Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Too Much Security!

Occasionally I help out a local non-profit organization with computer problems. I'm not writing this post to toot my own horn as it were but rather to try and save other sometime if they run into the same situation.

Basically, I got a call from the non-profit that one of their computers could no longer connect to the internet. They get on the internet by using one of those Bell Turbo Sticks. Remembering a previous issue where McAfee updated the firewall and a new exception had to be put in the firewall rules the first thing I tried was turn off the firewall and attempting to connect to the internet. No dice, still no connection.

This led me to a number of other debugging steps:

  1. I tried turning it on and off again.
  2. I uninstalled the turbo stick software rebooted and reinstalled.
  3. I grabbed the latest software from another computer and updated the turbo stick.
  4. I tried the turbo stick in another computer and it worked. What? Wait!
So that meant that there was something wrong with this particular computer and not the turbo stick. I then checked and discovered that McAfee updated it's software on the same day the computer started having problems. I know correlation does not imply causation but it sure did waggle it's eyebrows at me. 

So I started trying other stuff like:
  1. Added another exception in the firewall for the tubo stick software.
  2. Leaving the firewall on but turning the security to its most permissive.
  3. Stopping the firewall altogether.
  4. Stopping the firewall, telling it not to restart, the rebooting the computer.
  5. Getting fed up and un-installing all of McAfee. 
Then I was able to connect to the internet! Apparently, there is some horrible bug, maybe they call it a security feature, that even when you disable the firewall it keeps rejecting connections for you. So my original hunch looks like it was correct all along and I would have wished I'd uninstalled the software a couple of hours earlier.

Needless to say we are going to go with another anti-virus software provider for the non profit. It's not a big deal as the renewal for McAfee was coming due in 45 days but they are certainly not getting our money now.

Although, I have to hand it to Bell for once. I called their help line and a technician was very helpful and patient as we tried to figure things out. So thanks nameless person on 310-BELL.

No comments: