Ad Filtering

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by Caratacus, Dec 15, 2003.

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  1. Caratacus

    Caratacus Registered Member

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    One aspect of firewalls I'd like to hear opinions on is their capacity to filter out advertisements. I know this is not the major function of a firewall, and to many may seem a frivolous concern. But though I own licences for ZAP and Nortons Firewall 2003, I have settled for using Nortons simply because it is far and away the best ad stopper I have seen.

    I previously used ZAP along with AdSubtract Pro to combine strong firewall with ad filter, but encountered problems: especially that often AdSubtract seemed to slow connections. Nortons does not perform as well as ZAP on tests like grc (and mine even failed the Symantec online test on a couple of points eg pingability); but generally seems reasonably solid, which, along with its great capacity to block ads makes it currently my choice.

    But I'm always looking for something better, and would welcome comments. My son tested Kerio 4 for a few weeks, and it seems reasonably effective at ad stopping, and reasonably trouble-free on his machine. Oupost seems not so strong at stopping ads. How about Look'n'Stop, or any others?
     
  2. Morgoth

    Morgoth Guest

    Say, that question definitely has a familiar ring...wait a min...but yes! Of cos' !! I brought up the subject not so long ago!!! :D

    In fact the issue has been trotted out over & over again. Keep up the pressure, guys. ;)

    Here, let me spare you the hassle:
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=17293;start=15
     
  3. Graystoke

    Graystoke Registered Member

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    I switched from ZAP to NPF 2004. Had some problems with ZAP and decided to give NPF a try. I think it does an outstanding job when it comes to blocking adds and pop ups. And as far as the tests at GRC goes, NPF 2004 passed them all with flying colors. It also passed all the tests at Sygate's SOS site, PC Flank and DSLR's port scanner. I'm very happy with it. Just my 2 cents worth. :)
     
  4. Morgoth

    Morgoth Guest

    Now don't get me wrong 4 what I'm about too say:
    Peter Norton may well be a genius. But the problem is:
    I doubt he programs Symantec products himself... :D

    ZA is known for its memory leak bug - the latest release hasn't changed anything to it. And I doubt they will in the nigh future.

    But my guess is, the probs you've had with ZA such as CPU and RAM load will be nothing next to what you're in for with NPF.
    Symantec products are known for their ability to wallop huge amounts of CPU resources, causes crashes (even Norton Crahsguard hehe) and leave sh*tloads of registry entries and files, even after a "complete" uninstall.

    Of course this I do not wish onto U, hopefully you will not encounter any of these bugs, so all I can say is, good luck m8 ;)
     
  5. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    I look at firewalls a little different I guess. I use my BlackIce pc security to secure my pc and leave ad blocking to other means.
     
  6. Caratacus

    Caratacus Registered Member

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    Thanks for the replies. Morgoth, I'm sorry that I raised the issue again - I did not intend to duplicate. I am new to this part of the forums, and did not see the previous discussions though I did do a quick but obviously too lazy look to see if I could see it in the topic headers. I will go and read that thread to see if I can find an answer to my question regarding comparative ad filtering capabilities there.
     
  7. Morgoth

    Morgoth Guest

    Actually the issue was raised towards the bottom of the page I pointed to, so scroll down.

    This doesn't prevent U from starting a new thread on the same subject - on the contrary, as I said, the more the better..
     
  8. Caratacus

    Caratacus Registered Member

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    So I gather that LNS does not have ad filtering as an option. Some of the problems mentioned here with ZAP have bugged me too, and using AdSubtract seems to slow things down at times and sometimes causes results like images not loading. I haven't tried Proxymitron or Admuncher.

    It seems to me that the best solution is if adstopping is integrated into the firewall. I have Nortons Internet Security but only use the Firewall part because the NAV is so slow (I use Nod instead). I have not had crashes etc with Norton Firewall (touch wood!) and the ad filtering is 99.999% effective - more so than any others including AdSubtract.

    So my question remains: assuming Nortons firewall works ok (as it does for me) - is there anything comparable? If so, I'll try it.
     
  9. Morgoth

    Morgoth Guest

    Welcome 2 the club, m8 :cool:

    ?!! Heh - and I always thought 'Stable Norton product' was an oxymore. Now I too believe in miracles!

    Actually, the Ad-blocking built into Agnitum Outpost Pro has a slight edge on its competitors as it can also block flash popups. On the other hand the FW itself has memory leak issues akin to those of ZAP, and the 'outbound' protection leaves to be desired.

    U could give Kerio a try - good inbound protection (like all other recent firewall), decent outbound protection (but like any other FW, not infallible - has its own weaknesses) and has integrated anti-popup. Plus, uses few resources (although LnS uses yet a little less resources, and has better outbound protection...)

