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Firewall

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Firewall

Hi,

I've recently bought myself a new PC running Windows XP and I'm wondering if any of you can recommend a reasonably good anti-virus and firewall package.

The PC is pre-loaded with Norton but is this any good?

Likewise I've seen BT's Net Protect advertised and also Plusnet's own security package. Are these wothwhile paying for or should I just stick with Norton for the time being.

Any help or advice would be appreaciated. Thanks
15 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,983
Thanks: 8
Registered: 10-04-2007

Firewall

I used Norton for a long time and found it to be Ok (Version 2000 on Windows 98.)
When I updated my machine to XP it wouldn't run that version and it would have cost about £50 for the latest version which I had installed on other machines I had built for people.
I was not impressed with the later versions as they seemed to be "Bloatware" and needed many megabytes to themselves as well as seemingly slowing machines down.

I have since been using the free version of AVG which has so far not let me down in 2 years.

For the firewall I use Zone Alarm. Also free
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Firewall

I tried quite a number over the last three months or so. I have settled onsygate personal Firewall, whic is both free and excellent.
Cloudmaster
Grafter
Posts: 257
Registered: 01-08-2007

Firewall

Ditch Norton & replace it with Kerio Personal Firewall & Avast Antivirus
Just my personal opinion
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Firewall

sygate for custimisation / zone alarm for out of the box protection

for the AV, Kasperski (4.5) or Symantec Coperate AV both get good results in independant testing. however running 2 AVs is better than running 1 so you can take your pick ^_^

however only ever run one firewall (software) and if you can 1 hardware one as well
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Firewall

Kerio Firewall is very good, and it's free :-) Kerio Firewall
I use NOD32 for anti-virus. NOD32
rhosybol
Grafter
Posts: 100
Registered: 24-09-2007

Firewall

XP SP2 has a firewall installed within it, its a better version than the one that was in SP1
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Firewall

Better, but still not upto the level of Zone Alarm and others,

It only provides real benefitial for programs waiting for incoming connections, and still doesn't provide outgoing protection as a firewall should.
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Firewall

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but as I am using a SAR110 router which has been stealthed (see solwiseforum.co.uk), together with the improved Windows XP SP2 firewall, what extra will I gain from installing ZoneAlarm?
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Firewall

Hardware firewalls only block incoming connections, they will usually allow any outgoing connections. Thus if your system were to get infected, the virus would have no problems propogating themselves to other systems as they would go straight through your routers firewall.

Hardware firewalls (the SPI versions not NAT) can be configured to block certain ports but you would need to block lots as different viruses and spyware use different ports.

A software firewall (I use ZoneAlarm pro but there is a free version) would block the virus's attempt to make an outgoing connection and thus stop the virus propogating. They can block both on a port basis and on a program basis (i.e. will only allow programs you have said are safe to gain access to the internet).

So a software firewall on all your PCs are just as important as a hardware firewall on your router.
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Firewall

Thanks for the info about the router. I understand now that a software firewall in addition to the router is essential.

Do you think though that the firewall supplied with Windows XP SP2 is inadequate in any way? By the number of people using Zone Alarm and other firewalls I would guess so.
Community Veteran
Posts: 14,469
Registered: 30-07-2007

Firewall

The SP2 firewall is better than it was in SP1 but knowhere near as good as the many free firewalls around. I would always recommend not using the Windows firewall and get one of the many free ones like ZoneAlarm, sygate etc.

If you don't have your own firewall, the SP2 version is much better so for that reason alone the improvements Microsoft have made are good for everyone, but you can still do much better with one of the free versions.
stewarta13wsb
Grafter
Posts: 449
Registered: 01-08-2007

Firewall

I'm far from an expert but here goes - I've used Norton for years with no problems - until XP SP2 was downloaded. Since then my new Norton Firewall has sat in the box.
I'm told the windows one isn't very good. Currently on McAfe (free from AOL) and it seems fine. AVG (free) for anti virus (seems fine) and RegscrubXP for clean ups (free again) but missing Norton Systemworks. Downloaded PerfectDisc 6.0 for defrag (paid for but better than Norton)

Hope that helps,

Stewart
lowry
Grafter
Posts: 478
Registered: 08-04-2007

Firewall

The problem with the Windows XP Firewall (SP2) is that it is very little configurable options in it so if an issue is caused with a program (a legitimate one) not being able to safely use a port properly then you can not set-up rules for it like you can in Sygate Personal Firewall (Free & Pro). ZoneAlarm Free Edition is slightly less configurable but is probably a good piece of software for the novice user as it is a good quality firewall that has a very intuitive interface.

matt Wink
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Incoming alerts from Zone Alarm

I am getting many alerts from zone alarm that appear to originate from other plusnet users - is thi8s normal?Huh