Less well-known Firewalls

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by Blackcat, Apr 27, 2003.

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  1. Blackcat

    Blackcat Registered Member

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    While waiting for the new version of AntiHacker, I have trialed a number of firewalls over the last month or so. As a supporter of all 'underdogs' I tested a number of less well-known programs and here are some observations which may be of use.

    Testing was carried out on a relatively low-spec Pentium III 800mHz, 256 mB Ram with Win 2000, SP3 and IE6.


    1. Steganos On Line Shield v. 1.52

    Easy to install. Application filtering mainly. Took between 5-9mB memory, but noticed no system slowdown. 'Star Wars interface'. Passed all inbound tests, except stealth-tests over at PCFlank, where it failed 2 of them. Only passed 'LeakTest' outbound. No forum, but support answered e-mail within 24 hours. Cost $25.

    2. Deerfield Personal Firewall/Private Firewall v.3

    During the testing of this product, Deerfield passed over their firewall to Privacyware completely. Privacyware had marketed the Deerfield product before under a different name, which differed only in the system icon. Icon flashes when 'under attack'.

    Easy to install, nice, clear user interface. Has 3 pre-defined profiles to choose - Home, Office and On the Road. Also has a System Status Report which checks constantly in the background for 'security problems'. Mainly application filtering but can add and customize rules. Passed all inbound tests, except again for stealth tests over at PCFlank. Only passed LeakTest outbound and was low on system resources, 3-4mB memory.

    Contacted support at Deerfield which was excellent (see later) but Privacyware stated 'they knew nothing about the testing procedure over at PCFlank'. $30 to buy.

    3. Visnetic Firewall v. 1.21

    Clear interface, rules-based firewall with set-up wizard. Passed all inbound tests but failed all outbound ones. No resource hog as only took between 2-4 mB memory. It is more of a consideration for servers/networks, but support recommended this over their Personal Firewall for standalone workstations.

    Excellent support both by e-mail and in their forum over at the Deerfield site. However, very expensive at $70.

    4. TGB::BOB v.2.31

    Easy to install and an excellent uninstaller. Minimalistic in the extreme- French style!!! One for the newbie as comes with pre-defined settings with no choice to add or change any rules. Password setting and very clear interface. Simply select box for 'hiding computer on the Internet' and you pass all inbound tests. Only passed LeakTest of the outbound ones. Took 6-7mB memory, but no effect on system.

    Can check for updates and excellent help-file, although some windows still have instructions in French. Traffic-light system icon, which changes colour from green to red when 'under attack'. Main site is still under construction but support replied within 48 hours. Cost is $43.

    5. F-Secure distributed Firewall v.5.5

    Install not clear, as choices were not explained. Seven running processes installed ranging between 300kb and 4mB of memory for a total of 7mB but no slowdown noticed!!
    Has 4 pre-defined security levels and passes all inbound tests whether at normal or strict setting. Application and rules-based.


    Places 2 icons in system tray, one of which is F-Secure Management agent which is mainly for network control. However, this management agent must be installed and you have no choice to uninstall this separately from the main program.

    Main icon is a red brickwall and when alerts are indicated, a flashing axe appears over the wall. Passed all in bound tests but again only Leaktest of outbound ones. Help File is a separate download but it is very clear. Cost of this firewall is $48.


    Overall Conclusions

    Like most software, choice comes down to 'eye-candy', its effectiveness in doing a job and how it fits with the rest of your system.

    For newbies, TGB::BOB cannot be beat. A real no-brainer!! Of the others, F-Secure and Deerfield Personal Firewall/Private Firewall impressed.

    However, more general points include;

    1. These commercial firewalls have a job on their hands competing with the free software such as Kerio and ZAP.

    2. Most firewalls are not very good in stopping outbound connections as revealed by Firehole, Tooleaky, Yalta and the LeakTest (however, the significance of these tests has been queried).

    3. A number of Firewall vendors are charging for annual updates rather than a one-off fee and therefore copying AV vendors.

    Overall, I am sticking with LookNStop on my main box. For the second computer, I am undecided. But both will run with System Safety Monitor.
     
  2. Blackcat

    Blackcat Registered Member

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    Testing for the above firewalls included;

    1. For inbound, these tests were used;

    http://www.pcflank.com/forums/showthread.php?s=16df6bdc364f46d69320ddb578c48b17&threadid=334

    2. For outbound; Firehole, LeakTest, Tooleaky and Yalta were used.

    Testing was done both with default settings and 'maximum' security settings on each firewall.

    All firewalls were tested separately e.g they were the only firewall installed on my computer at any one time. And to try and avoid any conflicts, they were removed with their own uninstallers, then Norton CleanSweep and any remaining 'debris' was then removed with JV16 and RegSeeker.

    Overall I noticed no system slowdown with any of the firewalls and there was very few entries left before I used the 2 Registry Cleaners.
     
  3. CrazyM

    CrazyM Firewall Expert

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    Hi Blackcat

    Glad to see I'm not alone in tinkering...uhhh...testing/evaluating :D.

