Should I change from ZA

Discussion in 'other firewalls' started by Accolite, Oct 22, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Accolite

    Accolite Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Posts:
    18
    Firstly - Hi. This is my first post here, so treat me nicely please :D.

    I have a background in IT, I worked for a short period at a company who repaired insurance claim computers, and I have City & Guilds III Microcomputer Systems Installation & Maintenance. Since then I have worked for Maplin's (The electronics store much like Tandy, NOT the Holiday camp made famous by Hi-de-hi (80's british TV sit-com to those outside the UK). Now I just try and keep myself up to date, and am begining to dabble in the black magic that is xHTML & CSS.

    Anyways, enough about me, and onto the post.

    I have used ZA for many years, and am actually still quite happy with it. But I am befining to wonder if it is time I woke up and smelled the coffee, that is if there is coffee to be smelling.

    Through the years I have gone from No AV, to CA/eTrust AV to AVG and to ZA Security Suite (which incorporates CA AV). I always recommend AVG to anyone who is looking for AV software, and am begining to recomend NOD for those willing to part with any money. (If I should be recomending anything else, just say).

    Having recently discovered NOD, I am wondering if I have been blinded to the world of firewalls as well as AV.

    As mentioned I am a long time fan of ZA. But it is getting a little bloated now (long way to go before it catches McAfee and Nortons tho).

    Now, I am currently trialing Outpost on my laptop, alongside NOD. With ZA SS on my main PC, just replaced the AV part with NOD.

    The question remains, is there any better firewall out there. I know this question is very subjective. And while there are a few reviews of such software, there is great inconsistency between them. Certain reviewers state that Norton and McAfee are the best. From personal XP I totally disagree with this, and the cynical side of me asks how much did that statement earn them?

    One thing I have noticed in Outpost that I can't seem to see in ZA is applications currently accessing the network. And also, protection before windows starts. I KNOW Outpost has this as it was asking me questions before the login screen appeared. ZA may also offerthis, I just have never had the chance to find out.

    To me, the most important aspects of a FW are its security, followed by impact on the system, followed lastly by ease of use.

    On the security side of things I am looking for an application that protects before windows has loaded. I am looking for password protection and self preservation (resists unauthorised shut-down attempts etc...). It wants to prevent process injection and suspicious behaviour between programs. And obviously it has to be leak proof.

    The IM security does not have to be FW controlled, and I believe NOD handles this. I am not worried about adblocking, personal details control (passwords, card numbers), or anti-malware.

    So what do you suggest?

    I have heard good reports about Tiny, Kaspersky, Comodo, Outpost, ZoneAlarm, Look-n-Stop and Jetico, and KNOW that there arre many more out there.
     
  2. cheater87

    cheater87 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Posts:
    3,124
    Location:
    Pennsylvania.
    Comodo is pretty good
     
  3. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Posts:
    10,632
    if self-preservation is important, the outpost, comodo, and KIS (includes AV) would be some good choices. they'd fare well against leaktests too.
     
  4. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Posts:
    4,186
    Location:
    USA
    Accolite - I can only advise you from my personal experience. In 2004 I bought a new Dell and loaded ZA free firewall and Norton AV. After 3 weeks Norton gave me bsod on every bootup, so I decided to try ZASS 5.5. It took to my computer like a hand in a glove. I was very happy. Every time there was an upgrade I installed it right over the old version with no problems. At the same time I saw the problems and the wailing and gnashing of teeth in the ZA forums. I couldn't understand why all these people were havig problems. Then I upgraded once too often to version 6.5 and I had problems I couldn't accept. I uninstalled and re-installed version 6.1.744.001, the only good version. A month later they came out with version 6.5.737.000 and the people in the forum said it was a safe version. I bit and upgraded. Alas that too had bugs. I came to the realization that no one should have to put up with this kind of total disregard for the customer, and did a clean uninstall. After much investigating prior to uninstalling, I installed Comodo personal firewall, and discovered new life in my pc with faster bootups, shutdown time cut in half, and a great firewall to boot. I as well as many others in this thread alone, recommend it. Check out www.comodo.com. :D
     
