetBEUI even with NetBIOS disabled over TCP/IP. But that is a rather specialized case, and one that is disappearing as older modems are replaced. Cable modems meeting the DOCSIS specification encrypt all the data between you and your ISP, essentially taking all your neighbors off of your network (at least, they can't access your NetBEUI traffic, and the NetBEUI traffic cannot get past your ISP's router to reach the world-wide Internet).

Another interesting article is mentioned, "Accuracy in the Networking Media" which details the circumstances under which a Windows system is, and is not, vulnerable to hackers.

One more interesting link: which is described as being more useful than "Shields up!". They really don't like "Shields up!", primarily because of what they call "dangerous misinformation" there. I've noted before in my posts that the warnings at "Shields up!" are really overblown, so I guess I'd have to agree with them although I think "dangerous misinformation" is a bit harsh.

Anyway, with the additional research I've done lately, I think I'm really getting a handle on what hackers can and can't do to your home Windows system, and in what circumstances you do, and don't, need a software or hardware firewall. The info at the link at the beginning of this post should be of interest to anyone concerned about hackers.

Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Community Home
Speak Your Mind, Start Your Blog, Rate Your Stocks

Community Team Fools - who are those TMF's?
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.