Dear Firewall, stop asking me …

You know this: you have got a new computer with Windows Vista installed and certainly with a firewall like G Data Security Firewall and this thing starts bombing you with tons of questions whether you want to allow this and that – questions you actually don’t know how to answer right since in most cases it just throws a cryptic program name at you and you have no idea who started this ( was it me Embarrassed? ), what this piece of software is doing and who developed it.

This can look like this dialog ( in German of course, since I have a German copy of Windows Vista on my home computer; in this case the firewall is asking me whether I want to allow some guy called SoftwareUpdate.exe started by Explorer.EXE to open a outbound connection from my LAN ):

Who the hell is “SoftwareUpdate.exe” ? Who has launched this and how can I know whether this is something necessary for proper operation of my computer, wherher it is may be harmful or even dangerous ? Can’t this ignorant firewall ask its questions in a way that I can understand it ? Come on; i am the one supposed to make a decision here, how can I do this without knowing answers to those essential questions I have ?

Well, looks like this firewall software is not smart enough to phrase questions in a reasonable way. But, a closer look reveals there are options available to make ourselves a little smarter. See, “SoftwareUpdate.exe” is shown in blue color; isn’t that typically the color of a link to some more information ? Well, I admit, I found out by accident as well, even I am working with the internet for many many years meanwhile. I just did not expect a link showing up in some dialog box on my desktop.

Anyway, clicking on this link reveals some more information:

Does this help ? Not really, but there are more items offered to click on Disappointed. By clicking on “Gestartet von” ( “Started by” … how do you like these free German lessons, my dear English speaking reader ? ) we get to know who has started “SoftwareUpdate.exe”. And if we click on “Eigenschaften” (“Properties”) after selecting “SoftwareUpdate.exe” we see real interesting information:

We see where the program is located. The path name has some meaning for us: “Apple Software Update”, And we also see the same in the description (“Beschreibung”). Great. Since we believe Apple belongs to the good guys I think we can answer that question from our firewall with: “Yes, I allow that.” Before we do so we might verify by checking under “Digital Signature” that Apple really is the provider of this software, and we see there: “Apple Inc.”.

All good. Let’s see what the next question will be coming from the firewall in a few minutes, I guess …

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