The firewall component is now far more advanced in Windows Vista than in previous versions. The Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, which is hidden within the Administrative Tools, is a host-based firewall that blocks both incoming and outgoing connections based on the configuration settings you specify. Some of the new features include:
* Windows Service Hardening - Prevent attackers from exploiting Windows Services. Any abnormalities that are detected will be blocked.
* Outbound Filtering - Outbound traffic, as well as inbound traffic, can be filtered.
* Granular Rules - More granular rules can be configure for inbound and outbound filtering.
* Firewall Profiles - Rules can be created for different profiles. Firewall profiles include: private, public and domain.
* Authenticated Bypass Rules - Rules can be bypassed for specific computers that have been authenticated.
* Active Directory support - The firewall can filter based on Active Directory account information.
* IPv6 - Provides support for IPv6.
You will still find the Windows Firewall Control Panel utility and this is where most end-users will go to enable or disable their firewall and create exceptions. The Windows Firewall with Advanced Security component, however, is for more advanced users.
You can open the Windows Firewall with Advanced Security using the following steps: click Start | All Programs | Administrative Tools | Windows Firewall with Advanced Security. The console that appears can be used to configure firewall settings on either the local or a remote computer. Alternately, these advanced settings can also be deployed through Group Policy.