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  1. Member p_l's Avatar
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    Way back when, I had ZoneAlarm for quite a few years, but it got heavy and wanky and I ditched it. Been using Comodo Internet Security for a while now, but ever since the program upgrade in the past year, it seems to have gotten flakier and flakier. Now it won't even start most of the time. It'll tell me it can't start and ask if i want to run a diagnostic, which it does and finds nothing wrong but still won't start. The diagnostic log it creates is attached, for what it's worth.

    Anyway, I'm thinking of simply uninstalling it and re-installing a new firewall. I had Zone Alarm and then Comodo because I want to easily control which programs have access to the internet or not, so that's something I'd still be looking for.

    Has ZoneAlarm been rehabilitated to make it useful again? Should I go with a different version of Comodo (sorry, I wish I could tell you which version I have now, but it isn't starting so I can't tell right now)? I kind of liked CIS because it also had an anti-virus/anti-malware. Or are there other recommendations?

    Edit: Oh yeah, and free.
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    Last edited by p_l; 4th Oct 2014 at 23:15. Reason: I almost forgot I'm a cheap bastard.
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  2. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    I've been using windows 8 firewall control free version for the last few years,don't have any complaints about it.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  3. Member Wolfen's Avatar
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    Most, If not everyone these days has a router, No ? and most, If not all have built in firewalls, right ? hardware firewalls are by far so much better than software firewalls so why even bother ? if you've not heard of malwarebytes I'd give it a try. It hasn't let me down (well that and my cheap $20 retail plus "N"router) since I started using it 7 years ago.
    Last edited by Wolfen; 4th Oct 2014 at 23:07.
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  4. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    I don't trust router firewalls,rather use a software firewall since they report things right away.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  5. Member p_l's Avatar
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    As it says in my computer detsils, I'm on Vista on this machine. I should add that yes, I'm behind a router and that Windows Firewall is OK, but I want easier and more specific program control.
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  6. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Windows 8 firewall control isn't part of windows,it's a 3d party software.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  7. Originally Posted by Wolfen View Post
    Most, If not everyone these days has a router, No ? and most, If not all have built in firewalls, right ?
    Many/most of them don't. Routers act as natural firewalls due to the way they work, but that doesn't mean they have configurable firewalls, allowing you to set up internet access rules. Even if they do, how do you monitor/block specific programs?
    Not to mention, if you do enable a firewall in a router you're probably letting yourself in for a world of hurt trying to configure it to allow the internet access you require and block what you don't, especially if there's multiple devices requiring internet access and programs which require open ports in order to work correctly etc.

    Originally Posted by Wolfen View Post
    hardware firewalls are by far so much better than software firewalls so why even bother ?
    The OP wanted to be able to monitor/block the access to the internet of individual programs.
    Like most people I'm behind a router. I gave up running a software firewall years ago, but I don't have any particular need to monitor or block the internet access of individual programs.
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  8. DECEASED
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    I recommend the olde and goode "PC Tools Firewall Plus".
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  9. I too gave up on third party software firewalls for the reasons the OP states: they got heavy and "wanky".

    All I have is Windows 7 firewall, and of course a router. Plus a VM for web surfing. Never felt the need to control internet access for specific programs. Anyone care to explain the advantages to doing that? Are there compelling reasons?

    So, the recommendations so far are:

    Windows 8 Firewall Control
    PC Tools Firewall Plus

    Any more?
    Pull! Bang! Darn!
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    Originally Posted by fritzi93 View Post
    Never felt the need to control internet access for specific programs. Anyone care to explain the advantages to doing that? Are there compelling reasons?
    Compelling reason:

    You visit a website that has a java/flash/pdf/etc exploit. A rough exe is downloaded to your temp folder and is executed. If you have a firewall that asks for permission before a exe can have internet access you can block it and you are notified of a possible security issue. If you don't have a firewall, the exe has full internet access without you knowing and can send all type of info out: key logs, bank files, etc.
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  11. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    I've used the freeware Comodo firewall for several years, but it didn't seem to get along with Windows 8 or 8.1, so I had to drop it for my laptop. ZA is supposed to work well with W8, but I didn't like it's interface. But it does seem to be effective. I liked Comodo with W7 and earlier because after setup, you didn't really need to deal with it. It did complain when I installed new software, but so does Windows.

