Are FREE firewalls any good

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by chris18, Apr 12, 2006.

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  1. chris18

    chris18 Registered Member

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    Sorry to bore people by asking what is probably a dull question to many but!

    No doubt like many people I now have more than one PC in the household. My own & my wife's desktops and my recently acquired laptop.

    In my early days, when I only had one machine, I followed the trend and went for Zone Alarm FREE but abandoned that eventually after having experienced several problems (too long ago now to remember exactly what) but think applications were being blocked for no known reason as I recall.

    I then switched to Sygate FREE and this was fine for a long time but after upgrading the PCs, and buying new ones etc, I had to download a fresh version each time. Then along came Symantec and Sygate went to the graveyard and you can't download it now.

    I recently trialled Outpost Pro on my laptop and that's really nice but with three machines the cost of annual licences becomes an issue.

    So my question now is which way should I go. Should I accept that I am going to have to pay around £50 per annum for licences or can I still get a FREEWARE firewall that will give me adequate protection ( I am using a router).

    I found an old thread on the site that listed free firewalls but a cursory glance shows that quite a few have bitten the dust.

    I see that Sunbelt Kerio Personal Firewall will continue working after the trial but with some options disabled. Is the disabled version worth having??

    I've also looked at SoftPerfect Personal Firewall but see that it at v1.4.1 and dated 11 March 2005 so I assume ti's no longer being developed or updated.

    Would appreciate some advice please on the best way to go.

    Thanks
     
  2. khazars

    khazars Registered Member

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    Jetico is free and recently topped the recent leaktests! However, it has not had an update since July last year and the next version will be shareware with a free lite version in the pipeline later!

    Syagte free is decent as is Kerio 4 so there are good free versions out there!

    For just blocking incoming, CHX-1 and ghostwall are also free and very light!

    Others have mentioned filseclab, coreforce and netveda.

    Two other good firewalls as you mentioned are outpost and look n stop!


    http://www.firewallleaktester.com/tests.php
     
  3. Upasaka

    Upasaka Guest

    :D
    Yes Kerio free version is an excellent firewall!

    You said that you used Sygate free previously,it is still out there to be downloaded if you want it.

    I expect someone here will have a link at their fingertips.....if not I will look it out for you.
     
  4. Upasaka

    Upasaka Guest

  5. the Tester

    the Tester Registered Member

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  6. Bob D

    Bob D Registered Member

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  7. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    I have used Kerio 2.1.5 for several years at various times. I now have it on my laptop. I do not know what makes a good firewall, but it passes the leak tests. It also warns about things coming in and going out.

    I often wonder how much update a firewall needs. If it blocks ports and prevents malware from coming in, and alerts/blocks outgoing what more do we expect?

    On my desktop I have LooknStop. As far as I know it has not updated in the year + I have used it.

    Jerry
     
  8. aigle

    aigle Registered Member

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    If u want free, Kerio is really one of the best options in my opinion, or if even better if u can configure Jetico( I was not able to handle it- too complex for me).
     
  9. timcan

    timcan Registered Member

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    Comodo version 2 is free and passes the tests that jetico can't.
     
  10. ghodgson

    ghodgson Registered Member

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    Kerio !!!!!!!! light footprint and very good protection.
     
  11. Mongol

    Mongol Registered Member

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  12. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    Two points to make here:
    • Outpost does not need annual renewal - the one year period covers access to program updates (plus signature updates for the Anti-Spyware plugin). The firewall itself (and other plugins) can be used indefinitely. Should you choose to renew your licence after expiry, you can do so at a 50% discount.
    • For multiple computers, Agnitum offer a Family Licence covering up to 5 computers in the same household for less than the cost of 2 separate licences - see the Outpost purchase page for details.
    As others have pointed out, there are good free products available also should you choose to investigate further. Some products do have issues (like Sygate's local proxy problem, making it unsuitable if you run local proxies like web filters or some anti-virus web scanners) so the best solution for you will depend in part on what other software you run.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  13. Jarmo P

    Jarmo P Registered Member

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    I do run Avast that has a webshield proxy.
    So Sygate lets out my Firefox browser, not a big thing. I would allow it anyways ;) Connections get logged though.
    But it does not allow IE since I have disabled transparent proxy setting in Avast.

    Just telling, that loosing outbound control in trusted browsers with Sygate is not such a serious issue Paranoid2000.
    With other type of proxies it though might be something to consider to change to an other firewall.

    But same time telling, you cannot run something like Kerio 2.1.5 without alllowing browsers outbound. Kerio 2.1.5 is a good packet filter too. If i was not running sygate 5.5.2710, kpf 2.1.5 would be my second choice. Not the 4.2 version that has stability problems.
     
  14. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    Mmm...did you read the article? Sygate cannot control access to local proxies at all - so if you run one, any application (including malware) could use it to gain network access.
     
  15. chris18

    chris18 Registered Member

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    Wow, that's lot of posts to work through. I will have to take my time and absorb all that's been said and look at the various links.

