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Can anybody explain what are the inbound and outbound rules regarding Windows Firewall? What is their significance? Are they useful even when Windows Firewall is off?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 19 down vote accepted

If the Windows Firewall is turned off then it will have no effect, and the Inbound and Outbound rules will mean nothing.

Inbound rules: These are to do with other things accessing your computer. If you are running a Web Server on your computer then you will have to tell the Firewall that outsiders are allowed to connect to it.

Outbound rules: These are so that you can let some programs use the Internet, and Block others. You will want to let your Web Browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Opera...) have access to the Internet, so you will tell Windows Firewall that it's allowed.

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Inbound rules filter traffic passing from the network to the local computer based on the filtering conditions specified in the rule. Conversely, outbound rules filter traffic passing from the local computer to the network based on the filtering conditions specified in the rule. Both inbound and outbound rules can be configured to allow or block traffic as needed.

These rules are not useful when firewall is off.

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Am confused because in the old ZoneAlarm Pro, it was "Access" vs. "Server." For Firefox to work, it needs a tick under "Access." And what you didn't want was for programs to have a tick under "Server." This meant a remote attacker had complete in/out access on your laptop.

Can someone tell me how the above translates into "Inbound" and "Outbound"? For instance I want that zero-day plagued PDF reader to be able to read files on the web, but if infected I don't want it to run a server. I also don't want programs to send information about my computer right after installation. They always do, most installers go online during and after installation. Am ok with key activation, but not ongoing reporting or spying.

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If it's a separate question, please post it as a question, not an answer. –  bytebuster Dec 15 '12 at 9:13

Inbound rules allow other system to connect to yours, ex if you would like someone to connect to your windows shares, ftp, web server etc.

Outbound rules allow applications on you system to connect to other systems, ex if you want to connect to a web site, IM or some elses ftp.

Both the inbound and outbound rules will have no effect if your firewall is off.

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