  5. herbalist

    herbalist Guest

    It seems that all the firewalls and security suites are getting more bloated with each new release. "Better" is a very subjective term when it's applied to firewalls. A lot of people dislike the older firewalls, wanting something that offers more features and system control, such as detecting/blocking hooks, process control, etc. Myself, I prefer to let a separate HIPS handle these tasks, leaving the firewall to concentrate on traffic control. There are pros and cons to both methods. The meaning of the term "firewall" has been gradually expanded as far as its common usage is concerned. The old versions of ZA, along with ones like Kerio 2.1.5, the early versions of Tiny, etc were internet firewalls or packet filters. The HIPS components, such as process control, hook detection, etc qualify as application firewalls. Most of the firewalls available now are both internet and application firewalls. While most of the new firewalls are a combination of both, there's no reason that you can't get the same or better results with separate applications.
    I've been using Kerio 2.1.5, an old rule based firewall in combination with System Safety Monitor. This combination works on all versions of Windows except Vista. I've found this combo to be extremely effective on every system I've installed it on. You mentioned in your priorities "lastly, ease of use". These 2 aren't the easiest to use. There's a lot of configuring, but once finished, they do an excellent job and use very little of your systems resources. Both have password protection. SSM can keep Kerio from being shut down and/or restart it if necessary. The combination will pass most tests when properly configured.
    Whatever you decide, start with one question. Do you want everything in one package or are separate components a suitable option. Details aside, it's very much a matter of preference. If you do decide to stay with ZA, you might consider disabling the automatic updating, assuming ZA still has that option. Been a while since I used it. They've had problems on several occasions with newly released versions. That way, you can update manually if you choose, after they fix the problems.
    Rick
     
  6. Escalader

    Escalader Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2005
    Posts:
    3,710
    Location:
    Land of the Mooses
    As usual my friend Herbalist makes sense, following his advice will no doubt work.

    For what it is worth I have ZA Pro 6.5.737.000 and have no real complaints.
    It's footprint is small and it handles the traffic and the program control and their components as well.

    I have turned off the ZA features I don't need or want such as email scanning and their ASW tool since I handle those tasks with other tools.

    If you have ZA suite that is bad since it is buggy at the moment.

    Is it possible you have some active overlap or contention happening?
    The active network prgrams are in the top righthand corner of ZA window or did you mean something else?
     
  7. EASTER.2010

    EASTER.2010 Guest

    .

    I absolutely HAD to drop ZA a few years back due to a matter involving one of their modules known as true vector service. As many others i loaded up they're forums with my issue only to be returned the same reponses over and over again such as wait for the next version. Well, too oftened dropped internet connections finally forced my hand. After careful reading of alternative firewall reviews and doing local research my conclusion was sealed courtesy the expert poster above commonly referred and known to as herbalist!

    KERIO 2.15 solved the firewall needs i been in dire need of for months then and i have never looked back. That was on my 98SE and i subsequently thereafter installed to XP Pro (Dual Drives) with equal success.

    Recently as some months ago i took the initiative to gamble with COREFORCE which is a Suite of Reg/File/Internet Firewalling just to satisfy my curiosity. That ended up a complete disaster since (even though far along in beta), it burdened the computer system and significantly reduced even simple tasks such as opening desktop folders, not to mention abruptedly just shutting down itself. They're forum staff insisted even with the program closing the internet firewall would still perform, but given the amount of crud on the net this user was not about to play jeaporady with the vital collections of softs (some paid & freeware) that i have accumalated for years on my units, not to mention suffer a sever malfunction or corruption of the system itself.

