Safezone firewall

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by ccsito, Jul 28, 2006.

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  1. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Hello,
    I am a new member to the forum and wanted to ask if anyone has ever used the Safezone firewall made by the Minute Group Co. It seems to be a simple program and sort of resembles the earlier versions of Zone Alarm.

    http://www.minutegroup.com/prodpg_safezone_help.htm

    :)
     
  2. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    Page hasn't been updated since 2003. Makers of vCatch anti-virus.

    vCatch anti-virus Adware : Software that displays pop-up/pop-under advertisements when the primary user interface is not visible, or which do not appear to be associated with the product. http://www3.ca.com/securityadvisor/pest/pest.aspx?id=453097601

    Valuead is associated with Gator http://www.valuead.com/news/2002/111802.html

    http://forums.pcpitstop.com/lofiversion/index.php/t3692.html

    Prevent annoying and intrusive advertising http://www.minutegroup.com/index.html ?

    SafeZone might be ok, i don't know, it looks very straightforeword to configure, even for novices, and seems quite comprhensive in it's protection features. Maybe somebody who has tried it can tell us how it performs ? It's download size is 3.38MB. I scanned it online for malware etc on the virus total website, and it returned no flags.

    Single Users License FREE version Download Free FULL version Download $39.95 http://www.minutegroup.com/prodpg_safezone.htm Does this mean that the freeware version is bundled with adware also ?
     
  3. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    Given the reputation of this companies AV, I would be a little cautious. The website is still included in the blocklist from Blutack, and the fact that the installation of this firewall makes changes to the LSP can make onboard monitoring of connections by other software difficult.
     
  4. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Thanks CloneRanger and Stem for your replies.

    It is odd that the company's website has not been updated since 2003. The link for the program download on their website is for a trial version (3.0) which does not even match the version on CNET (Version 4.1)!! I wonder where CNET got the new version program link when the company's own website does not have it! o_O If there was a previous history of their software having adware, you do have to be a little suspicious of what is hidden in this software. I tried emailing the company yesterday and the website said that the custormer support is 24/7 days a week. I am still waiting for a response to my questions. :rolleyes: I guess they must have issued the new version without updating the information on their own website? I think that is rather odd. The program does have a clean layout and seems easy to set up for novices. However, if the company can't even update the information on their own website in due time, you wonder where they are focusing their operations at.:thumbd:
     
  5. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    Hi ccsito,
    I have not found anything in the software installation to give me cause for concern,.. A HJT scan shows clean, Icesword is showing hooking which can show a possiblilty of keylogging etc, but nothing to set off alarm bells. My main concern is the LSP install. (i dont have my managed switch at the moment, so no easy setup to monitor,.. but will certainly do this when I get it back of site)
    I just think at this time, as mentioned, that you should be cautious if you have/or going to install this firewall. There are other free firewalls, more well know that you could try.
     
  6. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Hello Stem,
    Thanks for the update. I am going through the websites and forums looking for a firewall (preferably free) to install on a laptop (XP SP2) for a relative that I loaded an antivirus and antispyware programs earlier. It does have the XP SP2 firewall, but that only has inbound protection. I have read many of the reviews and have only limited experience with firewalls. I was looking for a program that would be effective without being too cumbersome to work with since my relative has no prior background with computers. The number of free firewalls has shrunk with the buying out of companies.

    AS3 - small program, but not easy to configure
    GeSWall - Some reviews said the program was not stable
    Comodo - Large footprint
    Safezone - product history limited and no updates on website
    ZoneProtect - questionable program
    Securepoint - Runs several processes in memory and has German wording
    Outpost Free (2002) - Has issues with XP machines
    Sunbelt Kerio (version 4)- Several problems reported with this version
    Zone Alarm Free 6.5 - Large footprint (I have this on one desktop and noticed that loading of this program seems to take a while while it also loads McAfee antivirus)
    Sygate Free - Have seen many good reviews, but program is no longer supported
    Kerio 2.15 - Has many good reviews, but program is no longer supported and does require some work to fine tune it
    Filseclab - Program requires some work to fine tune it
    R-firewall - Program issues reported by users
    Jetico - Small footprint, but program requires knowledge to set up properly
    Wyvernworks - website appears to have been taken down
    Netveda Safety Net - program support appears to have vanished. No program updates since early 2005.
    Primedius Lite - program fails many of the firewall tests
    SoftPerfect - received many low ratings on forums
     
  7. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    Hi ccsito,
    Well, you have certainly been looking at firewalls :D

    The main point I see in this situation is: What is the PC used for? If it is just a case of surfing the web, software (AV) updates, then a firewall like Kerio 2, once ruled for this access would be fine.
     
  8. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Hello Stem,
    Yes, firewalls and loads of other antivirus/antispyware and intrusion utilities. o_O The laptop is mainly used to surf the web (sometimes to Asian websites), access online email accounts, and downloading/uploading pictures from a digital camera. The laptop had Norton AV which has the subscription expired so I loaded another AV program. The laptop got hit with an adware program (Vundo/Virtumonde) and then I had to install antispyware utilities to get rid of it. I also am trying out alternative browsers (Firefox, Opera) that may provide better online protection. I guess the main thing that I would want from a firewall is something that will not hog system resources, not bombard you with alert messages, and prevent nefarious inbound/outbound communications.

    I have read many good reviews for Kerio 2. But many of the users said that you need to set up the rules properly (or import them from somewhere). I could not find any documentation for this program. Since Sunbelt Software decided to forego updating this version, I guess that all of the users are left on their own?
     
  9. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    Hi ccsito,
    From the browser side, installing firefox (possibly with the noscript, or Opera 9 (which now as many options for "per site" (cookie / script etc)) does go a long way in protection.

