Firewalls: Hardware and Software Solutions, Part 2

Dennis Faas's picture

[Continued from Firewalls: Hardware and Software Solutions, Part 1]

On the software only side of things, there are quite a few possibilities available for a software firewall.

These all install directly on your PC and use the internal resources like any other program run on your system (such as memory, disk space, CPU cycles, and so on). Software firewalls do a good job of preventing both inbound and outbound traffic and are easy to install and configure.

First up is Zone Labs Zone Alarm. The download is free as is the firewall product itself. They will try to get you to buy the Pro version which adds a handful of additional protections for Adware, Spyware, and so on. If you have tools installed to handle those problems, you don’t really need to go with the Pro package. After installation, which is simple, you're asked to make a few decisions as to how you want the firewall to act. Go with the recommendations until you get familiar with the software. The package has a learn mode that will ask for permission to allow an application to access the internet. After the first time you approve of the access and tell to software to remember the action (via a small check box), you won't be asked again about that application. After a few days, the firewall is ready for the configuration fine tuning. The manual is pretty good and they have a video you can watch that will give you additional information.

FREE for personal use, Sygate Personal Firewall provides best of breed security in a user friendly interface, protecting your PC from hackers, Trojans and DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. Features include full-ICS support, protocol driver level protection, enhanced logging, and more. Sygate Personal Firewall is the first FREE personal firewall to offer protection from malicious code intrusions, keeping the information on your PC safe and private.

Kerio Personal Firewall (KPF) protects connected PCs from Internet threats. KPF inspects both incoming and outgoing connections ensuring that only legitimate traffic is allowed. MD5 signatures are assigned to all applications to prevent Trojan horses from posing as a trusted application. Kernel monitoring prohibits installation of potentially dangerous kernel drivers that may bypass the firewall inspection. KPF offers a remote administration, logging of suspicious activities, open connections overview and automated update checker.

For home users, Kerio Personal Firewall is available in two flavors -- the full edition and the limited free edition. After installation, KPF works as the full edition for 30 days, after which it becomes the limited free edition. Limited free edition does not provide the content filtering capabilities such as blocking pop-up windows, ads, VB scripts, cookies, etc. and other extra features.

Jetico Personal Firewall protects your computer from unwanted hacker's attacks from outside as well as from malicious programs living secretly inside your computer's memory and hard drive. Three levels of protection are included: low-level network packets filtering, application-level network events filtering, and filtering of user-level process activity. Jetico Personal Firewall checks every packet that comes in or out of your computer.

Omniquad Personal Firewall is a personal security system that protects your computer from unauthorized access over the LAN and/or Internet. In addition to making your computer invisible, it gives you full control over what programs on your computer can gain access to the Internet. It is a real-time network activity indicator. You can define and enforce trusted zones. Automatic lock shuts down Internet access after specified period of inactivity.

As usual, all the software I recommend is free for the downloading. All of the software is accessible through my favorite download site, The Smoothwall package is available through and Gibraltar from

Not having a firewall is dangerous. Having one just makes good sense, so go out there and get one installed. If you want to explore the possibilities a bit, enter "Firewall" in the search box on or Google it and see what you find. There are over 330 entries on Downloads alone, so go hunting. If you have a firewall installed that I didn't mention, let me know and I'll get it posted so everybody can see it.

And, as always, HAVE FUN!

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