    In short, you review, research, and accept the advice from those best suited to suggest QUALITY working safety programs and steer far from taking chances unless you have a test box that can cause no harm or anxiety for you.

    SSM with KERIO 2.15 has done amazingly above and beyond my own wildest expectations personally and with ease and with a shield of armor (HONOR) I AM PROUD TO SAY.

    Given the make-up of XP i would suggest as above to use separate PROGRAMS and allow your good machine AND yourself to breathe easier.
     
  8. the Tester

    the Tester Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2002
    Posts:
    2,854
    Location:
    The Gateway to the Blue Hills,WI.
    I switched to Comodo and am very happy with it.
     
  9. DVD+R

    DVD+R Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Posts:
    1,979
    Location:
    The Antipodes
    Hello Accolite :) May I sugest you look at this site, it has a review on the top 10 Firewalls of 2006, along with ratings, and a full guide to what the Top 10 do and dont do, and also makes recommendations on what to choose and what probably not to choose. Hope this helps with your final decision :D

    http://personal-firewall-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
     
  10. TraCKs

    TraCKs Registered Member

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2005
    Posts:
    36
    Location:
    Australia
    Stay with Comodo, Zonealarm has turned into a pile of garbage. The last decent version was the 4.5 series
     
  11. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2006
    Posts:
    2,585
    ZA is still a top of the line firewall. Its protection is excellent. Yes it has gotten a little bloated in the recent versions but if you have a recent computer it shouldn't be an issue. I just turn off all the junk that i don't need and it runs very well imo. My only gripe is the OS firewall can be very intrusive at times.
     
  12. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Posts:
    4,186
    Location:
    USA
    I see a few comments about turning off ZA features because you don't need them etc. That was one of my gripes when I used ZASS. Why pay for a suite and then turn half the features off for various reasons. I have found that individual apps is a better way to go. This way you only have what you need. Plus, if one app gives you trouble, you can just dump it without affecting the rest. :cool:
     
  13. acooldozen

    acooldozen Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2005
    Posts:
    218
    Location:
    White Rock, BC, Canada
    "One thing I have noticed in Outpost that I can't seem to see in ZA is applications currently accessing the network"

    ..........Why change if it is doing the job designed to do. I have used ZA Pro since version 4 without a hitch. Lucky I guess, as I see all the horror stories on their forum. You can see which applications are accessing the network (paid version) simply by selecting.... Alerts & Logs/Alert type/dropdown menu/program.
     
  14. Chris12923

    Chris12923 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2004
    Posts:
    1,097
    1st pick outpost
    2nd pick comodo

    Based on self protection, leaktests, ease of use, and just some personal preferences.

    Thanks,

    Chris
     
  15. TopperID

    TopperID Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    Posts:
    1,527
    Location:
    London
    If you need to ask the question, then the answer is probably 'no'! ;)

    ZAP is the cornerstone of my defences and I would feel naked without it. If it ever lets me down, or I get serious problems, or even a lot of niggles, then I would shop around for something else; but not 'till then.

    I really like the operating system FW feature, which nicely supplements my other security apps, however nothing has EVER got past my basic FW/AV combo and that has a lot to do with ZAP's capabilities.

    I'm not changing, just for the sake of it. :p
     
  16. Rasheed187

    Rasheed187 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    8,026
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    Personally I have never had any stability/system problems because of ZA Pro, it always has done the job, and it´s very easy to use. The only problem is that I would like to be able to tune or turn off the HIPS which isn´t possible right now. And IMO the ZA forum is one of the worst ever. :cautious:

    I believe with tools like SSM and Neoava Guard I don´t really need the HIPS in ZA plus the HIPS in ZA has not always worked correctly, so there is a small change that I will switch to Comodo.
     
  17. yahoo

    yahoo Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2004
    Posts:
    290
    Location:
    nowhere
    If you are still happy with ZA, I do not think that you need to change from ZA either. ZA is still one of the most popular firewall on the market, and it provides strong enough protection to your computer. There is no perfect firewall on the earth. ZA gets complains from some of its users, so do other firewalls.
     
