McAfee Firewall 4.0

The Good Intrusion-detection system sniffs out suspicious data exchanges; automatically creates rules for popular apps; moderately priced.

The Bad Advanced rule customization too tough for beginners; online support docs are nearly nonexistent.

The Bottom Line McAfee Firewall 4.0 beefs up its protection with a more sophisticated intrusion detector that sniffs out worms, but the app is still harder to use than its competitors.

Editors' Rating
7.0 Overall

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McAfee Firewall 4.0
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Review

McAfee Firewall 4.0

McAfee Firewall shields your PC from hackers in the traditional firewall way: first, it makes your machine invisible when you're online, then it prevents unauthorized applications, either inbound or outbound, from accessing the Internet. This tactic stops most Trojan horses from taking control of your machine and using it for nefarious purposes. At around $30, McAfee is less expensive than ZoneAlarm Pro 3.0, our current Editors' Choice, but a free download of ZoneAlarm 3.0 remains your best low-budget option for maximum protection. In terms of ease of use, beginners would be much better off with ZoneAlarm. McAfee Firewall shields your PC from hackers in the traditional firewall way: first, it makes your machine invisible when you're online, then it prevents unauthorized applications, either inbound or outbound, from accessing the Internet. This tactic stops most Trojan horses from taking control of your machine and using it for nefarious purposes. At around $30, McAfee is less expensive than ZoneAlarm Pro 3.0, our current Editors' Choice, but a free download of ZoneAlarm 3.0 remains your best low-budget option for maximum protection. In terms of ease of use, beginners would be much better off with ZoneAlarm.

Fast installation
McAfee Firewall 4.0 installs in seconds. A new wizard helps set up the firewall on a home network, quickly detecting other computers that share connections. The program automatically creates rules so that popular programs, such as browsers and instant messengers, can access the Internet automatically; this way, you see fewer nagging alerts. McAfee Firewall will even build such rules for new programs that you install after it's already in place.

Features
Catching up with its competition, McAfee Firewall 4.0 has added several new tools. McAfee now traces hack attacks back to their origin, although it doesn't display them on a map like Norton's firewall does. It also includes an intrusion-detection system that not only automatically blocks port scanners--favorite tools of malicious users--but also, like Norton Personal Firewall, examines every inbound and outbound data packet.

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