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Old 08-14-2005, 02:10 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The Stingray. Is it worth it?

This seems like a nice piece of hardware for my SUPER security needs, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a bunch of hackers out there laugh at the "security" this product provides. Do you guys think it's worth it?

The Stingray Firewall
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Old 08-14-2005, 04:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Hrm, reading over the features list:

# Hides IP address from intruders
Useless claim - it means that you're behind a NAT setup and any router in the world functions the same.

# Intelligent packet filtration
Stateful packet filter - fairly common routine.

# Full VPN pass-through
Again, part of being a stateful packet filter and doing NAT properly.

# No computer resource usage
It means it doesn't run on your computer - it's a different machine. No brainer.

# No configuration
Means that you can't set it up to forward ports to your computer to run servers, because the average user doesn't need to do this.

# No maintenance
Not really relevant.

# No patches and upgrades required
This could go one of two ways, one it's "oh so perfect" and has no flaws. But at the same time, I'm a little mistrustful of software that the makers aren't trying to improve upon.

# Complete protection from Viruses and all Hacking attempts
Protection from viruses, yes - because it's not on your computer and doesn't run Windows XP and download shady content. All hacking attempts? I suppose this just means that it doesn't accept any incoming connections from the outside world. Any firewall can do this.

# Does not rely on any Preset Rules - Independent Operation
Not sure what to make of this, except that it goes back to the zero configuration thing.

# Works with any computer or Operating System
Because it doesn't rely on your computer for anything, obviously this is true.

It's a little hard to cut through all of the marketing bullshit for this product. I wouldn't think that ThinkGeek would sell snake-oil security products, but that's rather expensive and the wording is so vague and shifty that I can't really tell what it's supposed to do except block all incoming traffic.

End result? I'm not sure - but if you have "SUPER security needs", do what I do: buy a cheap (300$ or so) machine, set up OpenBSD on it along with comprehensive firewall rules, a proxy server, etc. and use that as a router/gateway. That way you have absolute control over your security solution and aren't at the whim of some black box device you can't mess with.
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Old 08-14-2005, 04:38 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow, that's a great post. My router is just as secure

It sounds like a cheez-whiz product. I think I know a rich dude that has this as a gimmick or something...
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Old 08-14-2005, 05:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragma
Hrm, reading over the features list:

# Hides IP address from intruders
Useless claim - it means that you're behind a NAT setup and any router in the world functions the same.

# Intelligent packet filtration
Stateful packet filter - fairly common routine.

# Full VPN pass-through
Again, part of being a stateful packet filter and doing NAT properly.

# No computer resource usage
It means it doesn't run on your computer - it's a different machine. No brainer.

# No configuration
Means that you can't set it up to forward ports to your computer to run servers, because the average user doesn't need to do this.

# No maintenance
Not really relevant.

# No patches and upgrades required
This could go one of two ways, one it's "oh so perfect" and has no flaws. But at the same time, I'm a little mistrustful of software that the makers aren't trying to improve upon.

# Complete protection from Viruses and all Hacking attempts
Protection from viruses, yes - because it's not on your computer and doesn't run Windows XP and download shady content. All hacking attempts? I suppose this just means that it doesn't accept any incoming connections from the outside world. Any firewall can do this.

# Does not rely on any Preset Rules - Independent Operation
Not sure what to make of this, except that it goes back to the zero configuration thing.

# Works with any computer or Operating System
Because it doesn't rely on your computer for anything, obviously this is true.

It's a little hard to cut through all of the marketing bullshit for this product. I wouldn't think that ThinkGeek would sell snake-oil security products, but that's rather expensive and the wording is so vague and shifty that I can't really tell what it's supposed to do except block all incoming traffic.