  18. Accolite

    Accolite Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Posts:
    18
    Well thank you for the responses. I will be keeping ZA SS on my main machine for now at least (Well, I have paid for it). But I will continue to trial other SW on my laptop. You guys have raised some good points that I need to think about.

    Seperate Apps vs Suites.

    This is a big, contentious issue. And both have their pro's and cons. On the whole, I like suites because they collect everything together. So long as the suite has SW that is required and not too many extra features, it should take up less resources than seperate Apps - however, that is not always the case. And then there is the problem of not being able to disable something in a suite if it is crud, and replace it with something else.

    This is one of the reasons I have always favoured ZA. Because I can turn things on or off when I want. I am also one of the lucky one who have NEVER had system crashes or noticable slowdowns form it. The only thing I did have, was some images not displaying, because of Ad-Blocking.

    I must admit to not liking Ad-blocking and pop-up blocking in the firewall. I am getting confused when my browser blocks pop-ups, toolbars block pop-ups, and then the anti virus, anti malware AND firewall want to jump in on the action as well. I wish Ad and pop-up blocking was left to the browsers. To me it is an annoyance, not a security threat. The same goes for parental control. The firewall is to stop unwanted activity from remote users. Ok I understand how much "content" is out there. And I know that peeps don't want accidentally stumble over it. But any savvy kid is going to get round most parental control software anyway. It is not something I need, and certainly something I think should be seperate form a firewall/security suite, because once again, most "content" is a nuisance not a threat.

    Regarding viewing applications that are using the network. I know there is a small graphic display in the top right of ZA, and I also know about the Program list in the logs section. However, the former gives no info without a mouse over, and appears to be limited to a small amount of apps. The latter is just an alert log, which adds to itself when an alert is sent.

    What outpost has for apps using the network can only really be likened to the process list in task manager. It only shows the live processes that are using the network, but it does also show on what port they are using it.

    So, as I said to start, I amgonna stick with ZA on my main box for now. But am going to go play on my laptop :D.

    Many thanks guys. Oh, and if you have more suggestions, keepem coming.
     
  19. TopperID

    TopperID Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2004
    Posts:
    1,527
    Location:
    London
    Why not try Active Ports or TCPView, both of which give this info.:-

    http://www.majorgeeks.com/Active_Ports_d682.html

    http://www.sysinternals.com/Utilities/TcpView.html

    I wish to place one disclaimer though, my comments were based on ZAP not ZASS, I'm not keen on suites in general and I'm not keen on the CA Vet AV engine in ZASS in particular; however if it works for you, that shouldn't be a problem.
     
  20. Accolite

    Accolite Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Posts:
    18
    I know what you mean regarding VET, I would have rather ZA had bundled AVG, if they were going to make any bridges as that was always the free combo I used to recommend.

    anyways, I'm using NOD alongside ZASS
     
  21. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Posts:
    4,186
    Location:
    USA
    Just another thought. Zass renew cost is up to $35 a year if I read right. Last year it was $25. You will pay that for the suite, and if I read you right your using NOD32. If that's true, you turned off ZAs AV and paid $39 for Nod 32 for a year. Why not switch to ZAPro then? Or switch to free Comodo which is as good as a working copy of ZA. :)
     
  22. Accolite

    Accolite Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Posts:
    18
    Aye - when the subby runs out ZASS will once again become ZAP :D
     
  23. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Posts:
    4,186
    Location:
    USA
    Ah! How's that Nod32 eh? I love it.:D
     
  24. Accolite

    Accolite Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Posts:
    18
    well thats the whole point of this thread really. I must have been living under a rock, and when I tripped over said rock and smashed myself in the face with it, it left a very inviting NOD32 impression. So I was wondering if I was similarly sleeping under any good firewall rocks.:p
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.