I recently read an article about Windows Firewall and made the comment that the tool is half a firewall at best since it cannot block outbound traffic. My collegue doesn't think outbound filtering is useful for end users. His assertion is that Windows Firewall is enough for most people because they aren't capable of making informed decisions about whether to allow certain outbound network traffic.
His assertion seems to be in direct conflict with the fact the countless numbers of people use other desktop firewalls which do in fact block both inbound and outbound access and require users to make decisions about what traffic to allow in and out of the system. Furthermore, people get jobs that require significant skillsets, which of course means they had to learn those skills somehow. So how is it that these people can learn some skillsets yet not learn other skillsets, such as learning how to control a desktop firewall? After all, they aren't very complicated once basic concepts are understood.
I think the interace has something do with it. An intuitive interface makes it easier for users to make informed decisions. For example, my particular desktop firewalls prompt with the name of the program trying to gain outbound access, and the information also includes the port numbers and service type along with the destination address, which is resolved to a readable host name. In another example, my mother's desktop firewall is just as intuitive even though it uses a different layout for the prompts. If even my mother, who knows very little about computers and basically teaches herself as she goes along, can operate a full blown desktop firewall then why can't other people who have an aptitude to learn do the same?
Are desktop firewalls too complicated? Do people need a more intuitive interface and possibly a little education? Are end users really not capable of learning how to make informed decisions? Is training such people too expensive or not cost effective? Could such training minimize the need for other security expenses, such as anti-spyware software? What's your opinion?