Best Firewall Software ~~~ 500pts


I was wondering if anyone could make some recommendations on firewall software (based on personal experience)

It is for a single computer in a home environment. I'm currently using ZoneAlarm Pro.

I know McAfee & Norton are possibilities - but what is the best?

bc :-)
Who is Participating?
Pete LongConnect With a Mentor Technical ConsultantCommented:
If your in a home Enviroment, Id say Zone Alarm Pro :) and your allready there :) but the price of lower end hardware firewalls is down now a low end PIX can be picked up on Ebay for a few hundred.

Firewalls (Hardware or Software?)

Software Firewalls

The basic version is still free!;jsessionid=10lfaHFKttIAMkUvvZm1xhWKVLKHVeYPMJpXB1I1UxUpAC2ZioSE!1284415661!-1062696903!7551!7552!1822958594!-1062696904!7551!7552?lid=home_zainfo
Zone Labs offers a complete range of firewall products, from the free ZoneAlarm, to the comprehensive protection of ZoneAlarm Plus, to the ultimate privacy and security tools in ZoneAlarm Pro.

Black Ice Defender
BlackICE teams a personal firewall with an advanced intrusion detection system to constantly watch your Internet connections for suspicious behavior.

Symantec's Norton™ Personal Firewall
Keeps hackers out and personal data in. It makes robust firewall protection easy by automatically hiding your PC on the Internet and blocking suspicious connections. Norton Personal Firewall also protects your privacy by preventing confidential information from being sent out without your knowledge.

McAfee Personal Firewall
Personal Firewall places a barrier between the Internet and your PC, helping to block hackers from accessing your computer and allowing you to digitally 'fingerprint' trusted applications. Every time your computer is probed or attacked, you get detailed reports and clear follow-up options.

HardWare Firewalls

Cisco PIX
The world-leading Cisco PIX® Security Appliance Series provides robust, enterprise-class, integrated network security services including stateful inspection firewalling, protocol and application inspection, virtual private networking (VPN), in-line intrusion protection, and rich multimedia and voice security-in cost-effective, easy-to-deploy solutions.

SonicWALL Internet firewall/VPN security appliances support an array of security applications and deliver powerful firewall and VPN performance. SonicWALL appliances are built on stateful inspection firewall technology, and a dedicated security ASIC designed to ensure maximum performance for VPN enabled applications.

3Com perimeter firewalls and website filters cost-efficiently secure Internet access and give IT managers a critical first line of defense against network attacks and unauthorized access. For protecting the perimeter of your network, choose the 3Com® SuperStack® 3 Firewall for enterprise

Also if you have an old computer even 486 you could try one of the linux firewall ditros:
Only additional thing you would need is the crossover patch cord - to connect your pc to the firewall.

goog luck.
That's like asking Whats the best Car?  or the best anything?  Thats the reason
they make how many flavors of ice cream???  I think you can use any of
them that are update to date free or not,

 Home PC Firewall Guide

 Comparing firewalls

Internet Firewalls: Frequently Asked Questions

PC Magazine Online Comparison Article,2997,s%253D1474%2526a%253D21992,00.aspComparisons

Personal firewalls roadmap
May 15, 2002

Personal firewalls Support Comparison
June 4, 2002

Firewall Product Selector - Choose yourself which one to compare

SecurityFocus HOME Infocus Home User Security Personal Firewalls

Personal Firewall Comparison, Page 7-7

Here are what use to be free:

All of the following may not be any longer free, but you can check:


Smart latest issue did a review of both "Zone Alarm" and "A Tiny Personal Firewall" both free downloads for personal use and gave a thumbs up to both.

Free Zone Alarm


[langalist] LangaList Standard Edition 2002-02-11  
Date: 2/10/2002 9:11:26 PM Pacific Standard Time

Speaking Of ZoneAlarm...

A beta of a new version is in the works (see item #3), but for current
versions, check this out:

     Hi Fred. Thought I would let you know of a cool utility if you
     don't already know some of your readers might want to try it
     is called VisualZone for ZoneAlarm, on the web site it say's
     it is a report analyzer that is easier to read than ZoneAlarm,
     can also perform backtrace and automate backtrace, and submit
     intrusion reports to DShield for analysis. VisualZone can be
     found at

 Subj: [langalist] LangaList Standard Edition 2001-06-21
Date: 6/20/2001 11:07:16 PM Pacific Daylight Time
From: (Fred Langa)

New Firewall Contender?

Writing from Switzerland, reader "Bodo" says:

hi fred, I'm a longtime reader of your langalist (and now also
langalistplus). I want to lead you to a new and imho very
powerful firewall called "Outpost". Its a piece of software
designed by "agnitum" at

   and direct download

It's still in Beta-Status and free. One special point: the
support of the outpost developers is (for me a big surprise!)
very good. They give direct advices and help on their own ( )
and on some other security-related bulletin-boards and try to
help everybody who asks by mail...

Outpost is very user-friendly, either if you are novice or
advanced user of security-systems.

The homepage of Outpost is now still in Russian, but I think
Outpost is such a feature-rich and well done firewall-system
that I have to announce it to you. Give it a try. It's worth.
And the best its free!

Thanks, Bodo. It is beta--- unfinished software--- and the home page is
indeed a little daunting if you can't read Russian <g>; but the software
installation and BBS/support forum is in English. The BBS also is
starting to garner praise from (so far mostly) European users. I hope to
test drive Outpost soon!

[Lockergnome Windows Digest] Top 50 Windows Productivity Tips  
Date: 4/6/2002 6:11:32 PM Pacific Daylight Time

Outpost Firewall v1.0.1511 [2.4M] W9x/2k/XP FREE

"Agnitum Outpost is the first personal firewall that supports
plug-ins. Sample plug-ins are included to show how this
revolutionary technology can easily be employed for such tasks as
Intrusion Detection, Advertisement Blocking, Content Filtering, E-

Free Personal Firewall Software

Personal Firewalls

Message #: 290511From: J RAMSent: 8/25/2003 6:19 PM
A.      Clifford...Take your pick.. they are free,all are good at what they do..


Snap Files  Personal Firewalls

Protect Your Employees from Wi-Fi Threats

As Wi-Fi growth and popularity continues to climb, not everyone understands the risks that come with connecting to public Wi-Fi or even offering Wi-Fi to employees, visitors and guests. Download the resource kit to make sure your safe wherever business takes you!

If you can hang with the learning curve I would suggest a Netscreen 5 gt/xp.  A few hundred dollars but absolutely wonderful.  Although for just protecting one PC at home,  I would keep the ZoneAlarm Pro.   -  The 5xp is no longer in production, but can be found on ebay fairly cheap, and makes a great hardware firewall.  Good luck!
bitter_chickenAuthor Commented:
Thanks to petelong for the expedient thorough answer

Thanks also to LRI41 for such a detailed response - but please take careful note of the question

thanks for your input guys,
bc :-)
Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
No names mentioned - but some "Firewalls" use Windows IP "security policies".
These are useless - because all the many holes our friends in MS have provided are still exposed for worms and viruses, adware and nuisance.
It is simple to make a "firewall" without using Windows security - but may require skills by those making them.

If you remove a firewall that is based on Windows security - you end up with security templates that are messed up, at the worst, you have to install OS from scratch - recreate all users and strategies. There is a way of "seizing" the security database - but it's like research for a PhD in weird thinking to get there. Most cases it is simpler to wipe it all out and start over.

Beware this before you install the software. . .

Verify in places like this that others have installed the system - and they have managed to configure the firewall, and best been able to remove it.
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