Firewall Comparisons

There are two main classes of firewalls.  These are Personal and Enterprise.  Typically the Personal classes will consist of software-based firewalls, and the Enterprise class will be hardware-based or part of an Enterprise (or Professional) Security Suite.  The tip that I mentioned in Sunday’s post refers to a Wikipedia article on Comparison of Firewalls.

While the Wikipedia article mainly discusses Enterprise-class firewalls, there are a couple of things that are notable.  The first is that they consider Windows Vista/XP firewall to be an Enterprise Class firewall (strictly in that it’s the same firewall used in Windows Server 2003 and 2008).  The second is an external link at the bottom which leads to a review of Personal Firewalls.

On the Firewall Challenge site, they list the firewalls that they were testing and how they rated.  Of the firewalls listed, I’ve used Sunbelt (Kerio) Personal Firewall, Outpost Firewall, ZoneAlarm, Windows Live OneCare (which I’m a beta tester on), and TrendMicro Internet Security (an older version).

I was not surprised to see OneCare near the bottom, as it’s just a new wrapper on Windows Firewall.  The surprising results for me are Sunbelt’s Personal Firewall and TrendMicro’s Internet Security.  I’ve always said that Sunbelt was for the paranoid person, as it will try to stop you from installing things that you initiate (in it’s strictest settings).  Yet, it showed poor results in their challenge.

TrendMicro was an alright firewall. It was pretty similar to ZoneAlarm and Norton’s Internet Security in it’s manners.  So, I was shocked to see that it received a poor ranking as well.  Personally I thought that this was a fairly adequate firewall and Security Suite.

Outpost Firewall received the top ranking, and I’m not surprised.  It’s well worth the money that you’ll spend on a license.  Plus they have family packs that will give you licenses for up to 3 computers.  Of all of the firewalls that I have used, I would choose Outpost above them all.  The price is comparable to TrendMicro and ZoneAlarm.  It’s a little higher than Sunbelt—but given the test results, it’s worth the extra money.

After reading the test results, I uninstalled Sunbelt and am trying out Comodo Firewall Pro.  Don’t let the “Pro” name fool you.  It’s actually a free product.  One recommendation that I have is this:  If you’re interested in it, go to this link instead of the link in the Firewall Challenge site.  The one listed there takes you to their Comodo Firewall Plus product (which is the Pro + other programs).  That program will cost you $39.00/year, where the link I provided is just for the firewall (although it has an option to install the “Plus” features).  And no, I’m not getting anything from the commission on the link.  I just believe that if it’s supposed to be “Free” then that’s what you should get.

The other firewalls that I mentioned are available from their respective sites (or through the links on the Firewall Challenge page).  I won’t provide them, because you can get to them directly from the Challenge page, or because they weren’t recommended.

Tomorrow, I’ll give a brief explanation of what a firewall is, and what some of the things you want to look for are.  Plus I’ll point you in the direction of some good sites for testing your firewall.

Mainly remember that any firewall is better than not having one at all.  And even with a firewall, and antivirus, and antispyware program installed, the final defense rests with you.  If you tell them to allow the program, and it’s malicious, then you can’t blame the security software for not doing it’s job.

Have a great day:)

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