Firewall Problems

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If you pull up a Comic Genesis site, and can't see any images or the webcomic itself, AND you run a privacy or security software firewall, this thread is for you.

If you get a pink warning instead of the ads: You also fall into this category.

So what's causing the problem? Comic Genesis requires browsers to send the "Referral" header in each request for comics and images. This is checked to see if comics and images are being used on non-CG sites -- If they are, they automatically are denied.

However, some software companies like Symantec, Zone Alarm, and others think that the "Referral" header is unnessisary, and strip it out. This causes CG's servers to say "You're pulling directly. DENIED!" to any comic or image request.

The policy on the CG servers is to only let CG sites refer to images on CG servers, with only a few exceptions.

Why does CG check that header? We check it so noone can rip our webcomics eazily. We save alot of bandwidth that way, and bandwidth costs money. If we didn't, artists here would have no CG to go to.

Is it CG's fault that Symantec et all doesn't play nice? No. It's purely on the software firewall's fault.

I have Norton Internet Security 2005 or 2004. How do I fix it?

  1. Open up Norton Internet Security, and select Privacy Control. It should have a "Configure" button. Hit it, and it'll pop up a new window.
  2. Hit "Advanced," then "add site." Type in "" and hit OK.
  3. Hit "" in that list, and in the "Global Settings" tab, uncheck "Use default settings" and check "Permit" on "Information about your browser" and "Information about visited sites".
  4. Hit "OK" and close everything up.

Note: You may have to add CG domains that do not have (example:

I haven't upgraded from Norton Personal Firewall 2003. How can I fix this problem?

Follow the same proceedure, but to get to the right screen, you need to open up Norton Personal Firewall, and in the Options Menu hit "Personal Firewall." Select the Web Content tab. Everything else is the same as the newer software.

I have an older version of Norton Personal Firewall. How about me?

You're similar. Follow the instructions for 2003, and you'll get a window with an "Advanced Options" button. Click on that, and you'll be able to add "". Then select "" from the list, check "Use these rules" and under "Referer" set it to "Permit." Hit OK out of everything and close it up.

I have Zone Alarm Pro. Am I screwed?

You're not. Here's the info:

  1. Open Zone Alarm Pro and click on "Privacy" on the left side.
  2. Click on the "Custom" button in "Cookie Control."
  3. Select "Cookies" and uncheck "Remove Private Header Information."
  4. Hit "Apply", then "OK", and exit.

If this doesn't help, then contact Zone Alarm. Reports from This Week in Tech are saying that Zone Alarm Pro's latest versions are becoming inaffective.

I have CA EZ-Armor with Zone Alarm. Nothing helps! What can I do?

We've gotten reports that the CA EZ-Armor/Zone Alarm combonation has broken "Let Referer Header go through" handling. If you have this software, get a refund and use something else.

Hey! We have eTrust EZ Firewall! What about us?

I hope you visited a site before you came here. EZ Firewall likes to record where you've been.

  1. Open EZ Firewall and click "Privacy" on the left side of the window. Select the "Site List" tab.
  2. Locate all domains (and other CG-parked domains), and under Private Header right-click the "X". Select "Allow" for every one.
  3. Exit EZ Firewall.

I don't have any of those, but I do run a software firewall.

If you can punch a hole for us, let us know how! You may have to switch.

A few users report the Filseclab firewall (Personal Edition) doesn't have a problem w/CG comics.

I don't use any of those. I use just Firefox! But I still have the same problems.

Try this:

  1. Open up "Options" in the Tools menu. On MacOS, it's "Preferences" in the Firefox Menu, and in Linux/Unix, it's "Preferences" in the "Edit" menu.
  2. Click "Web Features" and make sure "Load Images" is checked, but "for the origionating website only" is unchecked. You may want to hit "Exceptions" though, and make "" allowed to load images.

Do I really need a software firewall?

If you have a Cable/DSL router (aka a NAT/IP MASQ firewall) or a hardware firewall between you and your Cable/DSL modem (or your Net connecton in general), you can probably get away without one. Most hardware firewalls will block all incomming connections from the Internet at large unless you tell them to forward them to you. Nice level of control, eh? For added security, use Firefox for your web browsing instead of IE -- it generally has less holes and isn't integrated into Windows like IE is (a good visual is that IE and Windows are together in bed -- and they're not using protection). Bugs in Firefox are fixed faster, plus you can search the bug list as well as track them yourself.

I'm paranoid. Is there another way of getting the comics?

Not really at this time. We are investigating other ways, though, through Keenspot's paid ad-free PREMIUM service. We're also checking through use of Konfabulator and it's clones on all OS'es.

Besides, we have your IP address and date stamp. If you really did something horrible to CG such as a denial of service attack, we'll hand the info over to the FBI for prosecution.

Haven't I seen this before?

This information comes curdosy of the Seattle Post Intellegencer (or Seattle P.I.).