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What's the best firewall?


What's the best firewall?  

432 members have voted

  1. 1. What's the best firewall?

    • ZoneAlarm
    • Outpost
    • Sygate
    • Symantec
    • Kerio
    • Windows Firewall

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My vote....get ready for this.

Zone Alarm Free 3.7!

Why? This was the last good free edition release of the Zone Alarm firewall, before they tried to expand and cover everything from ads to spyware and viruses. This version was released well before the "suspicious" behaviors between ZA and many P2P programs started happening. It's fast, stable, very light on system resources, and still gets rated as a perfect stealth rating via Shields UP!! Suprisingly, it also functions perfectly with Service Pack 2 for XP, despite the fact it was released months before SP2 was even being developed.

Why not Sygate? Simple. The program control is difficult to navigate for blocking inbound or outbound connections for individual programs. The best features are only availible on the pro version. It is a lot more resource intensive than ZA 3.7. Also, and possibly the best reason to not choose Sygate....they were recently purchased by Symantec, i.e. the company that creates the Norton line of products. The Norton firewall has gotten consistantly bad reviews...its a resource hog...doesn't have the best blocking capabilities...etc. etc. etc.

You can download a copy of the free ZA 3.7 from Here

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If you're looking for an additional free line of defense (assuming you have XPSP2 installed, of course) look to IPSec. It's a b***h to configure, but you can make it either stateful or non-stateful (only incoming, or incoming and outgoing) with the additional benefit of being able to encrypt network traffic. All at little cost to system resources (except for the encryption, of course).

With winxp pro, start->run->gpedit.msc->computer settings->windows settings->security->ip security policies.

With xp home, start->run->mmc->file->add snap in->ip security policy management

Keeps the most powerful active hacking tools out when properly configured.

Edited by Phyridean
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I'd like to know if anyone has tried IPSec, and if so, how they think it stands up to other software firewalls.

Also, I'm now running the windows OneCare Live firewall, and have found that it's essentially the XPSP2 firewall, but with both incoming and outgoing capability. It seems to work well, but I haven't had a chance to try to compromise it and test its robustness.

Just another one to check out for all of you experimenters out there.

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Ever since I heard the new Security Now episodes done by Steve Gibson and a friend, I use Sygate Personal Firewall Pro v5.5 Build 2710. I love it. Also a DI-604 Router with optimal configurations and updated firmware. :)

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Bonkers[,Aug 24 2004, 05:55 PM]A router. Folks, this uses the least system resources :lol:


A ROUTER? bah....that HOGS resources, on the router...yer using it for somethin its not meant for, and routers can be painful/tedious to secure. Try....a Pix 501e :w00t:

the mother of all home networking hardware. Literally plug and play....but....watch out with P2p, it kind of kills the throughput on anything opening that many connections at once....

And its not like its EXPENSIVE or anything ;)

(actually, when you consider that it has a 4-port switch built in....thats 4 computers firewalled for ~$75 each...not TOO bad...)

Edited by ronin2040
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@Phyridean, @Zxian -

Here's another (seemingly) useful resource for IpSec:




-But can this really be used as a firewall (comparable to other sw firewalls) - I'm bewildered about this :wacko:

More info needed ... :hello:


- Jacob

Edited by techniquefreak
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Yes, we're using IPSec to secure servers and server communications. It functions as well as any other rule-based software firewall, and runs as a driver, filtering at OSI Layer 3 (which I believe is where most normal firewalls do their packet matching).

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Sygate is by far the most advanced software firewall on the net for a reasonable price. Sygate has all the advanced settings and is always up to date, but not as efficient as a Cisco series (hardware) firewalls.

"Professional" software do not need eye candy or a step-by-step walk-through. They serve there purpose.

Zone Alarm and software like Outpost and Kiero have unnecessary features and are extremely bulky. They may be user friendly, but defeat the purpose of a firewall. Software firewalls should use no more than 25mb of memory, which is 1.5x the amount of a standard hardware firewall.

If your a Professional or a savvy tech use Sygate. If you’re a basic computer user and need additional help on what features help protect your system and do not mind the extra memory, needed to operate, then I would suggest Zone Alarm or Outpost. However, Zone Alarm has been known to manipulate its own settings.

Btw... a PIX-501e you just need to understand the logic ;)

Edited by epic
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I've been using Sygate Pro on all my machines I've owned or provided tech support to (easily 25+) and there hasn't been an issue. I will say that under a lot of traffic I notice a bit of a slow down, but that is pye just my laptop's hard drive trying to keep up. :P

BTW, anyone that is using Sygate Pro know what the latest version number is? I just tried a clean install in an XP SP2 VMWare PC that was listed 5.5 build 2637 (fresh download from download.com) and no updates possible from within the options -> check now. Here's the kicker, on my real PC's, the version is 5.5 build 2710..... :blink:

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