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Windows 7: How important is it to use a third-party firewall or access control?


28 Feb 2012   #1

Windows 7 SP1
 
 
How important is it to use a third-party firewall or access control?

In my previous install of Windows 7 on my home computer, I was using Comodo as a firewall solution. It provided basically two functions - it limited the ability of software to access the network (classic firewalling), and it limited the ability of software to execute on my machine by blocking access to sensitive parts of the computer, such as the registry. At times I found the access control features of Comodo to be a bit overzealous and most of the time I allowed software access anyway. I was frequently torn between wanting to protect my system by blocking software and ensuring that software would run properly by giving it fuller access.

Now that I'm reinstalling my system because of what might have been a corrupt registry and possibly other problems I couldn't pin down, I find myself wondering if I should change my approach to security.

Should I use a third-party solution as a firewall?

Should I use a solution that supplements UAC?

To what level do such solutions actually help protect my privacy and secure me against intrusion and malware?

What software do people recommend?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

28 Feb 2012   #2

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dnsfail View Post
In my previous install of Windows 7 on my home computer, I was using Comodo as a firewall solution. It provided basically two functions - it limited the ability of software to access the network (classic firewalling), and it limited the ability of software to execute on my machine by blocking access to sensitive parts of the computer, such as the registry. At times I found the access control features of Comodo to be a bit overzealous and most of the time I allowed software access anyway. I was frequently torn between wanting to protect my system by blocking software and ensuring that software would run properly by giving it fuller access.

Now that I'm reinstalling my system because of what might have been a corrupt registry and possibly other problems I couldn't pin down, I find myself wondering if I should change my approach to security.

Should I use a third-party solution as a firewall?

Should I use a solution that supplements UAC?

To what level do such solutions actually help protect my privacy and secure me against intrusion and malware?

What software do people recommend?
Dear dnsfail,
Matusec rates Comodo as ranking first in the Personal Firewall category. Outpost is another excellent 2nd option. IMO, as i am using ZoneAlarm Free, the repeated prompting is minimum,but i have not done a GRC on it!

I suppose when you say"software", anything else other than a firewall, i would place my bets on "sandboxie". I strongly recommend it. Download: Download software Privacy free, full and secured versions

regards,
sreedhav
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #3

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
 
 

Dear dnsfail,
What security software have you installed?
Regards,
sreedhav
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


28 Feb 2012   #4

Windows 7 SP1
 
 

Previously, I used the free versions of Avira AV, Comodo's firewall, and SuperAntiSpyware. I used the first two based on research, and the last was based on it being thrown in my face everywhere. I had several other scanning and cleaning utilities, of course.

I don't think SuperAntiSpyware ever really helped me beyond the occasional scan that turned up tracking cookies, which was a task CCleaner was better suited to because it simply zapped everything I didn't grant exceptions to. Avira seemed to catch the occasional bit of malware.

The jist of this thread is that I'm wondering when excess security causes more damage than it contains by throwing false positives, blocking things that don't need to be blocked, etc.

Even benign software seems to ask for too much access, it seems, but I still want it to run properly...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #5

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dnsfail View Post
Previously, I used the free versions of Avira AV, Comodo's firewall, and SuperAntiSpyware. I used the first two based on research, and the last was based on it being thrown in my face everywhere. I had several other scanning and cleaning utilities, of course.

I don't think SuperAntiSpyware ever really helped me beyond the occasional scan that turned up tracking cookies, which was a task CCleaner was better suited to because it simply zapped everything I didn't grant exceptions to. Avira seemed to catch the occasional bit of malware.

The jist of this thread is that I'm wondering when excess security causes more damage than it contains by throwing false positives, blocking things that don't need to be blocked, etc.

Even benign software seems to ask for too much access, it seems, but I still want it to run properly...
Dear dnsfail,
Am i to assume that you have no AV installed and running now? I caught your drift. Avast Free+ SAS+MBAM+sandboxie,IMO are a must.The rest are optional,except probably the WOT for each browser. ZA Free is real lightweight app.
Hope this helps.
sreedhav
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #6

Windows 7 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sreedhav View Post
Dear dnsfail,
Am i to assume that you have no AV installed and running now? I caught your drift. Avast Free+ SAS+MBAM+sandboxie,IMO are a must.The rest are optional,except probably the WOT for each browser. ZA Free is real lightweight app.
Hope this helps.
sreedhav
I dropped in Avira - it seems to be a bit quicker than Avast and I think it gives fewer false positives. When I did my research a while ago, the pro version was one of the best rated AV products in terms of malware identified and in terms of having few false positives.

Also, isn't there a bit of overlap between Avast (or whatever other AV), SAS, and MBAM? I tried MalwareBytes and it seemed to search for the same sorts of things that Avira searched for, just a bit more ploddingly.

