Tag Archives: PC Tools Firewall

Best Free Security Applications – An 18 Month Review

imageWithout a doubt, the most popular question that comes my way, in one form or another is – which antivirus application(s) would you recommend?

The question comes up so often, I’ve chosen to post the answer every six months, or so. Here’s round 3 – regular readers will notice I’ve stuck with the “tried and true” applications – applications which continue to maintain a strong presence in their specific class.

My response:

Let me answer this by telling you what I run on my principal home machine. But, before I do, let’s talk a bit about Host Intrusion Prevention Systems (HIPS) since, as you’ll see, more and more security applications are including HIPS – or a combination of HIPS, and behavior based blocking components.

There’s not much point in reinventing the wheel, so I’ll go with this description of HIPS/behavior blocking, from About.com:

A host intrusion prevention system (HIPS) monitors each activity a program attempts and (depending on configuration) prompts the user for action or responds based on predefined criteria. Conversely, behavior blockers monitor and profile whole program behavior. When a collection of behaviors tips the scale, the behavior blocker will (depending on configuration) alert the user or take action against the entire program based on predefined criteria.

Though they sound similar, HIPS is application-level control (i.e. this program is allowed to do X but not Y), whereas behavior blocking is more cut and dry – the entire application is either good (allowed) or it is not.

Fortunately, many of these types of products combine both.

Got that? Good.   Smile

Despite the fact that I’m provided with a free license for all the security applications I test, I have chosen to run with the following applications.

Microsoft Security Essentials (free) – an all-in-one antimalware application.

Immunet FREE Antivirus – a free Cloud based companion antimalware application.

ThreatFire (free) – this application is built around a Host Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS), and behavior based blocking combination.

WinPatrol (free) – another HIPS application with considerable additional functionality. WinPatrol is the elder statesman of this application class and, it just keeps on getting better. A must have application.

PC Tools Firewall Plus (free) – PC Tools Firewall Plus is advanced Firewall technology designed for typical users, not just experts.  The “plus” refers to a HIPS component. Generally, if the ThreatFire HIPS component is triggered on my machine, PC Tools Firewall Plus is triggered as well.

Commercial application:

Zemana AntiLogger – In my view simply the best keylogger defense available.  AntiLogger includes a System Defense module that works similarly to HIPS – to protect the whole system.

Each of these applications has been reviewed (some several times), on my site. You can follow the links below to specific review articles.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Immunet Protect

ThreatFire

WinPatrol

PC Tools Firewall Plus

Zemana AntiLogger

Finally, additional Browser protection is a critical ingredient in overall system protection. I recommend that you read the following article here – Updated: An IT Professional’s Must Have Firefox and Chrome Add-ons.

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Browser add-ons, downloads, Free Security Programs, HIPS, Windows Tips and Tools

Best Free Security Applications – The Hot Naked Truth!

imageWithout a doubt, the most popular question that comes my way, in one form or another is – which antivirus application(s) would you recommend?

This question is asked so often; I think it’s probably a good idea to answer it in a post every six months, or so.

My response:

Let me answer this by telling you what I run on my principal home machine. But, before I do, let’s talk a bit about Host Intrusion Prevention Systems (HIPS) since, as you’ll see, more and more security applications are including HIPS – or a combination of HIPS, and behavior based blocking components.

There’s not much point in reinventing the wheel, so I’ll go with this description of HIPS/behavior blocking, from About.com:

A host intrusion prevention system (HIPS) monitors each activity a program attempts and (depending on configuration) prompts the user for action or responds based on predefined criteria. Conversely, behavior blockers monitor and profile whole program behavior. When a collection of behaviors tips the scale, the behavior blocker will (depending on configuration) alert the user or take action against the entire program based on predefined criteria.

Though they sound similar, HIPS is application-level control (i.e. this program is allowed to do X but not Y), whereas behavior blocking is more cut and dry – the entire application is either good (allowed) or it is not. Fortunately, many of these types of products combine both.

Got that? Good.   Smile

Despite the fact that I’m provided with a free license for all the security applications I test, I have chosen to run with the following applications.

Microsoft Security Essentials (free) – an all-in-one antimalware application.

Immunet Protect – a free Cloud based companion antimalware application.

ThreatFire (free) – this application is built around a Host Intrusion Prevention System (HIPS), and behavior based blocking combination. I’m currently testing a new HIPS application – NoVirusThanks EXE Pro – and I’ve been more than impressed to see ThreatFire step in and prevent any system changes by NoVirusThanks – until I approve those changes.

WinPatrol (free) – another HIPS application with considerable additional functionality. WinPatrol is the elder statesman of this application class and, it just keeps on getting better. A must have application.

PC Tools Firewall Plus (free) – PC Tools Firewall Plus is advanced Firewall technology designed for typical users, not just experts.  The “plus” refers to a HIPS component. Generally, if the ThreatFire HIPS component is triggered on my machine, PC Tools Firewall Plus is triggered as well.

When the NoVirusThanks EXE Pro review is posted shortly, you’ll see screen capture evidence of this.