    But if NPF suits your needs & causes no trouble, stay with it. As they say, "let sleeping dogs lie" :D
     
  10. Caratacus

    Caratacus Registered Member

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    IMO ad filtering should be integrated into the firewall because ads are one more element to be filtered out, and filtering out unwanted incomings is one of the main tasks of firewalls. Why run 2 apps (eg FW + Admuncher) when one can do it?

    As to letting sleeping dogs lie: if I can find a more efficient firewall that passes more tests than NAV and is less resource hungry and filters ads out as well or better, I will use it. Hence my initial question.
     
  11. mvdu

    mvdu Registered Member

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    I just learned how to turn popups back on with Outpost, so its ad filtering isn't as annoying as it once was to me. I just stopped PCAudit 2 with Outpost, so its outbound protection is pretty good. Kerio has its own weakness: dll injection. Ad filtering seems surprisingly smooth with Kerio, though.
     
  12. CrazyM

    CrazyM Firewall Expert

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    Hi Caratacus

    Certainly not frivilous to many of the major firewall vendors as many move towards being overall security suites and include things like ad/active content filtering and AV.

    The latest versions of NIS/NPF (2003/2004) should pass all the online tests. You might want to check your rules.

    The change in the proxy filter in 2003 improved the filtering quite a bit. So much so, it was not uncommon to see posts from users having problems accessing certain sites.

    No it does not.

    The resident scanner? Or just when doing system scans?

    As for resource usage, when I have used NIS I found it uses little in the way of CPU. RAM is consistent, perhaps a little higher, than when using other firewall/AV/proxy combos that would provide the same functionality.

    I think the main contenders with similar built in functionality at this point would be Outpost, Kerio 4.x and ZAP.

    Regards,

    CrazyM
     
  13. Morgoth

    Morgoth Guest

    Actually, NPF and Kerio both have their weaknesses (as do all FWs). Check out this leak, the results are a few days fresh:
    http://perso.wanadoo.fr/jugesoftware/firewallleaktester/eng/pageweb/test.html

    NPF can block Ghost and Pcaudit2 (bot not PCAudit!?!), whereas Kerio can block MBtest (it has always has good low level network filtering) but not PcAudit2 (nor PcAudit). Thus Kerio has better network filtering but weaker DLL injection protection.

    So both NPF and Kerio are more or less equivalent, yet Kerio uses fewer resources. Both have ad-blocking.

    Don't wanna spoil the day, but check out the aformentionned link (gkweb's leaktest site): there are a few issues concerning Outpost, moreover according to his tests it does not pass PcAudit2 :doubt:(the test conditions are strict: the FW must be able to "see" the source of the leaktest for it to truly pass the test). But overall, yes it has decent outbound protection, and the Pcaudit2 issue will no doubt be dealt with in the nigh future...
     
  14. mvdu

    mvdu Registered Member

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    It actually did see PCAudit 2 - that's what surprised me. I might have accidently allowed a dll before. There was only one bug with Outpost: sometimes it will keep asking if you want to allow the .dll, even after you're done testing. NPF also has this problem with some tests - to a greater extent.

    From what I've seen, NIS's ad filtering isn't really better than ZAP's, but is a little better than Outpost's. NIS doesn't use a lot of CPU, but the program is too bloated.
     
  15. Morgoth

    Morgoth Guest

    NPF (or NIS, whatever) may use a little less resources, but I'm 99.99% certain that it uses a lot more than its competitors (I haven't tested the latest one). U got it right about the 'bloating part' - but one thing users often forget is that Symantec products leave a whole lot of @%$# registry entires & files on the HDD even after a supposedly "thorough" uninstall... :mad:

    Surprised but glad to see that - if this is actually true (if OPP did see the new PCaudit2 components). Perhaps you're using a new version of OPP (> 2.0.23:cool:?

    IF so, better advise Gkweb to double-check & update the test results ;)
     
  16. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    Just in case you guys are interested, here is one of the very best ad blockers (in my opinion) available today:

    http://www.ad-shield.com/

    Here are a number of links to an earlier version of AdShield that is free:

    http://www.fsd1.org/technology/Files/AdShield.exe

    http://www.internettechs.net/utilities/AdShield.exe

    http://ftp.ural.ru/home/index/windows/networking/utils/AdShield

    http://www.megalog.ru/info/utilz/AdShield.zip

    Acadia
     
  17. mvdu

    mvdu Registered Member

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    I used that version. Back to ZAP right now because with open process control, it's one of the best. But perhaps Outpost technically still fails because of that bug I mentioned?

    Thanks for the links, Acadia. :D
     
  18. rerun2

    rerun2 Registered Member

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    I still think this is a matter of personal preference. Some people still rather not have any sort of ad filtering capabilities (even if it can easily be turned on/off and even if it appears as a plugin) because ad blocking is not viewed as a very high priority to them. To the people who are in favor of ad filtering there are quite a number of firewalls that have this feature (most of which are already mentioned in this thread). And for those people who are not in favor of this feature, they also have a nice selection as well. I do not see why this has to be changed. Not every vendor has the same amount of resources and time to develop QUALITY ad filtering in their product, and if they wish to spend their resources and time in developing other aspects of their firewall I think that is fine.

