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What I'm getting at is... what happens if an attacker/bad actor/etc were to see that I'm running a node and that I'm allowing incoming connections? To what extent is my computer exposed by port forwarding through my router's firewall to my node? Does monerod block all requests that are not somehow authenticated? Is authentication unnecessary due to the nature of p2p? Since monerod is "guarding the door," is this not really an issue? Does monerod only respond to other monerod p2p requests?

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While opening ports does put you more at risk than having none open, you are only in danger if an attack can exploit the service that is using that port. An open port is not an all access pass to your PC/network if an attacker happens upon it. They would need to manipulate whatever it is on the other side to gain some type of basic system access. Then they could maybe gain enough privileges to compromise your system.

It's a bit like leaving your car keys in a restaurant bathroom 100 miles away. While someone could use them to steal your car, they still have a loooong way to find your car and make it happen.

You should also consider doing the following if you run a full node:

  1. Switch to another OS other than Windows. They are all much less vulnerable to attack, especially Freebsd and Openbsd.

  2. Hard wire everything--your mouse, your keyboard, your connection to the router. No Wi-fi.

  3. Use a dedicated computer with only the Monero and one web browser program on it.

  4. While on the web, only go to sites you know are clean and only Monero associated ones at that. Never surf the internet for anything. Never click on any ads.

Do the above and your odds of getting hacked and your Monero stolen are low, if not zero, IMO.

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