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What the Best Firewall?

by RMskater / May 3, 2006 11:14 AM PDT

In relation to <a href="http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-6142-0.html?forumID=5&threadID=173975&messageID=1914761">this post</a>, what's the best firewall software? I've seen lots of different answers from Outpost to Sysgate to ZoneAlarm. I was going to get ZoneAlarm Pro, but saw that some people had major problems with version 6 (not the latest build though), and was just wondering what everyone's take here was before I got myself a firewall.

Also, it's for my laptop when I go to places like Starbucks and log on for quite some time. In other words, hard firewalls (PC, router, etc.) are not an option here.

Thanks so much! Grin

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The best is one that meets your definition. For instance.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 3, 2006 11:35 AM PDT

There is this one pundit that maintains that only firewalls with "stateful inspection" hold muster.

What is your stance on this?

Bob

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Well....
by RMskater / May 3, 2006 11:49 AM PDT

I don't necessarily need one that lives up to stateful inspection, although that might be best. I want one that many people have used and that is reputable and has a good backing from its users. Happy

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I Really Want ZoneAlarm...
by RMskater / May 3, 2006 12:01 PM PDT

Well, I really want ZoneAlarm, but I'm worried after reading some stuff on it. I'll post some comments of other people that I've read. Since a firewall can block internet access are these comments in reference to them just not knowing how to configure it, or are there real problems here?

"Not trying to sh*t on your post because I do appreciate your effort but after installing it my comp was fubared. It's taken a couple hours just to get back on line. I hope it's my machine and not the program."

"alright m8.. im avin abitta trouble meself.. well.. firstly it updated perfectly but now it wont update my spyware. the weird thin is dat my spyware recons its up 2 date confused"

"yeah.. its updated it nw.. jus had a bitta trouble findin the connection - bla bla gd upload m8 !! i do av 1 question tho.. i carn seem 2 get on bf2 the game, every time i go 2 enter a match it disconnects from the server n i end up back at the 'choose server screen' any ideas?
thx ppl "

"I've been using this prog for the longest time and have never had a problem until yesterday.I tried everything I could think of and nothing worked. If I unistalled it I had internet re-install and no net. I don't know."

"yup I with his version of program have problems too. IE just do not connect at all and if you trying to shut down ZASS you have to wait nice time, I did not have any problems with older versions of this program Sad
the problem is that I do not remember which version it was"

"Zone Alarm transmits personal info back to a database on it's website

not to mention frequent problems if upgrading

Oh yeah and there's a know issue with a driver error that causes a blue screen PM dump.

other than that it's just peachy"

"Google "zone alarm problems" (exact phrase) - when you've browsed through the first 3 or 4 pages of the 500 hits you can make up your own mind. Zone alarm sucks"

"Zone Alarm v4 was great - v5 was awful.

Been using v6 for 6 months or so... no problems yet.

thanks for this."

"I used Zone alarm lol it is good for blocking things i give it that, it blocked my friggin internet well to cut it down blocked my inthenet card from net access, wouldnt allow me to un block it either would blcok it again.
When it comes down to it, it sucks but for some it works and for some it dont, way of life, i prefer panda, worked lovely for me, but cant get hold of it which is a pain"

"I hate zoneAlarm, I uninstalled it, and now that computer can't access the internet, and is unstable. I'm going to have to re-install it just to see if this crappy program can reallow access to the internet"

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You say that.....
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 3, 2006 6:57 PM PDT

you have already used ZoneAlarm in this thread;
http://reviews.cnet.com/5208-6142-0.html?forumID=5&threadID=173975&messageID=1914761

So you already know what ZoneAlarm is like. Why not trust your previous experience?

Any program is going to get it's supporters and detractors. At the end of the day the choice has to be yours. If you don't want to go with ZoneAlarm, then presumably you will want to try another firewall. But when you ask the same questions about that firewall, you are going to get similar replies.

Good luck.

Mark

PS, for what it is worth, I have used the Pro version of ZoneAlarm for a couple of years, and the free version for years before that, and have not considered changing.

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Slightly Different...
by RMskater / May 3, 2006 11:48 PM PDT
In reply to: You say that.....

Well, it is slightly different, one was asking what the purpose of them are, and the other was asking what ones that are out there function the best. There is a slight difference, but I do appreciate the heads-up. Happy Thanks. Happy

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Not really, you miss my point.
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / May 4, 2006 4:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Slightly Different...

You've already stated that you have used ZoneAlarm in the past, (in your other thread), so you have already got a head start on how it works, it's effectiveness, and the problems it (may) produce.

So all I was saying was that you already know the product, and you should trust your own instincts. If it worked for you last time, then why not try it out again?

How about this. Try the free version out, and see how you get on. It may not have all the bells and whistles of the pro version, eg limited "whois" trace facilty, but the basic firewall software is the same. If you find you have problems, then you can decide whether to fix them or to try another product.

I hope this helps.

Mark

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Ah...
by RMskater / May 4, 2006 5:40 AM PDT

Oh, I see. Thanks for the clarification. I didn't really use it alot, I just had come into contact with it on a friend's computer, and had tried it for about an hour. I really didn't get the point of a firewall, so everytime I tried to access something, I got annoyed at it asking permission, so I uninstalled it.

I now know a bit more about firewalls, so understand that it was SUPPOSED to ask permissions, but before I reinstall it, I just wanted some people's opinions on it.

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My 2 cents...
by nsaktihnanner / May 4, 2006 6:56 AM PDT
In reply to: Ah...

Yes, I agree. It all depends on how comfortable YOU are with it.

I used ZoneAlarm Free a long time ago and personally didn't like it; I used Sygate Personal Firewall Free and Sygate Personal Firewall Pro and liked it. Today I still use the free version. However, now that Sygate was taken overver by Symantec I won't be getting any more updates, support, new versions, etc. But it is still good as it is and it has an interface I can understand.

You have to take time to LEARN the inner workings of your firewall if you are going to get anything out of it. Don't just dump it aside because other people say they don't like it.

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Maybe you are looking for "perfect"?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 3, 2006 9:52 PM PDT

Or perfection. If so, you would not be running Windows. But let's tackle one common ZoneAlarm issue. I'll use recent examples of an user gaffe as well as a ZoneAlarm goof.

- The use selected maximum protection and found that they could not connect to the internet. A little investigation found they had configured ZA to shut off the internet. Should a firewall allow this or is this an user problem?

- Every once in awhile ZoneLabs has an update that isn't so great. It's rare but we remember when this happens. Some will pick up a gaffe and carry it like a flag for years. Are you expecting perfection?

Bob

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anther common gaffe -- networks
by linkit / May 4, 2006 7:17 AM PDT

Those who use any personal firewall on a network that shares files, printers, and other resources often don't know or forget to tell the computer's firewall program to permit other computers on the network to access them. Those who don't know about this often think the firewall is a piece of junk and give it a poor rating.

Permission is given by telling the firewall what local IP ADDRESSES or IP ADDRESS RANGE is to be ''trusted.'' If one needs help with this, the firewall help file or webpage has details on how to do this.

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overanalyzing, IMO
by linkit / May 4, 2006 7:24 AM PDT

Just install it and see how it goes. ZoneAlarm steps you through simple setup and has a tutorial that pops up after initial installation.

The only problem I have ever had with multiple versions of ZA on many computers is forgetting to add the TRUSTED RANGE of IP addresses if on a local network.

Online gamers, VPN, and remote access users may need to configure ZA a litte further, but you can cross that bridge when you come to it. At that point, there is plenty of troubleshooting documentation for this on ZA's website and the website for the particular game, VPN, etc.

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