    I have had my own negative experiences using these type of features when i was trialing a firewall product that had ad filtering. I dont think it is necessary to relate my experience in detail, as my own needs and concerns about ads is probably very different from others. However, the main problem was that most of the ad filtering features were overlapping with other settings I have already set (for example in my browser). I ended up having to do much more configuration for some pages to be displayed properly. Without the ad filtering features of this firewall, I did not see a compelling reason to keep this firewall over the one I have previously been using.
     
  19. doug6949

    doug6949 Registered Member

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    I have followed this thread from the beginning and taken the scenic detours through all the other threads linked herein.

    What kind of websites are y'all visiting? Opera seems to block just about everything if you check the popup box in preferences. Is IEx.x such a great browser that folks are willing to fight its marketing "features" with all this other software?

    Doug

    ....she swallowed the spider to catch the fly - I don't know why she swallowed the fly. Perhaps she'll die.
     
  20. Caratacus

    Caratacus Registered Member

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    CrazyM, thanks for comments. When I installed NIS I opted not to install the AV, and use NOD32 instead for resident scanner & system scans.

    Fire Permit, it's not only pop-ups (I use Opera too) - banner ads (at eg the Sydney Morning Herald http://www.smh.com.au or at Yahoo news), especially moving ones, are distracting to me. I suppose that is their intention, but luckily NIS blocks them right out and I can concentrate on the task at hand.

    Acadia, I will try out LNS along with Adshield though I would prefer just one app instead of two.

    rerun2, I agree with what you say. In my case I would like to find the best combo of firewall & filter, preferably in the one bundle.
     
  21. claire

    claire Guest

    Hi Caractus,
    Please excuse me for popping in.If you try LnS(greatFW)
    don't forget to use the enhanced ruleset
    :)
     
  22. Morgoth

    Morgoth Guest

    Rerun2:
    When using an ad-filter or the like, remove all browser restrictions. Simple, isn't it? ;)

    Fire:
    Enjoyed the view? :D

    Good question. For compatibility, perhaps. Or maybe they just enjoy seeing their own popup-killer in action...

    Mvdu:

    A decent FW, but remember it also has that long-standing - and very annoying - memory-leak bug, and is known to wallop CPU resources when using it with P2P apps. Moreover, the "process protection" is an application monitor, thus only a makeshift protection against process-injecting trojans such as Beast, etc...
     
  23. mvdu

    mvdu Registered Member

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    Well, what I'm saying is that even a makeshift thing provides better protection than what the other firewalls are now offering. Does Outpost use a lot fewer resources?

    Also, I don't usually filter out banner ads - just popup ads - but that's me.
     
  24. FluxGFX

    FluxGFX Registered Member

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    There's pay service called AdMuncher 4.51 very effective Ad-Blocking techniques and Pop-Up filtering.

    It is worth to checkout. It's even more powerfull then Ad-Shield and I do use Ad-Shield.

    Very outstanding results since November over 54 291 Ads blocked for a total of 397 mb of space
     
  25. rerun2

    rerun2 Registered Member

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    ... and vice versa ;) . You know how many of the same javascript features you can restrict using a browser like opera and mozilla (prevent moving/resizing windows, prevent changing of status fields etc etc). You can even prevent media and sounds from being played in web sites using one of these browsers. I have also found the pop up blocking to be quite effective on both. As you can see with the proper tweaking of my browser, I have found no real need for an ad filtering program. Which is exactly my point, everyone has different needs concerning ad filtering. And ad filtering in of itself is much more subjective than packet filtering. Block a legitimate image because of ad size and you have one unhappy customer (I have found this to be the case in some online retailers that sell shoes like eastbay and footlocker). Block a legitimate javascript window from opening and now you have another unhappy customer (yahoo fantasy draft). And on and on. You even mentioned that most firewalls with these ad filtering capabilities are flawed in some way, so what would prevent these customers from staying with this product if they were to leave ad filtering "off" all the time? Some of them may even ditch the firewall completely (even if the firewall might excel in other areas). By adding ad filtering in firewalls some customers may inadvertently associate the quality of the firewall with the quality of the ad filtering. If ads are that large of a concern to you... products like ad muncher excel in ad filtering (that is what they specialize in!), and yet you ask for ad filtering feature in a firewall that may only be sub par at best (if compared with specialized ad filtering programs).

    Morgoth, I have read your comments and still do not completely understand where you stand and what the crutch of your argument is concerning this issue. From what i gather... your ideal firewall has great packet filtering, outbound protection, no memory leaks or other bugs in the code, excellent ad filtering and script blocking, and ummm dll/code injection protection (from your last reply) ... and yet... reply #35 https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=17293;start=30 o_O
     
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