Online Armor or PC Tools Firewall Plus to replace ZA

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by Firebytes, Jul 10, 2008.

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  1. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    I guess I will be switching to a new software firewall very soon (using ZA free 6.1.744.1 right now) and have narrowed my choices down to Online Armor and PC Tools Firewall Plus (free versions). My present version of ZA doesn't support the new securtity update from MS and I would rather not update to the newest ZA due to its bloat and its nag screen among other things.

    My problem is that I have Threatfire on my systems right now and would really like to keep it. Both OA and PCT seem to have some HIPS type functionality and I have read (at least with OA) that there may be conflicts with TF. If I disable Program Guard in OA or Enhanced Security Verification on PC Tools can either then coexist peacefully with TF? If they can coexist would either one be a lot easier to use and configure for someone who only knows ZA?

    Seems that a simple firewall is a thing of the past as most have some HIPS functions in them now. I really only want the firewall function, so if I can't make one of these work with TF I may have to bite the bullet and just update ZA free. As far as I know even the new ZA version (free) has no HIPS. I mostly want a software firewall for outbound control as I am also behind a hardware firewall.

    Thanks in advance for any input.
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    You can turn off the HIPS features in OA, and just use the firewall if you like.

    Pete
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2008
  3. 3xist

    3xist Guest

    You should test both products you're self & see what one feels right for you. Sometimes user opinions can be manipulative, So whatever suits you :)

    Josh
     
  4. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    Thanks for the information Peter2150.
     
  5. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    Which of the following would offer the most protection:

    A) Online Armor alone with its Program Guard active
    B) Online Armor with its Program Guard disabled and ThreatFire running in its place

    Would the resource usage be that much different either way?
     
  6. boonie

    boonie Registered Member

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    Turning off Program Guard in OA won't reduce the memory usage, so it would be TF plus the 14 to 16 MB of memory (that I've seen) that OA uses.

    As far as protection, I don't know which would offer more, BB vs HIPS.

    The conflicts you've read about, are they only conflicts in protection, or are there conflicts in the code hooks and/or SSDT hooks? Seems I remember reading at TallEmu forums about conflicts of that nature back in December, not sure if that's still the case.

    If you want to keep TF, I would go with PCTools FW, and avoid any potential conflicts.
     
  7. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    I don't know what the exact conflicts were I just remember reading that they do conflict with each other. As far as using PC Tools instead of OA with TF, I assume I would need to disable its HIPS type feature to run it with TF just as I would with OA.
     
  8. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Hmmm... I have updated 2 PCs with ZAF 6.1.744.001 on them and got along fine. What went wrong for you?
     
  9. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    Since you're using Threatfire I would go with PC Tools Firewall Plus - it actually offers to install Threatfire during the firewall installation. It seems they are designed to work together.
     
  10. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    Nothing has gone wrong. I have not tried to update from 6.1.744.1 to the newest version of ZA and I haven't applied the MS update yet. However, if I wanted to keep ZA and have internet access after installing the MS update I would have to update to the newest ZA version (which I don't think I want). The new Microsoft security update for DNS keeps older versions of ZA from allowing internet access on XP. Are you saying you installed the MS update on XP with the 6.1.744.1 version of ZA and didn't lose your internet connection? I think Vista wasn't affected.

    That is definitely something to think about. Do you use the newest version of PC Tools Firewall Plus and if so have you had any problems with it?
     
  11. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Yes. Both ran the update just fine and emerged unscathed...
     
  12. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    Hmm, I have read all over the web how the MS update breaks ZA. The only way I had heard that it didn't was if you had your Internet Zone Security setting on medium instead of high.
     
  13. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Yes, that indeed is the case for the latest versions. But I haven't seen any from our version or earlier. For all I know, 6.5.x may be ok too. Without question though, 7.0.x has an issue unless you are at build 483...
     
  14. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info Han. I will probably try installing the update tomorrow then and see how it goes.
     