    From Kerio 2, yes, rules do need to be created for your personal setup, but you are posting to a forum that will help you on these matters, myself and many kerio 2 users (who will have much more experience with Kerio than myself) will, I am sure, help you configure your setup. It is a good firewall.
     
  10. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    A question for Stem, which version did you try ? The hooking might be legitimate, poor design, or who knows at this stage. The LSP tampering does raise eyebrows, but might be their attempt at doing something original ? I'm interested in whatever else you can discover with further testing.

    ccsito might like to know about previous versions of zonealarm that are a lot leaner on resources, and can still be obtained freely from these sites

    http://download.zonelabs.com/bin/free/information/znalm/zaReleaseHistory.html

    http://www.oldversion.com/program.php?n=zalarm

    Many who decide to go this route select either 4.5.594.000 or 2.6
     
  11. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    There is no version on the installation file, I downloaded from vendor site (I did not note after installation)
    As I mentioned, this does not by itself cause concern.... hooking by a program does not infer any sort of spyware or illegal activity
    This is done by some legit firewalls, I am just concerned that this method can give rise to comms that cannot be check by other (installed on same PC) software (which users do use to check on comms), I was simply giving a caution to installing a somewhat unknown firewall that uses this method.
    I will, once I have my hardware back from site, monitor (as I do with all firewalls) its activity. and report anything suspicious.
     
  12. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Hello Stem,
    Thanks for the information regarding Kerio 2.15. I will try to read up more on it. I was able to find some documentation on several of the programs that I previously listed so I can see which ones seems easier to work with.

    Hello CloneRanger,
    Thanks for the link for ZoneAlarm. I think the earliest version that will integrate with the Windows Security system window is version 5.5. But I guess that it is not that important for Windows to recognize your firewall program. Zone Alarm has grown to over 13 MB and no longer can be used for anything older than Windows 2000.
     
  13. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    Which ever firewall you decide upon, the forum is here to help you.
     
  14. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Stem,
    Thanks for the help. If you are able to analyze the program on your test computer, you should download the most recent version 4.1 from download.com. The one on the vendor website appears to be a trial evaluation version (3.0) according to a posted user comment on CNET. Also, several negative reviews were made on version 3.0 when people complained that the program was not really freeware and was only a trial version (they were bombarded with ads to buy the program). None of the reviews for 4.1 appear to report this same problem.

    http://www.download.com/Minute-Personal-Firewall/3640-10435_4-10455106.html?tag=tab_ur
     
  15. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    Its why I am here.
    I have downloaded the version (from your link), I should have my hardware back in the next 3 days, so will keep you posted.

    Regards,
    Stem
     
  16. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    I am sure that you are busy, but just was wondering if this program looks to be "safe" or not for use. The website continues to be outdated so you wonder how they are distributing the updated versions to other sites and ignoring their own.:blink:
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2006
  17. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    Hi ccsito,
    Thanks for the reminder,..I will set up this afternoon and have a look.
     
  18. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    Hi ccsito,
    I have set up,... seems o.k. up to now, its not phoning home or making any connections it shouldn`t. I will update this post later for any developments.


    Edit:
    Nothing showing from icesword/rootkitrevealer (it does have keyboard/mouse hooks), all online virus scans showing clean.
    I will leave on a test PC for next day or 2, just to make sure, but all looks o.k.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2006
  19. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Hi Stem,

    Thanks for testing the program. Could you also provide the results from the leak test (such as from grc.com and pcflank.cm) and what is the system resource use profile of the program after your testing is complete?
     
  20. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Hi Stem,
    I wanted to ask something additional concerning the LSP tampering issue by a firewall in an earlier message post.

    I noticed that a recent update to the SSM program (version 2.2) lists that a LSP module was newly added. Can this considered a case of LSP tampering as well?

    http://syssafety.com/releasenotes.html?pid=102#SSM220build584
     
  21. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    Hi,
    SSM added protection for the LSP, this was added as a module, when enabled you will be informed of any attempt to modify the settings.
    So no,.. it is not tampering,.. it is protection.
     
  22. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    I will have time to do this over the weekend.
     
  23. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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  24. Stem

    Stem Firewall Expert

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    Hi ccsito,
    I have run a number of tests (All from http://www.firewallleaktester.com/ to keep things simple, in case anyone want to verify).
    I made a custom setup, which was to block all inbound, and ask for any outbound. The only applications that I gave permission to access internet where "firefox" and "IE". DNS client was enabled, but I was not asked for this access. (some default basic rules, to allow DNS,HTTP,mail where removed/disabled)

    A pass indicates the firewall "passed the test", a Failed indicates the leaktest "leaked"

    Leaktest 1.2 ......... Pass
    Tooleaky .............. error/conflict in test
    Firehole ................ Failed
    PcAudit ................ Pass
    Thermite .............. Failed
    Copycat ............... Failed
    Wallbreaker:-
    1.......................... Failed
    2.......................... Failed
    3.......................... Failed
    4.......................... Failed
    PcAudit 2 .............. Firewall closed down/crashed
    Ghost 1.1............... Failed
    DNStester.............. Failed (DNS lookups by svchost are not checked at all)
    Surfer....................Failed
    Breakout 1............. Failed
    Breakout 2............. Failed
    Jumper v1............. Failed
    PCflank................. Failed
     
  25. ccsito

    ccsito Registered Member

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    Thanks for the test results of the program Stem. I see that the firewall passed only a couple of the leak tests. Not so good results. :cautious: Are you able to provide the CPU/Memory profile of the program?

    Thanks again.
     
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