Anyway, I was more looking for a discussion on exactly how strict to be with security. Do you ever run in to problems where you've lost functionality because of overzealous security?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #7

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I use a router first off. For about a year I have used MSE, MBAM, and SAS with great results. I also use User Account Control permission. Many security problems come for programs that need updated and I use FileHipo Up Date Checker for that.
FileHippo.com - Download Free Software
This let me know when things like Adobe or Firefox, Java ect. has a update needed.
I use the built in Windows 7 firewall. I have updated to MBAM Pro and it also works great. MSE and MBAM Pro work well together both being active. No one program finds everything but they all should work together well. This is the combination I have used successfully. You mentioned that SAS doesn't do much, well it does for me. It does as advertised. It finds the hard to find cookies that other programs miss. Sometimes I have to run SAS in safe mode to get all of the bad things. To me tracking cookies are bad things. They are calling home any chance they get and could be giving information to their home about your computer and what's on it. Ccleaner is a great program but it misses these cookies at times. I call all these programs a layered protection. Because it has worked so well for me I can recommend the same to you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #8

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dnsfail View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sreedhav View Post
Dear dnsfail,
Am i to assume that you have no AV installed and running now? I caught your drift. Avast Free+ SAS+MBAM+sandboxie,IMO are a must.The rest are optional,except probably the WOT for each browser. ZA Free is real lightweight app.
Hope this helps.
sreedhav
I dropped in Avira - it seems to be a bit quicker than Avast and I think it gives fewer false positives. When I did my research a while ago, the pro version was one of the best rated AV products in terms of malware identified and in terms of having few false positives.

Also, isn't there a bit of overlap between Avast (or whatever other AV), SAS, and MBAM? I tried MalwareBytes and it seemed to search for the same sorts of things that Avira searched for, just a bit more ploddingly.

Anyway, I was more looking for a discussion on exactly how strict to be with security. Do you ever run in to problems where you've lost functionality because of overzealous security?
Dear dnsfail,
1) Kaspersky was the product of the year 2011. Ref: AV-Comparatives - Independent Tests of Anti-Virus Software - Welcome to AV-Comparatives.org (Summary)

2) I only run MBAM in Real-time .

3) MBAM catches more Trojans than viruses as i found out checking other machines.

4) Do not under-estimate the capabilities of SAS.With Google spying and planting 3rd party cookies which i consider a serious intrusion in privacy,then one can use the free version to weed out these. I don't use the Google search, instead i use duckduckgo.com

5) A bi-directional personal firewall which does not seek your attention repeatedly should be welcome ( in so far as quality of internet experience goes).

6) There is indeed a school of thought which concludes that with "sandboxie", the browsers are secure, so what's the need for so many security software? That increases the quality experience quotient on the net!

7) After using sandboxie, i am enjoying the surfing better than before. Not being a "download junkie helps!
regards,
sreedhav
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #9

Win 7 64 home premiun
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dnsfail View Post
In my previous install of Windows 7 on my home computer, I was using Comodo as a firewall solution. It provided basically two functions - it limited the ability of software to access the network (classic firewalling), and it limited the ability of software to execute on my machine by blocking access to sensitive parts of the computer, such as the registry. At times I found the access control features of Comodo to be a bit overzealous and most of the time I allowed software access anyway. I was frequently torn between wanting to protect my system by blocking software and ensuring that software would run properly by giving it fuller access.

Now that I'm reinstalling my system because of what might have been a corrupt registry and possibly other problems I couldn't pin down, I find myself wondering if I should change my approach to security.

Should I use a third-party solution as a firewall?

Should I use a solution that supplements UAC?

To what level do such solutions actually help protect my privacy and secure me against intrusion and malware?

What software do people recommend?
Standard user account, Sandboxie,and Comodos CIS is what i would recommend. I keep the ports stealthed and D+/ sandbox is set to restricked. I also have Malwarebytes for on demand only, but it never finds anything.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Feb 2012   #10

Windows 7 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
I use a router first off. For about a year I have used MSE, MBAM, and SAS with great results. I also use User Account Control permission. Many security problems come for programs that need updated and I use FileHipo Up Date Checker for that.
FileHippo.com - Download Free Software
Ccleaner is a great program but it misses these cookies at times. I call all these programs a layered protection. Because it has worked so well for me I can recommend the same to you.
The update checker seems potentially useful. I'm curious, what cookies does Ccleaner miss? I thought it just deleted all of them, except the ones in the exclusion list. Also, does SAS block cookies from being loaded in the first place? There was a program I had at one point that did that - I think it was Spybot, but I can't remember exactly

A lot of people have been mentioning Sandboxie. I've looked at it before, but never really tried it. It seems reasonable for stuff like browser security or trying new software, but a lot of the problems I've had come from software updates that cause corruption. Since updates overwrite existing software, I'm not sure how sandboxie would protect against that exactly - wouldn't it need to access software outside the 'sandbox'?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 How important is it to use a third-party firewall or access control?




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