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Firewall vs. Anti-virus

I am running an older machine HP 900mhz, Windows XP pro with sp2, 56k and I connect with Juno. It appeared that AVG was not working up to par, so I ran Adaware, Spybot, Spywaredoctor and removed "things", also did Panda activescan no virus detected, now before I reinstall AVG should I also look into a firewall? Which am I better off with firewall or Anti-virus?

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Firewall vs.........

In reply to: Firewall vs. Anti-virus

You really need both. Although I am not well versed in the minutia of each, firewalls prevent "hacking" or unauthorized entry into your PC from the internet. Anti-Viruses prevent the installation and running of programs which are written and sent with the intent of damaging your OS or particular programs which are essentual or very useful inside your PC. You can really only run one firewall at a time, but using more than one A-V program seems to be superior to using just one. Various A-V programs use different methods of detecting and fixing or deleting viruses, trojan horses, worms, etc. Therefore more than one can be beneficial. Not all A-V programs are compatable so you may have to try different combinations. Norton seems to be incompatable with almost every other A-V program, but it also has other drawbacks. It uses large amountsof computer resources, is not particularily effective, and costs money to acquire. The same applies to McAfee. You can, however, get good, free, A-V programs by Googling or going to,, or some of the vendor websites.

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Are you sure that

In reply to: Firewall vs. Anti-virus

AVG wasn't doing it's job?

AVG is a virus hunter. Adaware hunts adware, and Spybot, and SpywareDoctor hunts for spyware. Different things, although there is some crossover, but all nasty malware.

If Panda Activescan didn't find any viruses, doesn't this suggest that AVG was working fine, eg keeping your PC free from viruses?

You should retain AVG if you're happy with using it, just make sure you keep it's virus definitions uptodate.

Yes, you also need a firewall. Some might say that on a 56K dial-up connection hackers are not going to be too interested in your computer, but personally I wouldn't want to take the chance. Your computer might become a zombie without you knowing it.

There are many different and good firewalls out there. I use ZoneAlarm from and it has a free version. Once you have installed a firewall, you can turn off SP2's firewall.

I don't think having more than one anti-virus "is" a good idea myself.


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A response to Mark

In reply to: Are you sure that

Everybody has an opinion, and probably some evidence to back it up. All I can tell you is that I use more than one A-V program, and have had no problems. I use ZL Security Suite and AVG. There have been no difficulties with this set-up. The only program that I know of that will not co-exist is Norton, but I don't like Norton for other reasons too. I think it is a resources hog, not particularily effective, and costs money. The same reasons apply to McAfee. I know, the ZoneLabs Security Suite is not free, but I have used ZL stuff for a few years now, and have never been infected. I also use AVG because I agree with Peter Green of Every A-V program functions with a different philosophy. AVG is a European program (Czech) and operates differently than an American product. I like the contrast. Another good free A-V
is Bitware's BitDefender. This is a Romanian program.

Different strokes for different folks! If it works for you, great!

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Fair enough m8

In reply to: A response to Mark

but I'm a coward. Happy

I would prefer to go with the majority on this one, if a majority it is.


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Firewall vs Antivirus

In reply to: Firewall vs. Anti-virus

I am also using an WinXp and I was interested to find an antivirus or a firewall to protect me. I tried a lot of programs, but I wasn't satisfied. Finally, I find out about ZoneAlarm Security Suite. You can find it on the internet an and you can select what kind of ZoneAlarm you want. I selected ZoneAlarm Security Suite because it contains a firewall and an antivirus, too. You can try it, free for 15 days, after that, you can buy it or you can still use it, in its free form. Go on that website and you'll find more.
About security, it is better to know that only a firewall or an antivirus will not protect you enough. I am using and other programs, like Avast and A2 squared...Together, they make my life on the internet easier...

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''Free ZA security Suite

In reply to: Firewall vs Antivirus

You say that you can continue using ZoneAlarm Security Suite in its free form after the 15-day free trial period expires. The license says, not surprisingly, that you cannot then get any upgrades. This would make the antivirus portion virtually useless, as you could not detect any of the truly new viruses. The license also says that all special features will be disabled. Exactly which features are disabled and which remain? Does it end up being any more than just the free version of the ZoneAlarm firewall?

