My current security combo & Comodo Versus ZA free Firewall

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by john2005, Apr 8, 2007.

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  1. john2005

    john2005 Registered Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I am hoping someone can please help me with the following...

    My current security setup is...

    AVG free anti-virus
    Windows Defender anti-spyware
    Zone Alarm free firewall version 6.5.737.000
    Cyberhawk http://www.novatix.com/cyberhawk/
    Firefox browser with no-script extension
    Sandboxie

    I also do periodic scans with AVG anti-spyware free (real time disabled), spybot search and destroy, lavasoft adaware, a-squared, and bitdefender online scan.

    My current setup is working fine, but recently when I tried to upgrade Zone Alarm free, it caused my computer to crash and restart so I had to go back to version 6.5.737.000 which always worked great. I have also read reviews that the most recent version of ZA is also causing crashes. Additionally, ZA free is now about a 38 MB download which takes some time to download on a 56 k dial up connection.

    I like to keep my security software updated, but do I really need to update to the most recent version of ZA ? If not now, then when ?

    I have been thinking of trying the free Comodo firewall as it seems to have good reviews, although I heard that the company was previously affiliated with a spyware company. I heard similar rumors about the company behind spywareterminator previously being affiliiated with spyware.

    Is comodo 2.4.18.184 a better choice than ZA free ? The upcoming release of comodo (version 3.0) is supposed to have HIPS, so as long as it does not conflict with cyberhawk, I guess I should be OK, or I can do away with Cyberhawk if the HIPS in comodo is good.

    Please let me know what you guys would recommend, should I try to stay with ZA free, or go with Comodo ?

    Thanks for your help.
    John
     
  2. ankupan

    ankupan Registered Member

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    Earlier I was using ZA, startup was taking time.

    Now I am using Comodo and enjoying it too. (easy to use too)
     
  3. SoCalReviews

    SoCalReviews Registered Member

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    The reason the ZA v7 installation file is larger than before is that it now includes inactivated features of ZASS v7 including the KAV (Kaspersky antivirus) engine. My understanding of why this has been done is to allow users to upgrade to the full licensed version of ZASS v7.x if they choose to in the future without having to download and install ZASS v7.x.. This should normally not cause any conflicts with your current AV program and if you decided in the future to activate the full ZA Security Suite v7.x and enable the KAV engine for real time protection then you would want to completely uninstall your current AV program first. I am not certain whether your AVG Free program is causing a conflict with the inactivated features of the KAV engine but I have not yet heard of any such conflicts between ZA Free v7.x and AVG Free. It is difficult to say exactly why you had a problem with ZA Free v7.x crashing on you when you tried to install it but if ZA Free v6.5.737 is working well then there is nothing wrong with continuing to use that version. If you decide to stay with an older ZA version you may want to turn off the automatic update checking feature in ZA to stop any future upgrade notification alerts.

    To help avoid conflicts during future ZA product upgrades I would recommend that you turn off (un-check) the "Load ZA at startup" option in ZA under Overview > Preferences, then reboot your machine before upgrading ZA. Even though the ZA install program is supposed to shut them down during the installation doing the above procedure assures that the ZA true vector and other ZA program services are not running in the background. Doing this really helps prevent conflicts during the upgrade. I would also recommend that you turn off the similar load at auto-startup option for all your other security programs then reboot your machine before trying to install or upgrade to a ZA product. After a successful installation of ZA then re-enable the auto startup for those other security programs one by one to test for compatibility and to to configure them with the newer version of ZA. I would also recommend that during the installation phase of ZA select "Clean Install" when asked. If you have not already done so you could take a look at the ZA user forum for more help and information regarding the installation of the latest version of ZA.

    I have not tried the Comodo firewall so I can't directly recommend it but it has been highly rated in many of the independent software firewall tests and many users of this forum highly recommend it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2007
  4. john2005

    john2005 Registered Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your replies.

    Maybe I will just stick with the older version of ZA then. I have always liked ZA & was ready to buy ZA Pro, but when I started to have problems with the new ZA free, I decided not to get the pro version, & just went back to ZA free version 6.5.737.000 which always worked great for me.

    The main thing that concerns me about ZA free is that it does not rate as well as ZA Pro, or most other firewalls, as far as leak tests http://www.firewallleaktester.com/.

    If a trojan, dialer, keylogger, or other malware gets onto my system, I would like the firewall to prevent the malware from calling and/or reporting home as best as possible. Comodo seemed to have very good ratings as far as outbound protection & leak tests. Recently, at the site given above, Comodo also did very well at preventing itself from being shut down by malware, which has been a strong point for ZA in the past, but ZA did not seem to do as good as Comodo in the recent tests at the site.

    The only thing that concerns me about using an old version of security software is that there may be holes or Vulnerabilities in the older versions of ZA that have been fixed in the newest version. All the ports may be closed and hidden with an older version of ZA, but my feeling is that if there is a hole or Vulnerability in the old version of ZA, then malware can find a way around the older firewall more easily, especially if you have something on your system that you are not aware of, like a hidden keylogger that is reporting home over the net.