    I refuse to depend on MS solutions. I've never had Windows firewall do much of anything except block some regular program installs. I can live with that. But, unless they have improved it, it doesn't block ANY outgoing packets, EVER. Those are how malware communicates with their 'bosses'. I consider it worthless.

    On the same tack, I've had Windows Defender on quite a few PCs for quite a few years. Interestingly, not ONCE has it found any malware and blocked it, though Avast and several other anti malware programs have. End of rant, I don't trust MS with my security.

    Router firewalls work well, but they are a bit harder to set up and they don't allow exceptions. I do use them to block some irritating videos on some news sites.

    I also use a HOSTS file with IE. This works fairly well for blocking adware like doubleclick. But it can also block some usable sites.

    Really, it depends on where you go and what you do on the internet for how much protection you need. If you websurf ONLY 'safe' sites, take your chances. Probably OK. But if you sometimes venture into the 'backwaters' of the internet, you need more protection. Or if you have kids that may venture towards those locations, you might want to upgrade your (Or their) security.

    Since I've always advocated freeware programs, that's usually what I mention and use. There are also some very good payware programs out there for security, anti-malware, firewall, etc.

    I do use the payware Acronis True Image for backup, but there are also freeware programs that work well. Having a backup program and making regular backups of your OS is really the smart way to go. Even if malware destroys your OS, it usually takes a very short time to restore the system. If you've ever had your OS destroyed, you know how nice it is to recover.

    Really, firewalls, anti-malware programs, router settings, and OS backups are all part of a secure system.
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  12. Originally Posted by Vidd View Post
    Originally Posted by fritzi93 View Post
    Never felt the need to control internet access for specific programs. Anyone care to explain the advantages to doing that? Are there compelling reasons?
    Compelling reason:

    You visit a website that has a java/flash/pdf/etc exploit. A rough exe is downloaded to your temp folder and is executed.
    Is that how java/flash/pdf/etc exploits really work, because it doesn't sound all that likely to me.
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  13. Originally Posted by p_l View Post
    ...I want to easily control which programs have access to the internet or not, so that's something I'd still be looking for.
    Try Privacyware's Personal Firewall - it's completely free and is very easy on system resources.

    http://www.privacyware.com/personal_firewall.html

    Make sure to use Manual control though.

    Review here: http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-firewall-protection.htm#PrivateFirewall
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    Last edited by mike20021969; 6th Oct 2014 at 10:37.
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  14. Member
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    Originally Posted by hello_hello View Post

    Is that how java/flash/pdf/etc exploits really work, because it doesn't sound all that likely to me.
    It has happened to me on a XP machine. A visit to an infected site downloads a exe to the temp folder and it executes. It sometimes copies itself to other locations like the Application Data folder. Many times the website is not to blame, but it is the ads on the site that are infected.

    If a software firewall is installed, it should ask permission to connect to the internet and you can deny it and delete it. But if the system doesn't have a software firewall and the antvirus does not detect it, the exe would have internet access and the computer would be at risk.
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  15. I have been using Malwarebytes, not sure if it qualifies as a firewall, but its kept my system safe so far...

    Andrew
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  16. Originally Posted by VideoGuruDude View Post
    not sure if it qualifies as a firewall
    It doesn't. And it isn't.
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  17. Member p_l's Avatar
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    So I uninstalled Comodo and tried the latest ZoneAlarm firewall and anti-virus combo, free version. Apparently, the AV uses the Kaspersky engine. The firewall is not by default as verbose as I remember, relying on pre-approved program recommendations, but you can turn on a more manual interface and elect to allow individual programs internet access or not, with a recommendation to guide you. It's still a little early for a complete assessment, but so far it seems to be doing an adequate job of what I want it to do without bogging down my system too much.

    Anybody else using this? Other recommendations?
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