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I was going to do port-forwarding to create a gaming server with an old PC. I the found out that it makes more things visible to the internet. Is port-forwarding a bad choice considering its insecurities? Also, how will I able to protect my internet and computer if I were to port-forward?

closed as too broad by symcbean, techraf, S.L. Barth, Xander, Steve Oct 11 '16 at 15:18

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Tehcnically, yes..

Port forwarding allows external internet connections to contact your router, which then will FORWARD the connection to your computer's internal IP address. After the connection reaches your IP address, it will give input to the server you're running on your computer. So the security will be dependent on how secure the game server software is.

.. But not likely.

I wouldn't be too concerned. From my experience of hosting game servers and helping manage them for years, you're hardly ever targeted, and when you are it's usually just a DDoS attack. It would be very out of the ordinary for an attacker to have some exploit for your game server.

  • Still, you should keep your game server up-to-date, in case a fix is released for a discovered vulnerability. – Bryan Field Oct 11 '16 at 13:41
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    Of course. Although, this wouldn't be a plausible solution to someone that is running say.. A modpack for a specific version of the game. You see this happen a lot for Minecraft. Hopefully for any game servers you're hosting vanilla or slightly modded, you're keeping them up-to-date just for compatibility with the clients. – xorist Oct 20 '16 at 1:11
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Port forwarding should only make visible the port or ports you are forwarding to the inside.

With this said, you can block/firewall those ports to only allow:

  • your work IP or work subnet
  • your friends
  • whatever cafe you are working from
  • etc

.. for gaming, I will not be to concerned, it really is as secure as the application you are forwarding the port to is...

example:

if I forward port 6667(IRC) to a IRC server on one of my lan computers and that IRC server is vulnerable, then you are screwed :)

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