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Old 27. Nov 2009, 05:09 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I have now taken a few more speed tests, and Returnil has been turned off in every test. In the study - based on a fresh download of Firefox (Swedish version) with standard settings (no plug-ins or add-ons) - of Firefox´ behavior, I have used Google Chrome as a reference. Each figure below is a trimmed arithmetic mean, based on 5 measurements, but where the smallest and the largest measurement has been disregarded in the computation of the mean in order to avoid disturbances from occasional outliers.

The first figure in each row in the “table” below is the result from using my standard test server, while the second figure is the result from using one of Anupam´s suggested tests, viz. Speednet.

CHROME
Firewall on: 24.8/25.0
Firewall off: 21.8/24.9

Bengt S

FIREFOX
Firewall on: 9.0/6.4
Firewall off: 15.0/11.2

As you can see, Chrome is not appreciably affected by the firewall, while Firefox performs better when the firewall is off. However, obviously, Firefox is inferior to Chrome.
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Old 27. Nov 2009, 06:06 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Bengt, open Zone Alarm and look in the program control, is Firefox set to trusted? does it have a green checkmark to allow the program?

You can even remove Firefox from the program list, then start FF and let it ask for access again, via the pop-ups, to create a new rule, that sometimes works. Looking through your posts and your test results suggests that the firewall may be the problem.
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Old 27. Nov 2009, 06:53 PM   #23 (permalink)
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deya, there were lots of FFlines, most of them green. I removed all of them, started FF, and took my normal speed test. But unfortunately no luck.

Am I the only one in cyber space having these problems? If so, I must be haunted by some invisible ghost!
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Old 27. Nov 2009, 06:55 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Try Ghostwall firewall for a while, it is thought to be the least-problematic of those firewalls that actually work. For example it doesn't reduce the speed during gaming, which other firewalls are sometimes noted for.

Bear in mind, though, that it is not a true firewall, because, like Windows firewall, it can only stop inbound attacks and not outbound attacks (ie trojans dialling out).

However it should be very useful as a test firewall, if you normally use a full-feature firewall. Or for use as a silent firewall for those less technically-able, who may not answer the pop-ups of a real firewall (ie a 2-way firewall) correctly.

In my own tests, I found that if you remove both your firewalls entirely - that is, both the hardware firewall found in all routers except ISPs' free ones, and your on-PC software firewall - then an unprotected system will be infected by trojans within 30 minutes, even when the browser is not used. In other words, an open broadband connection can be found and penetrated by web malware probes without any user action such as browsing, email, or downloads. For this reason I do not consider it wise to remove ALL firewalls. However, just removing the software firewall should not be unduly dangerous for a short time, as the hardware firewall in the router will block at least 99% of the web attacks that hit your connection many times per hour. For peace of mind yould need good anti-malware software while doing this, such as PrevX and/or one of the top antivirus / antimalware apps.

In light of this, IMO the single most important security measure on any PC is the hardware firewall in the router. One question this raises is that there may be some sort of blockage of traffic by that hardware firewall; however this doesn't normally happen because such blockages usually occur with traffic on other ports than the standard web browsing port of 80. However, traffic on less commonly used ports, for example for P2P, can be completely blocked. In this case the ports need to be opened up on the router, which is called port-forwarding. I don't think it applies in this case, though. Port 80 will be unobstructed.

It looks as though you have a firewall that is incompatible with Firefox. Note that disabling applications of this sort often does nothing at all - only the GUI (the program's operational window etc) is disabled, despite their labelling or documentation that says otherwise. You can clearly see tasks still running even with the application 'disabled', if you use Process Explorer etc.

The only way to disable a software firewall 100% is to uninstall it, it has too many hooks deep into the OS.
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Old 27. Nov 2009, 07:15 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Thank you chris for a long answer. As I said before, I am only an average user, and have a lot more to learn. For example, I don´t have a router (no hardware firewall). I have to read about routers, so I can buy and install one - any tips on where I can read about routers at an introductory level?

For the time being, I will not use Firefox, and instead concentrate on learning about routers.

And many thanks to all of you who have tried to help!

Bengt S
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Old 27. Nov 2009, 07:23 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bengt S View Post
Am I the only one in cyber space having these problems? If so, I must be haunted by some invisible ghost!
I think you might be one of the few people who have taken this "strange" test on different browsers ... and that's why you noticed these things. I have never carried out such tests.

Well, one thing which can be seen from the latest figures is that Firefox is getting affected by the firewall. So, some strange settings might be there within firewall which are affecting Firefox. Now, with the firewall off, Firefox is performing better, but not like Chrome... the guess I can make of this, is that maybe this is getting affected by the javascript engine being used by the browsers. Chrome and Opera are believe to be faster than Firefox... so that might be the factor. Chrome uses the webkit engine, which is quite fast. Although, this is just a guess from my side, and I may be wrong. Exact answer you can get from someone who has knowledge of these things... like people from Mozilla, or other experts.

Anyways, I would not worry too much about these figures, if the browsing speed was fine on Firefox, and not noticeably slow.
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Old 27. Nov 2009, 07:24 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Bengt,

Can I ask how you connect? With broadband / dial-up / cable broadband / ISDN?

Or at an office?
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Old 27. Nov 2009, 07:27 PM   #28 (permalink)
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chris, I am connected via a cable broadband. / Bengt
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Old 27. Nov 2009, 08:27 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Bengt, have a look at this

Read the part about cable routers. It's a UK site but the same should apply in Sweden, I think.
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Old 27. Nov 2009, 09:03 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anupam View Post
I think you might be one of the few people who have taken this "strange" test on different browsers ... and that's why you noticed these things. I have never carried out such tests.

Well, one thing which can be seen from the latest figures is that Firefox is getting affected by the firewall. So, some strange settings might be there within firewall which are affecting Firefox. Now, with the firewall off, Firefox is performing better, but not like Chrome... the guess I can make of this, is that maybe this is getting affected by the javascript engine being used by the browsers. Chrome and Opera are believe to be faster than Firefox... so that might be the factor. Chrome uses the webkit engine, which is quite fast. Although, this is just a guess from my side, and I may be wrong. Exact answer you can get from someone who has knowledge of these things... like people from Mozilla, or other experts.

Anyways, I would not worry too much about these figures, if the browsing speed was fine on Firefox, and not noticeably slow.
Anupam, I will also check the browsing speed, at least one of the tests you suggested, I think, had such an option. / Bengt
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