  15. siosla

    siosla Registered Member

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    Feel the same way.....I have ZA version 6.5 (13 MB) and do not want the 44MB bloated new version that contain the fix for MS update. Anyone knows if they're gonna come up with a patch for older versionso_O?

    .

    ZA 6.5 is affected....that's what I am running and have it set on medium.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2008
  16. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    I'm pretty sure that you going to be out of luck. From what I remember, Checkpoint has never patched old versions. They have always fixed the latest build, issued it a later build number and recommended upgrading.

    My feeling is that you could do a "clean" uninstall (which can be done from a command line switch from the Start | Run box by typing "C:\Program Files\Zone Labs\ZoneAlarm\zauninst.exe" /clean (be sure to use the quotes and leave a space between the last quote and the / )) and roll back to the 6.1.x series, or move up to the latest version (yuk! ;)

    Old versions are here http://download.zonelabs.com/bin/free/information/znalm/zaReleaseHistory.html
     
  17. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    I'm running the latest build of PC Tools FWP (4.0.0.40) on Vista SP1 with no issues. Some people have had problems with the "Enhance Security Verification" feature which protects against code injection, but it's been fine on my system.
     
  18. siosla

    siosla Registered Member

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    I kind of suspected that would be the case.....Thanks for the reply Han:oops:
    Time to hunt for another FW.
     
  19. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Firebytes: Did you ever have the chance to install KB951748? Just curious... :)
     
  20. Firebytes

    Firebytes Registered Member

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    I have been gone a lot lately and only got the chance to install it this morning. I didn't lose my internet connection and have noticed no other problems. :)
     
  21. Fajo

    Fajo Registered Member

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    I Installed the Latest ZA and have no probs
     
  22. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    Everyone is always on the look for a new firewall. Myself included. What is it that prompts peeps who actually know how to use one to look for that 'holy grail' ? Strange.

    I have been trying firewalls like a madman for a couple months now. I have tried more than you could imagine. Most are adequate as a firewall, but inadequate for many other reasons.

    Now after much experimenting, the KISS method seems to have failed. I am leaning again towards Outpost Pro v2.1.

    What firewall you pick is personal preference of course. But in the voicing of this thread you want one that is 'just a firewall', becasue you use TF or whatever. I agree !!!!

    Maybe you should look for a firewall that you feel is not bloated or what have you, one that you like the interface to, maybe one that is free. Then, you can do some very simple security measures:

    set only port 53 traffic to your DNS servers (if you have them)
    control svchost.exe with some custom rules.

    and finally, for really easy firewall freedom, create 2 rules

    [allow]
    inbound
    outbound
    ALLOW

    [deny]
    inbound
    outbound
    DENY

    There you have it. A firewall setup even a noob can understand. No hips, no confusing pop-up. Did I start that .exe? Then yes. If not, then no. An application firewall.

    lol, to think not many peeps had firewalls at all just 10 years ago. Twas the life on dialup.

    Sul.
     
  23. pettyracing

    pettyracing Registered Member

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    I tried OA free 3 times. Early on there were some glitches. The last time was last week. After setup I still found OA to be just too noisy. The popups seemed constant even after going through the setup wizard.

    I still like the free Comodo 2. Very quiet, not much memory and offers good protection. Installs and uninstalls very easily. Works seamlessly with any a/v a/s I've tried.
     
  24. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Great! :D
     
  25. bonedriven

    bonedriven Registered Member

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    My own experience about the two firewalls
    1.OA free:
    Good protection and user friendly.
    Block something and you don't know why and no trace in the log.In frustration I finally uninstalled it.

    2.PC Tools fw(Currently using):
    I only installed it yesterday (from Comodo).Generally it is a good one as a real firewall program,if you don't need too much HIPS like comodo v3.
    The issue I encounterd is that it cause BSOD with some programs when you first run them.When you come across with a BSOD,you have to reset your pc and manually go to the Application rule to change it to allow to avoid the next BSOD.
    It seems some programs will initialize slower when you enable the enhanced security verification.About 2s delay or so.
     
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