    Adding ZASS to the free version of ZA is just their way of trying to make a sale, which is no problem as they are in business to make money. Of course, the whole point of giving away ZA free in the first place is to make sales on the upgrades, and they almost made a sale with me, but the new version is buggy on my XP system. Making the free version of ZA a 38 MB download is not a good idea, and I think it actually hurts their chances of making a sale to anyone using dial up. Nobody wants to spend time downloading 38 MB on the chance that they may or may not want to use it in the future. Just let us download the free version and then if we want to upgrade in the future, we will download the full 38 MB version then.

    Thanks again,
    John
     
  5. john2005

    john2005 Registered Member

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    It's interesting that when at the Gibson Research site https://grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2 my computer seems to pass with flying colors showing all ports in stealth mode. However, when at http://www.pcflank.com/test.htm the tests says that my ports 135,137,138, & 139 are visible.

    The test at http://scan.sygate.com/home_homeoffice/sygate/index.jsp says the systems has a "safe" rating so I guess two out of three is not bad. Still, I wonder why the ports are visible at http://www.pcflank.com/test.htm ?

    I'm running ZA free 6.5.737.000

    Thanks
    John
     
  6. john2005

    john2005 Registered Member

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    Additional note:

    When I tried the leak test at pcflank.com, it said that my firewall had been bypassed, but cyberhawk identified the leaktester as a virus and gave me the option to block it.
     
  7. cheater87

    cheater87 Registered Member

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    Comodo had never been affiliated with spyware at all, past or present. Spyware Terminator's company was in the past but now its clean and they are in the fight against malware.
     
  8. Metal425

    Metal425 Registered Member

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    Drop Windows Defender, Run Spyware Blaster, and SAS Free for On-Demand scanning.
     
  9. Perman

    Perman Registered Member

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    Hi, folks: Within the family of ZA 7 products, all except ZA pro will give you a headspin. Just because that mighty and mystrious KAV engine. ZA free, ZASS and ZA w/antivirus all have that body part. ZA pro v.7.337 works flawlessly for me, since I upgraded from ZASS v.6.5.737. IMO, either use Comodo free or pay $ to enlist ZA pro. And probably you know that the $$ you spend here will be your wise choice of the day. Have a nice one.
     
  10. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    No reason not to use an older version of ZA. It's a firewall not a medicine.
    Second, pcflank tests are not really reliable. Try the pcflank tests 3-4 times in a row, I promise you will get different results every time.

    Finally, you're worried about leak tests / something getting on your comp. Why don't you invest in education / understanding of the comp so you avoid that situation - thus no need to worry.

    Mrk
     
  11. john2005

    john2005 Registered Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for your replies.

    Since I use Firefox for all my browsing, do I really need spywareblaster? It seems all it can do for firefox is block tracking cookies, which you can already do with firefox by either blocking cookies, or limiting cookies. Plus, I use sandboxie with firefox for another line of defense. Actually, I have SAS on my computer for periodic scans, forgot to list that one with the others in my previous post.

    One can always learn more, but no matter how much you know, if you install software and surf the net, you can never be 100% sure your computer is not infected with something. Therefore, if a better firewall is available, especially if its free, I would prefer to use it. This is why I had the questions about Comodo. After reading Perman's comments, perhaps ZA pro is worth a shot even though the free version was buggy on my system.

    I don't really know if Comodo's parent company or predecessor company was affiliated with spyware or not, I just heard a rumor that they were. Someone at Cnet forums made a comment about it. Check out the last review at the ink below...

    http://www.download.com/Comodo-Firewall/3640-10435_4-10583148.html?pn=2&sb=0&v=0

    Thanks again for your feedback guys.
    John
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2007
  12. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    Perform dangerous activities inside virtual machines :)
     
  13. john2005

    john2005 Registered Member

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    I've tried Microsoft Vurtual PC 2004, but could not get my dial up internet connection to work right. I also tried virtualbox & had the same problem. I tried to get some help online, but was unable to solve the problem.

    I also tried VMware's free player, and I tried to clone my physical HP OS with the free VMware converter. When I tried the start the VM clone for the first time, it said that the virtual machine clone had two processors and that I could only use one, and it would not run. However, I saw no way to change the number of processors in the virtual machine clone. My HP computer is a dual core processor, so I guess when the VM clone was created, the VM was created with two processors.

    I would love to get a virtual machine up and running, but I would need someone to help me with the problems I am having.

    I agree virtual machines offer a degree of protection, maybe not fullproof, but it's another line of defense. Plus, it's nice to use a Virtual machine as a learning tool or to try new software. If you screw up, you just delete the VM and start over. Now if I could only get one of my virtual machines to work properly, I would be in business :)

    Thanks again,
    John
     
  14. Seer

    Seer Registered Member

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    Or in a snapshot :D

    Hi op john2005.

    The leaktest are meant to check your firewall's outbound only, and if you use Cyberhawk I wouldn't be worrying about them. Using the best rated software will not patch your system. It is the skill of combining complementary defenses that is important... If you have a HIPS installed, you don't need a leakproof firewall. :D I would stay with ZA (I really don't like Comodo, sorry), but perman here have a point, go with pro version instead.
     
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