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Networking question for the PC geeks
Old 09-08-2004, 02:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Now that I have the two machines up and running, I want to network them to share files. In reading the wizard/instructions, Windows XP tells me I need a "residential gateway" to prevent outsiders from seeing the contents of my hard drives. I've never heard of that, isn't it the same as a router? Here's my setup (seems pretty normal): Two computers, each running a seperate Cat 5 cable from their NIC cards to seperate outlets on the router, which connects to the cable modem, and on to a Comcast residential cable connection. It seems that all I have to do is allow a particular file or folder to be "shared" (I tried it for a few minutes and it seems to work), but I am concerned about the security aspect. Note, at the moment, the second computer is running Win2000, but I intend to upgrade it (actually a new HD with WinXP) once I copy some files off to the new machine.

Thanks in advance all,
Andy Pearlman
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Re: Networking question for the PC geeks
Old 09-08-2004, 05:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Andy,

I spend all day dealing with this for IBM.....drop me an pm or email with your number and Ill give you a call and see what questions I can answer for you.


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Re: Networking question for the PC geeks
Old 09-08-2004, 08:52 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Your router is serving as a gateway. It probably also has a rudimentary firewall that can be used to block the networking ports from being used by outsiders through the WAN (that's the cable modem.)

Here's a totally non-technical way you can check to see if you're secure.

1) Turn on file sharing. See if it's working between the computers.

2) Once you've got it working, go to this web page on the machine or machines you've got file sharing turned on for:

http://www.grc.com/default.htm

Scroll down to the "Hot Spots" section and click on "Shields Up!"

3) Click on "Proceed."

4) You will get a control panel with various check buttons. All you're really worried about is file sharing, so click the "File Sharing" button in the upper left corner of the control panel.

5) The site will attempt to establish a connection with your computer. If it says, "No can do," then you're fine. If it gives you a warning, follow its advice.

Hope that helps!

M
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Re: Networking question for the PC geeks
Old 09-09-2004, 12:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks! I did know that the router SHOULD be a firewall, but I couldn't figure out why they kept referring to it as a "residential gateway". I did try the test and it sent back the following replies:

Your Internet port 139 does not appear to exist!
One or more ports on this system are operating in FULL STEALTH MODE! Standard Internet behavior requires port connection attempts to be answered with a success or refusal response. Therefore, only an attempt to connect to a nonexistent computer results in no response of either kind. But YOUR computer has DELIBERATELY CHOSEN NOT TO RESPOND (that's very cool!) which represents advanced computer and port stealthing capabilities. A machine configured in this fashion is well hardened to Internet NetBIOS attack and intrusion.

Unable to connect with NetBIOS to your computer.
All attempts to get any information from your computer have FAILED. (This is very uncommon for a Windows networking-based PC.) Relative to vulnerabilities from Windows networking, this computer appears to be VERY SECURE since it is NOT exposing ANY of its internal NetBIOS networking protocol over the Internet.


To my thinking, this sounds pretty good to me, yes?

Andy Pearlman
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Re: One more thing
Old 09-09-2004, 12:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I had only enabled file-sharing from one computer to the other (the new computer doesn't have any files to share (test) with, and I ran the "Shields-Up" test from the same computer that has the files I wanted to share (in other words, the same one on which I had enabled file-sharing). Would this make any difference to the test, or is it just not seeing the router at all, no matter how many sharing-enabled or non-enabled computers are on there?

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Andy Pearlman
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Re: Networking question for the PC geeks
Old 09-09-2004, 12:56 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Sorry Andy, I have to say this. GET A MACINTOSH!!!!! Problem solved.

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Re: Networking question for the PC geeks
Old 09-09-2004, 02:44 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Sorry, have to say, "forget it". Not only do PC apps outnumber MAC apps by 10 to 1 (and I have many for which there are no similars on MAC) I have a TON of friends with MACs. My ex-partner, my part-time roommate, almost every photographer I know. If I had 10 cents for every time one of them was stuck with a MAC problem (usually revolving around incompatible software features related to the different versions of the OS) I could RETIRE. Every technology has its issues, but you couldn't GIVE me a MAC! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

(No flames please).

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
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Re: One more thing
Old 09-09-2004, 08:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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*Theoretically* it could make a difference, but the results you posted indicate that your router has the relevent ports stealthed, so it shouldn't matter which machine you're on: the gateway is shut. I think you're tight.

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Re: Networking question for the PC geeks
Old 09-09-2004, 01:17 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well, Andy, if that is your opinion, we just have to agree to disagree. I just don't understand why the number of apps is important. You can have a million apps that aren't worth the cd's their on, or 100 that you need. I guess I view a computer as a tool to get work done and not something to play games on (from what I have seen games take up the most number of titles.) That's just me though. I do respect your passion though, I don't say these things out of spite or negativity, just out of my own experiences.

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Re: Networking question for the PC geeks
Old 09-09-2004, 11:59 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I'll go along with the "agree to disagree" concept. For what its worth, I have no games on my machines, other than solitaire and a couple similar time-wasters for when I'm on hold with tech support. I have have several Windows-only apps that I cannot live without and for which there are no comparable MAC apps (like my online postage program). For those that do exist, it would either take massive amounts of time to re-populate data into comparable MAC apps (like my PIM) because the file formats are not compatible (its not like using Photoshop on the PC or the MAC). I see no reason to trade one set of occaisional tech challenges for another, not to mention the premium cost for MAC hardware and all new apps. I will concede the MAC stuff does looker cooler.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
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