Firewalls acts as sentries to data moving to and from your computer.
Current Windows XP operating software incorporates its own software,
but more users prefer to add third party firewalls.
There are many good free firewalls available. Retail versions give
more configuration options.
The most popular computer firewalls are:
- Zonealarm - fully functional but you do need to register it.
Operates well; some users find it difficult to configure.
- PC Tools - based
on Kaspersky definition files.
- Free lifetime registration, appears to work well without slowing
down your PC. Can be a problem during downloads.
Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall - blocks both incoming and outgoing
Trend Micro Pc-Cillin 2007 – I use this myself, and have
done for many years. The 2007 version is extremely difficult to
configure and has a lot of false negatives. It will not work with
Alexa toolbar, and Trend Micro refuse to do anything about this.
Zone Alarm – many find this more effective than most other
firewalls. Automatically blocks any attempt by outsiders to use
your Internet connection
Comparing Zone Alarm And PC Tools Firewalls
Comparing firewalls is done based upon their effectiveness in blocking
outside attempts to gain access to the computer, the function of
a firewall and its configuration capability.
To many users firewalls are "firewalls". They all block
or allow according to your rules. Their effectiveness depends largely
upon the rules that you set. But not all firewalls are equal. MS
firewall blocks, primarily, incoming traffic but does little to
stop rogue outgoing data. Virus protection generally pick these
up but, I prefer a firewall that monitors both incoming and outgoing
Any firewall has to learn the rules before it can be effective
and this, as you quite rightly say, is what you do as you progress.
Limitation of Firewalls
Remember that a firewall is not a Spyware program or a Virus Protection
program. You will need to either get separate software programs for
these functions or use a 3-in-1 program such as PC-Cillin.
Good Spyware Programs
- Ad-watch SE Professional
Anti Virus Programs
- CA-Outpost anti virus and firewall
- McAfee firewall version 4 - simple to use with many options
such as "allow always" "allow just now", block,
filter etc for in and out traffic. Most others only just give
you block or allow.
The disadvantage of the latest version upgrades is that they are
extremely hungry on resources and disk space. My PC-Cillin virtually
stalls my Outlook everytime is scans incoming mail and a recent
Defrag identified a 2G sector just on PC-cillin Logs. Trend Micros
response to this was that I had to uninstall the program and then
reinstall it. After finally getting most of the trusted websites
accepted I am extremely reluctant to do this.
Typical Firewall Options
- Email scanning in and out
- Allow access to specified programs
- Allow access to specified folders
- Allow access to specified websites
- TCP options and other internal functions.
- Sensitivity – picks up more genuine threats, but also
more false alerts.
Many of these so-called intelligent options cause so many other
problems that not only do you need to deactivate that function,
but doing so opens vulnerabilities in other areas.
Support functions - PC-Cillin is a reasonable software and support
is responsive, but I rarely get a response to the actual question
I ask, regardless of how simple and clear I make it.
It pays to use firewalls, ant-virus and anti-spyware in conjunction
with Tune-up utilities 2007, Ccleaner and Registry cleaners. Be
very careful though with registry cleaners unless you are knowledgeable
in this area.
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