Personal Firewall—Dont Surf Without It

By Neil J. Rubenking  |  Posted 2004-10-06 Print this article Print

In order to gauge the effectiveness of popular firewall software, we took the gloves off and attacked the firewall process using techniques available to a malicious program.

A personal firewall should protect your computer against external attacks by hackers or worms and against internal betrayal by spyware or Trojan horse programs. It shouldnt inundate you with alerts or otherwise interfere with normal computer use. We tested new versions of two well-known firewalls in three distinct ways. On a direct, unprotected connection to the Internet, we ran a dozen Web-based tests to ensure that all ports were stealthed—completely hidden from the outside. We ran 10 leak-test programs—single-purpose utilities that attempt to circumvent the firewall in the same way a worm or Trojan might. Finally, we took the gloves off and attacked the firewall process using techniques available to a malicious program.

To read the complete review on, click here.
Neil J. Rubenking Neil Rubenking served as vice president and president of the San Francisco PC User Group for three years when the IBM PC was brand new. He was present at the formation of the Association of Shareware Professionals, and served on its board of directors. In 1986, PC Magazine brought Neil on board to handle the torrent of Turbo Pascal tips submitted by readers. By 1990 he had become PC Magazine's technical editor, and a coast-to-coast telecommuter. His 'User to User' column supplied readers with tips and solutions on using DOS and Windows, his technical columns clarified fine points in programming and operating systems, and his utility articles (over forty of them) provided both useful programs and examples of programming in Pascal, Visual Basic, and Delphi. Mr. Rubenking has also written seven books on DOS, Windows, and Pascal/Delphi programming, including PC Magazine DOS Batch File Lab Notes and the popular Delphi Programming for Dummies. In his current position as a PC Magazine Lead Analyst he evaluates and reports on client-side operating systems and security solutions such as firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and full security suites. He continues to answer questions for readers in the ongoing 'Solutions' column and in PC Magazine's discussion forums.

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