    Thanks to everyone, especially those providing Sygate links. As regards Sygate I recall now that for a time I was running Avast anti-virus and whenever that did a version update, not virus signature, there were problems with Sygate. Apparently Sygate had issues with quite a few anti-virus applications. Is this the local_proxies mentioned?

    If I go for Kerio 4 do I just let the trial period expire and carry on with the reduced options or is there a separate link?

    Paranoid2000 Thanks for the info on Outpost, I hadn't appreciated that.

    I have to admit that to date Outpost has proved very easy to setup and use, probably the best I've tried so far. To take the point made by JerryM I can see the need for anti-virus software to be updated on a regular basis but how much updating does a firewall need?

    I'm not very techie wAnyway, thanks again and I'll work through the replies and post back.
     
  16. unhappy_viewer

    unhappy_viewer Registered Member

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    ZA (free) is always available and at least I know that ZL is one company that is continually dedicated to producing the free version of its excellent firewall (unlike Kerio when it had a moment of suspense when its fate looked doom).
     
  17. Jarmo P

    Jarmo P Registered Member

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    That is true Paranoid2000, I know. So it is upto the application, local proxy, how it behaves.

    (If some local proxy installed were a virus, it would still be logged by SPF. And would have to be asked first time for internet allowance. And then it would be too late anyways? Safe hex and all ;) )

    As told, Avasts's webshield does not let other applications outbound currently without asking me, except Firefox. So I rather want that added protection, than worry getting asked if I should allow my firefox connecting internet. I still get asked though for other traffic ports than 80 tcp from Sygate for Firefox. I do get asked for 443 TCP etc.
    Avast's webshield has actually caught some javascript running viruses that i was open when not running Noscript extension.

    If I was a regular IE surfer, I should be more worried of my options, cause many malware could indeed piggyback through IE and can go to internet.
    Whether to have Avast webshield scanning protection turned on for IE and thus loosing the outbound control to IE, or like I have done, disabled the transparent scanning in webshield local proxy.

    And like I told, it all depends on the type of local proxy used. Decisions made. Either disable that local proxy or knowing what outbound access control you loose.


    Still, many people use XP SP2 firewall, with NO outbound control.
    Depends how strongly you need security, or how paranoid you are, hehe.

    EDIT:
    Chris18, there has been no problems I know involving Sygate with Avast or any other antivirus. Problems them not updating or any other things. What I was talking with Paranoid2000 was only that local proxy thing. Whether to run them with Sygate firewall and thus loosing outbound control.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  18. chris18

    chris18 Registered Member

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    Jarmo P

    Sorry to contradict but the Sygate forum, when it was running, had numerous posts about problems between avast & Sygate.

    If I recall correctly it was because one of the avast modules changed ONLY during updating and Sygate did not recognise this. After updating the main program, many people found it wasn't possible to have automatic signature updates because even though Sygate was given permission to allow avast updates it just kept flagging up requests for access rights, around every 10 secs!!.

    Usually people uninstalled the latest avast and went back to their last working version to get around it and left major updates alone.

    I raised this as an issue with avast and they confirmed that there were known problems with Sygate.

    Has to be said that not everyone had the problem but it certainly existed, but of course this is now academic.
     
  19. Jarmo P

    Jarmo P Registered Member

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    Sygate forum is still working.
    http://forums.sygate.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?forumid=8
    It was gone for maybe 2 months.

    I remember the posts about what you say, but I never experienced those problems with Avast.
    There were as with ANY firewall, allowances to make for an antivirus like Avast to have automatic updates checked. If you still run Sygate, you can sort avast applications by path name and there allow what are needed.
    Or check that traffic log what is blocked. Easy. :)

    Well there were posts about this outbound connection loss that is true. But I never read about issues of having difficulties Avast updating with Sygate.
    Think Sygate as a packet filter. It would not make any exception what you do, it is just a simple dummy packet filter for internet traffic. It is you who decide, make rules for it to behave.

    PS EDIT
    We are soon going to get another program update from avast, 4.7. I am not excepting any troubles having it updating with SPF. I have been going with a few Avast program updates though ;) and with SPF no problems.
    It is, people when they have problems, it is easy to point a firewall instead of making it work. Always the software, hehe. Me too sometimes.

    Also after a program updates Sygate asks if it should be allowed, the change.
    If you say no, then the next thing was to go and delete that application from the application rules and wait for the next time when that question when contact was requested again.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2006
  20. Bob D

    Bob D Registered Member

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    Correct. Just let trial period expire. FW has full functionality, HIPs protection is disabled.
     
  21. chris18

    chris18 Registered Member

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    Jarmo P

    Don't want to labour the point about avast & Sygate as it's a side issue really except to say that as stated earlier NOT EVERYONE had the problem after updating avast, it seemed very hit and miss.

    Various workarounds were posted on the Sygate forum and others that I visit from time to time but I don't recall there being a definitive solution, not even from avast.

    This apart both programs were/are excellent.

    Bob D

    Not being a techie can you explain FW & HIPs please?
     
  22. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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