There are several new enhancements in Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) and Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005 to help make your system safer from attacks by malicious users and viruses. By default, Windows Firewall is enabled on computers that are running Windows XP SP2 and Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005. Windows Firewall closes ports to prevent Internet-connected computers from connecting to file and print shares on your computer or from connecting to other resources. When a program tries to use the resources or the ports on your system that are covered by the firewall, a Security Alert dialog box appears. This dialog box gives you options for addressing the issue in question.
The Security Alert dialog box that appears contains information that is similar to the following: You then receive the following options:
Note Every time that you configure an exception that allows a program to communicate through Windows Firewall, your computer is made more vulnerable. Unknown intruders frequently use software that scans the Internet for computers with unprotected connections. If you have many exceptions and open ports, your computer may become a victim of these intruders. To help decrease your security risk, configure an exception only when you really need it. Never configure an exception for a program that you do not recognize. Remove an exception when you no longer need it.
Security Alert dialog box options
Unblock this programWhen you select this option, the program is automatically added to the list that appears on the Exceptions tab in Windows Firewall. The check box next to the program is selected, indicating that it is allowed to run. Therefore, the program runs or listens as expected.
Sometimes you may want to allow a user to connect to your computer, notwithstanding the risk. For example, you may want to receive a file from a known source through an instant messaging program. Or, you may want to play a multiplayer game over the Internet. If someone tries to send you a photo through an instant messaging program, Windows Firewall prompts you about whether you want to unblock the connection and allow the photo to reach your computer. Or, if you want to play a multiplayer network game over the Internet, you have the option to add the game as an exception so that the firewall allows the game information to reach your computer.
Keep blocking this programWhen you select this option, Windows Firewall does not allow the program to operate or to listen, and this program is added to the list on the Exceptions tab. In this case, the check box next to the program is cleared, indicating that the program is not allowed to run or to listen.
Use this option whenever you are not sure about a program or whenever you do not know the source of the security alert.
Keep blocking this program, but ask me again laterWhen you select this option, Windows Firewall does not allow the program to operate or to listen, but the program is not added to the list on the Exceptions tab. The next time that you start this program, the Security Alert dialog box appears again.