The recommendation to install a host firewall is documented in the Computer Security Education section, along with basic settings.
If possible, it is safer to avoid sharing the network (LAN, Wi-Fi, hotspot) with other potentially compromised machines.
From time to time a user asks which incoming/outgoing ports are required by Kicksecure ™. The answer is:
Note: Kicksecure ™ itself does not open any ports. Users are advised to close all ports on the host as outlined in the Host Firewall Essentials entry.
Being behind an ordinary NAT router might provide a marginal layer of extra security. In all cases, it is recommended to purchase a commercial-grade router and avoid cheap models, since they are often less-secure.
It is also suggested to review the entire Router and Local Area Network Security chapter, particularly:
- Recommended Router Settings.
- Advanced users: Flash the router with an open-source GNU/Linux distribution for better security, control and functionality.
Using an Internet-based port scanner service to test the local LAN's router/firewall is a sensible idea. Users must carefully research and find a legitimate service, since many companies only want to sell a product and will purposefully present false positives. A better alternative is to scan the local LAN with a port scanning application from an external IP address. To scan the home IP address, users can either login remotely (SSH) via an external machine, or proxy through an external IP address. Detailed instructions on accomplishing that are beyond the scope of this document.
A special case is presented by users who share a LAN with other PCs (a stand-alone machine is not used). In this instance, the port scanning/testing service or a port scan application from an external IP address will actually only scan the local LAN's router/firewall and not the actual host's PC. If the latter is mis-configured, then the user could be susceptible to attacks from other machines within the LAN which sit behind the router, and a false sense of security could be the result.
For example, if the user shares the LAN with flatmates who are not so sophisticated in computer security, then those foreign machines should be regarded as potentially malicious. There is every possibility they may have been infected with a botnet already or other harmful programs. Therefore, the user cannot trust the output of a port scan application running on their machine. If there is no spare machine for testing, then foreign computers on the LAN can be booted from a live CD, and the user can scan their personal machine with a port scan application. Details on how to accomplish that task are also outside the scope of this document.