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I agree with Mark

In reply to: Firewall vs. Anti-virus

one hundred percent.

You wouldn?t expect one medicine to treat dermatitis, stomach ulcers, heart problems, and diabetes. They are all maladies and all bad, but they are all different and require different drugs. Similarly, you need different treatments for different computer malware. You need one thing to treat viruses, another to remove spyware, another to catch Trojans, etc.

Sometimes you need more than one drug to treat a problem, other times one is sufficient, and two would interfere with each other, even to the point of becoming dangerous. Similarly, one software firewall is all you need and is all you should run. (You can have a hardware firewall in a router along with your one software firewall.) Remember, any software firewall slows down network communications, and two would slow it down even more with no appreciable benefit. Windows XP has a built in firewall, but it protects only against incoming activity. If you should somehow get a Trojan that sends information out, you are not protected. Get a better, two-way, firewall and disable the Windows firewall. I use ZoneAlarm (free version).

Similarly, I feel strongly that two antivirus programs should not be running together. In some cases they will cross interfere; but even if they don?t under normal circumstances, wait until they both discover a virus. They will fight over what to do about it, and this could lead to serious system problems. I would not even have two installed. If you do, you must turn one of them off every time you boot ? and this is a pain. Microsoft says that you should not have two antivirus programs in any Windows operating system. What you should do, is get the antivirus program you trust the most, and run it alone. If you ever suspect it has missed something, or if you want to double check, run an on-line virus check from a different company; there are several. Currently I am using Avast (free version) and then use housecall for online scans.

Two, or even three anti-spyware programs can be used together, and are desirable because none catch all such malware. (I won't go into the reasons here.) But beware! There are dozens of programs out there claiming to be anti-spyware; many are not very effective, and some are actually the opposite of what they claim ? they plant spyware. For more information on rogue anti-spyware, go to

Also look at his list of trustworthy ones -- all five of them. I use three of the free ones Spybot Search and Destroy, Ad-aware, and Microsoft Antispyware Beta. Unlike antivirus, these programs do not run constantly in the background, hence they do not interfere with each other. You run them one at a time when you want to remove spyware.

Neither antivirus nor antispyware are very effective against Trojans. Therefore, you should have protection for this malware. Trojan Hunter is considered one of the best, but costs $50. A Squared (the name is actually a subscript 2, which cannot be written here; it is not A2 squared as suggested by rosepawn1) is considered good, and costs only $30. I don?t know any good, free antitrojans at this time.

Important fact: No antivirus program remains effective unless its database on your system is up to date. No virus waves a flag to your AV saying ?I am a virus;? your AV program must look for a footprint, or signature, and compare it with those of known viruses. If there is a match, then you are notified. Sometimes people complain that their AV didn?t catch a virus; often that was because they did not keep up to date.

There are times a virus is not detected because it is a brand new type of virus, and possibly no AV program would have caught it. New viruses show up daily, many with new signatures. When a new virus is discovered, it takes a little time to identify it and its signature. This information must then be added to the database, and you must download it. This may take from one to a few days. This is why you should check for AV updates daily. Antispyware is in exactly the same category.

I have some comments specific to rosepawn1?s post. ZoneAlarm Security Suite is a good package. It has an excellent firewall (the inferior Windows firewall should be disabled), pretty good (but not the best) antivirus, antispyware whose rating I have not found, and several other features. However, I would not run both Avast and the ZoneAlarm AV; but this is a personal decision. I just hope that, if a conflict arises in the future, blame will not be assigned to either ZoneAlarm or Avast.

A Squared is an adequate antiTrojan at a rather fair price, and I am happy to see that such software is included. AntiTrojans are overlooked by most.


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Thanks, excellent post....

In reply to: I agree with Mark

I have been doing and using the programs you suggested (except the Anti-Trojan program) for a long time.

Your post wraps it up very well IMO, and I will be suggesting others to read it......

I have seen some people in the CNet Virus & Security Alerts Forum that could have used your good suggestions/advice.


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(NT) (NT) Thank you, John -- I just try to help

In reply to: Thanks, excellent post....

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