Zemana AntiLogger (paid) – In my view simply the best keylogger defense available.  AntiLogger includes a System Defense module that works similarly to HIPS – to protect the whole system.

As an illustration, the following screen capture shows the System Defense module blocked NoVirusThanks EXE Pro (the application I’m currently testing), until I gave permission.

image

Each of these applications has been reviewed (some several times), on my site. You can follow the links below to specific review articles.

Microsoft Security Essentials

Immunet Protect

ThreatFire

WinPatrol

PC Tools Firewall Plus

Zemana AntiLogger

Finally, additional Browser protection is a critical ingredient in overall system protection. I recommend that you read the following article here – Updated: An IT Professional’s Must Have Firefox and Chrome Add-ons.

Yes, the title of this article is more than a little off the wall. My blogging buddy TechPaul, made the point not too long ago, that manipulative key words like hot, naked, sex, boobs, nudity …….. well, you get the point – unfairly capture readers attention. I’m testing that theory.  Smile

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Keyloggers, Anti-Malware Tools, Cyber Crime, Don't Get Hacked, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Free Firewalls, Free Security Programs, Freeware, HIPS, Malware Protection, Online Safety, Spyware - Adware Protection, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools

A Reader Wants To Know….

imageWe receive a wide variety of questions here, from the very simple, to the complex – all of which are equally as interesting. The following thought-provoking questions were all recently posed by a reader.

Which Antivirus application(s) would you recommend?

Let me answer this by telling you what I run on my principal home machine. Despite the fact that I’m provided with a free license for all the security applications I test, I have chosen the following applications.

Microsoft Security Essentials (free)

Immunet Protect – a free Cloud based companion antimalware application.

ThreatFire (free)

WinPatrol (free)

Pc Tools Firewall Plus (free) – I recently changed from ZoneAlarm (free), since I finally tired of their incessant ads.

Zemana AntiLogger (paid) – I’ve managed to pick up a free license each of the last 2 years, however.

Each of these applications has been reviewed (some several times), on my site. A site search using the search box will lead you to the relevant article/s.

How many Antivirus application(s) should I have installed on my laptop.

Typically the answer is straightforward – one (in order to avoid potential conflicts). However, nothing is really straightforward with a computer. For an in-depth answer, please read Can I Install And Use More Than One Antimalware Application? on my site.

Which Firewall would you recommend?

Over time, I have installed virtually every available Firewall, and I must admit, my favorite has always been ZoneAlarm – not only for its effectiveness, but also for its ease of use. As I said earlier though, I recently made the change back to PC Tools Firewall Plus – a Firewall I’ve used in the past that is as effective and as easy to use as ZoneAlarm (without the annoying ads).

Comodo Firewall, which you’re presently using, is an excellent application. I’ve used and reviewed this application in the past, and I have no difficulty in recommending it.

Which Malware/Spyware application(s) would you recommend?

Since Microsoft Security Essentials combines both antivirus, and antispyware in the same application, this is a very workable solution. Additionally, the issue of maintaining good control over system resource usage is addressed by employing this combination.

How many Malware/Spyware applications should I have installed on my laptop?

The same answer applies here as in the Antivirus question.

Which Backup and Recovery program(s) would you suggest?

The principal issues affecting backups are determined by how (the skill level of the user), and for what purpose, a computer is used. Typically, average users are convinced that backing up is beyond their knowledge level, and so avoid this necessary chore.

The reality is, major advances have been made in the development of simple, “push button” easy, backup applications. There are a many applications to choose from, both paid and free, and the one I’m very enthusiastic about at the moment is Free EASEUS Todo Backup. You can reread my recent review of this application here.

Which registry cleaner would you recommend?

Registry Cleaners are often referred to as the “snake oil” of the computer industry. There is a major difference of opinion concerning the value of these applications.

Generally speaking, it’s my view that this type of application should not be used by an average user – except for a very mild cleaner, such as Ccleaner, which I do, in fact, highly recommend.

There are times when a powerful cleaner, (such as RegSeeker), in skilled hands, can be beneficial.

Which Anonymous Surfing application would you recommend? (My privacy is mine and important to me).

I’ve reviewed and recommended quite a number of such applications here, but the application I’m most partial to (at the moment), is Free Hotspot Shield. You can read the latest review of this application here.

Finally – while you mentioned WOT and SnoopFree Privacy Shield, additional Browser protection is a critical ingredient in overall system protection. I recommend that you read the following article here – An IT Professional’s Must Have Firefox and Chrome Add-ons

If you found this article useful, why not subscribe to this Blog via RSS, or email? It’s easy; just click on this link and you’ll never miss another Tech Thoughts article.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Antivirus Applications, Backup Applications, Browser add-ons, Computer Tools, downloads, Free Anti-malware Software, Free Firewalls, Free Security Programs, Interconnectivity, PC Tools, Point of View, Safe Surfing, Software, Spyware - Adware Protection, Utilities, Windows Tips and Tools, WOT (Web of Trust)