There are no real risks in using a third-party firewall, although I must question why you'd want to do that. The third-party firewalls have more features, sure, but the Windows Firewall in XP SP 2 does a fantastic job at its core mission and is really all you need if you have an anti-virus program, another firewall on your router or other edge protection, and so on.
Additional information on Windows Firewall:
- Security without firewalls: Sensible or silly?
The San Diego Supercomputer Center has had only one compromise in nearly six years, without using a firewall. The SDSC's security manager explains how.
- Does making Windows SP2 my primary source of virus protection disable the Windows firewall?
When I installed Windows SP2, McAfee asked if I wanted it to be the primary source of virus detection. Since I do not have a McAfee firewall but only a virus scanner, is this disabling the new Windows firewall? Where in Windows is the priority for McAfee over Windows set? How is this priority reversed if required?
- Featured Topic: Windows Firewall:
If you aren't currently running a local firewall on your company's computers, the new Windows Firewall is a great way to secure your computers for free. But, if you've already deployed a third-party firewall, Redmond's offering is not for you.
This was first published in September 2006