Firewall/Anitvirus: Free Vs Paid-for

  Soy (AKA tran1) 19:06 04 Apr 2003


Are those that use free firewalls such as sygate and zonelalarm less protected than those that have the paid-for equivalents?

Is it worth the money to go for paid-versions?

Same question for anti-virus programs; Are updates for norton (paid-for) relased quicker and more thorough than the AVG updates?

This is just a question that has been on my mind.

John T

  Optimo 19:16 04 Apr 2003

ive been using zonealarm for ooooooh ages now and (touch wood) have never had any problems yet.

  Azzy 19:32 04 Apr 2003

I agree, I have also used zone alarm and have had no problems although I did find that AVG did not always work and thats why I switched to McAffee Version 6 which maybe the old version but i use it without troubles and also it has a very good firewall application on it so I don't use Zone alarm anymore.

  Belatucadrus 20:04 04 Apr 2003

The antivirus programs offer one free copy only for non profit home use of ordinary commercial software. The free version is usually lacking in some features, like scan scheduling. All other applications require payment, so the issue isn't really free versus paid for, it's which is best. According to the Virus bulletin tests the best free package is avast4 click here though the most popular here is AVG. I'll preempt DieSse by pointing out that the best results of all go to NOD32 click here

  Soy (AKA tran1) 20:14 04 Apr 2003

Hi the reason I've asked about firewalls is becuase I decided to give Sygate a go (free personal version). Having tested the firewall out at Symantec and Sygate SOS, The failed a test and both sites where able to collect my browser information.

AVG is ok, but i'm not too sure on the reliability of its scans.

  flecc 20:32 04 Apr 2003

If the Sygate failed their own test it's probably not configured correctly. GRC are the acknowledged experts in these forms of security and were involved in the development of ZoneAlarm. They rate the Sygate as very good and I've never had trouble with it, finding it less intrusive than ZoneAlarm.

AVG is excellent and doesn't lack anything. When the I-Worm Opas hit the internet at the end of September, AVG's heuristic scan picked it up, something which the paid for PC-cillin and Norgton AV programs failed to do until they had been been updated by Symantec.

Beware of testing at suppliers sites like Norton though, they have an axe to grind. Tests can be configured to produce a desired result, and this does happen.

Norton's own firewall was bought in from another company and modified by them, following which GRC reviewed it and found no less than 48 leaks, many of which they rated as serious. Needless to say, they didn't recommend it. There may still be information on this at GRC's site:-

click here

  flecc 20:34 04 Apr 2003

That should have read, " - - -updated by Trend and Symantec"

  Gaz 25 21:16 04 Apr 2003

Make sure you scroll down the page.

And flecc, Symantec patched norton up, and now they have made the 2003 version very fool proof, not failed one test!

However port 8080 was left open, only because my ISP uses it to deliver its special services.

  Gaz 25 21:18 04 Apr 2003

It is just a waste fo time, does it matter if a site knows your OS, what can they do?

No firewall passes the sysgate one, not even with a Privacy blocker, cos it does not use cookies, it uses some other way to get the info.

  flecc 22:15 04 Apr 2003

Thanks, I knew they'd patched it but didn't know how effectively. I was mainly illustrating just how unreliable biassed opinions on protection software can be by showing how Symantec/Norton have a less than spotless record with their own product.

I'm not worried though, since I don't use any anti virus or firewall at all and can't get an infection anyway without deliberately trying to get a virus/trojan. Even then they dive straight into prison, rendering themselves helpless!

Yes, really!

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