End result? I'm not sure - but if you have "SUPER security needs", do what I do: buy a cheap (300$ or so) machine, set up OpenBSD on it along with comprehensive firewall rules, a proxy server, etc. and use that as a router/gateway. That way you have absolute control over your security solution and aren't at the whim of some black box device you can't mess with.
A great post indeed. Are there any detailed guides on the internet that explain how to do this? Maybe not now, but eventually I think I will switch over to a system like this.
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Old 08-14-2005, 05:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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http://www.routerdesign.com/
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Old 08-14-2005, 07:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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It's amazing how much snake oil there is out there on the internet with respect to network security. Whenever you're looking a product like this, don't buy the hype. Just break it down, piece by piece, and figure out what they're saying the device can do. In this case, it looks like any Linksys Cable/DSL router could do exactly the same thing - and more (you can configure it!).

I'm not exactly sure about guides for the whole "setting up a computer to act as your own router", but if you are really interested (though I'll be the first to say it can be a large effort), the best way to do it is get a computer, install OpenBSD on it (the FAQs & install guide on their website is amazing) and just start messing around.
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Old 08-15-2005, 05:00 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Cool. I'll definitely look into this.
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Old 08-15-2005, 06:27 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Definitely a boatload of hype.. I was even going to give them the benefit of the doubt until I saw this line:

"Complete protection from Viruses and all Hacking attempts "

That is an impossible feat, and if they'll make such an outlandish claim then all other "benefits" are suspect. I think its just a miniaturized router with some fancy lights, nothing more. Get a Linksys Cable/DSL router for $40, and save yourself the trouble.
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Old 08-15-2005, 07:06 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JinnKai
That is an impossible feat, and if they'll make such an outlandish claim then all other "benefits" are suspect. I think its just a miniaturized router with some fancy lights, nothing more. Get a Linksys Cable/DSL router for $40, and save yourself the trouble.
Haha yeah, that's the sad part about this thing.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/accessories/75f3/

Looking at it, it obviously has some soft/firmware in it to do the firewalling process ...... it's just missing the routing part. Worst of all, it's $40 more than any good router.....
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Old 08-15-2005, 09:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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i've got a sledge hammer you can have, after use, you will never get another virus on your system again.




a properly configured router with NAT is all the protection you realy need from the outside world.
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Old 08-16-2005, 02:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Yeah, I don't rely on marketing hype for stuff like this. When I decided I needed a router with some firewall capacity, I just did some cursory research, then I bought a cheap SMC Barricade Broadband router/printserver that is customizable through any browser so it works with my Primary machine (Ubuntu GNU/Linux), and with my old PIII DEll running M$ XP Pro, and with my wife's Mac Mini - a computer that is really starting to intrigue me.

But back to the point, the first thing I did when I plugged the thing is was check the SMC site for a firmware upgrade. There was one, and I applied it. This goes back to one of Prgama's points when he said:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragma
# No patches and upgrades required
This could go one of two ways, one it's "oh so perfect" and has no flaws. But at the same time, I'm a little mistrustful of software that the makers aren't trying to improve upon.
There's ALWAYS room for improvemnt.

So in short, listen to Pragma, then do your homework, then live a safer Internet expreience and learn something useful at the same time. It's actually not all that difficult once you cut through the useless acronyms and get to the meat.

Peace,

Pierre
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Old 08-16-2005, 06:53 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vox_rox
There's ALWAYS room for improvemnt.

So in short, listen to Pragma, then do your homework, then live a safer Internet expreience and learn something useful at the same time. It's actually not all that difficult once you cut through the useless acronyms and get to the meat.
Haha, thanks for the vote of confidence. I think I'll steal that and use it as my signature

It's amazing how much you can learn once you look around at the various options and try to get rid of the marketing hyperbole.
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Old 08-16-2005, 09:27 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragma
Haha, thanks for the vote of confidence. I think I'll steal that and use it as my signature
Wow, complpete with the attirbution too! It's like I'm famous now. And, hey, don't worry, it's under the Creative Commons so use it freely.

And I totally agree, I'm amazed at how many people actually make the conscious effort to NOT know what goes on in their computers. It's confusing to me. It might seem complex, but it's no more difficult than figuring out your friggin' handicap in golf for cryin' out loud!

Get a book. Install Linux. Experiment. It takes no effort. And, hey, wouldn't the world be a better place too? Hmmm?

I think so.

Peace,

Pierre
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