    Good to see some user feedback/comments on some of the firewalls not often discussed here. Thanks for the effort and sharing your findings.

    Of the ones you trialed, I have only looked at Visnetic. A very good rule based stateful packet filter. Not for everyone though as it has no application control.

    Regards,

    CrazyM
     
  4. The Snowman

    The Snowman Guest

    BC

    appreciated you having posted your observations.....was alittle surprised by the visnetic finding....never tryed it personally though......an if crazym says its not for everyone..thats enough for me.


    What really surprises me....have not been on the net for a while.....is hearing vendors charging for updates.....have seen this being posted in other thread hear........then gave it lots of thought.
     
  5. CrazyM

    CrazyM Firewall Expert

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    Hi Snowy

    Just to expand on that a little.....Visnetic is a very strong rule based stateful firewall. James Grant, the developer, was previously involved with ConSeal. It is the lack of application control though, in my opinion, that would not make it suitable for the average home user. For experienced users it is an excellent firewall.

    Regards,

    CrazyM
     
  6. Ph33r_

    Ph33r_ Guest

    ConSeal PC Firewall was thee 1st Rule-base Software Firewall created, well before the time of “Application Filtering”, ZoneAlarm brought that term alive… Signal9 been bought by Mcafee years back which also includes all the products like ConSeal PC Firewall, all happened before this Application Filtering Ordeal came to light…

    And Mcafee Attentions was not good what-so-ever; Signal9 was Competitor which Mcafee needed to eliminate from the competition so they can bring popularity to their own Art Craft “Mcafee Personal Firewall” which sucked big time!

    ConSeal PC Firewall Advanced Software Firewall was well beyond its date, in Fact not until this year Software Firewalls hadn’t start Implementing Features that ConSeal PC Firewall had from day #1.

    No-doubt about it that James Grant Art-work is quite impressive; just shame though he doesn’t get the term “Application Filtering”…
     
  7. Ph33r_

    Ph33r_ Guest

    In Addition; ConSeal PC Firewall had “Rule-base Application Filtering (Rule Applies only when running *.exe)” And it worked beautifully, the only thing it didn’t have was “Application Filtering” which was something that hadn’t existed until after ConSeal PC Firewall was bought…
     
  8. CrazyM

    CrazyM Firewall Expert

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    Hi Phantom

    I take it there has been no change then in consideration for including application filtering in Visnetic? I know it has been suggested to him, he just never seemed keen on doing it.

    Regards,

    CrazyM
     
  9. Ph33r_

    Ph33r_ Guest

    Hey CrazyM

    Long time no chat…

    Haven’t been keeping in touch with him since the days of Becky, and at that time we both knew where he stood on this… And there’s been more effort into releasing FW with Application Filtering Feature, so I doubt there will be any time soon… Maybe Controlling Applications at an Upper scale is just too complicated for our little friend James…
     
  10. Blackcat

    Blackcat Registered Member

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    If you look at the Visnetic Firewall forum over at the main Deerfield site they are discussing items for the next version.

    But the overall concensus is that it will stay as a mainly rules-based firewall with no application filtering.
     
  11. Ph33r_

    Ph33r_ Guest

    I don’t see why he don’t just make another Application for Outbound Filtering, and build up from there and see how it goes and if all goes well then implement it into the FW…
     
  12. Blackcat

    Blackcat Registered Member

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    I suggested some sort of hybrid new version with the ports-based Visnetic and the application-based Personal Firewall.

    One day after I suggested this, they handed over Deerfield Personal Firewall to Privacyware. So no application filtering over at Deerfield!!!!!!! :D

    Their main argument appears to be that the Firewall will not be as 'stable' with application filtering and in addition Visnetic is mainly for Servers/Networks where application filtering may not be as important as for the 'home user'.

    One of their main moderators, stated that Inbound Security is the main focus point and leave outbound to AV/AT programs.
     
  13. donlon

    donlon Registered Member

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    Take a look at this one http://www.tryus.dk/bitguard.asp?lang=en&
    It's the best, smallest and most secure FW I have ever tryed
     
  14. Ph33r_

    Ph33r_ Guest

    LOLOLOL
     
  15. Ph33r_

    Ph33r_ Guest

    The best, and the smallest and securest & easiest on System Resources & stable isn’t this BitGuard Personal Firewall; however BitGuard Personal Firewall v2.2.0.80 is one neat freaking Customizable Addition to my Software Firewall… :D
     
  16. root

    root Registered Member

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    Never heard of Bitguard, but after looking at the website, my guess is it is some kind of sandbox technology.
    If it is, it may have some potential. I already use a sandbox application, but for some that don't, this may be worth a look.
    Donlon, I would be curious as to why you consider it so secure and safe. What kind of testing have you subjected it to and what kind of results? If you know what sandboxing is, am I right in assuming this uses some sandbox technology?
    I may take a look at this if I get some time. I'm just really busy right now. :(
     
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