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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist Redd's Avatar
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    Internet Security Pkg or just Antivirus and Windows Firewall?

    I'm trying to decide between buying Norton or McAffee Internet Security Suites or going with an antivirus and windows firewall. Regarding the above suites, I'm mainly interested in the antivirus and firewall protection. I think using just an antivirus by Norton or McAfee along with Windows Firewall would be less resource intensive than using a full internet security suite program. Can I also expect the same type of firewall protection?

    thanks

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard masm50's Avatar
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    Norton is notoriously resource hungry even just as AV, and also causes numerous problems. I would really advise against using it at all.

    MacAfee is ok - we get free copies through uni - but isn't anything special.

    I am personally pretty happy with AVG Free and Windows firewall and recommend it to anyone who asks (and being free - most people go for it).

    If you are behind a router with a hardware firewall anyway, then Windows Firewall will be fine. There are plenty of other firewalls on offer too such as ZoneAlarm which has a good record and is also free.

    -Tim

  3. #3
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Windows Firewall is just barely better than nothing. It only blocks incoming traffic and not outgoing the way a real firewall does so if you accidentally install a trojan then it will be able to bypass the firewall and let people into your computer. The other issue with the windows firewall is that instead of storing its settings in an encrypted file only readable by the firewall program itself the windows firewall stores its settings in plain text in the registry where any malware that manages to get onto your computer can edit the information so as to allow it to reinstall itself if you manage to find and delete it. So if you want a real firewall rather than just pretending that you have one you need to forget about the Windows one and download and install a proper one. There are plenty of free ones available and any Firewall is better than the windows pretend one. I use ZoneAlarm plus I have a hardware firewall built into my ADSL router.

    AVG is not the best possible antivirus but it is a reasonably good free one and is what I use. If you want the best antivirus then you need to buy either Nod32 or Kapersky.

    You will also want to download both Spybot Search and Destroy (free) and AdAware (free version) and run them on your computer at regular intervals to check for spyware. Each has a different list of identified spyware so it is worth running both. A decent firewall will also help with spyware as it will block the spyware from communicating out until you get around to finding and deleting it. Antivirus software will not help with spyware as they are two totally different types of malware.
    Stephen J Chapman

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  4. #4
    . shoooo... silver trophy logic_earth's Avatar
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    Avast Antivirus is very good as well, they supply a Home version for free.

    I personally don't even have Windows Firewall on, XP or Vista. But I'm behind two hardware Firewalls.
    Logic without the fatal effects.
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  5. #5
    One website at a time mmj's Avatar
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    I would advise that you avoid McAfee software, particularly if you are a Firefox or Opera user. For much McAfee software to work, you need to not only use Internet Explorer but also have it set as your default browser. This was certainly the case the last time I got a computer with McAfee software pre-installed.

    I have been unimpressed with Norton internet security software recently in terms of generally slowing down your computer and making it take forever to boot up. This is the case with my father's computer and nothing short of disabling it altogether makes the computer comfortably responsive enough to use.

    For Antivirus at home I use AVG free and for a firewall I used to use Jetico Personal Firewall but now I just use the Windows Firewall. Note that the Windows Firewall does not filter outgoing traffic which could be a concern if you may have spyware or adware.

    I have been frustrated by existing Firewall software which I feel is either too bloated - using skinned interfaces and/or relying on .NET framework - or too complicated - requiring tons of fiddling around with hierarchical rule structures to enable/disable access.
    [mmj] My magic jigsaw
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  6. #6
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    As long as you run antivirus, anti-spyware, and a proper firewall (not the windows one) then you will be reasonably well protected. The well known suites are

    1. not the best product available for any of the areas they are supposed to protect and
    2. create as many problems as they are supposed to solve in many cases.

    I have lost count of the number of people I have had to disable the Norton's firewall for in order to get their computer to be able to even access the internet at all. The antivirus part of the suite appears to work okay (at least it doesn't crash the computer) and a replacement firewall soon gets people back on the internet safely.

    Just remember that if you decide to use just the Windows firewall that the first time anything gets onto your computer the firewall will become effectively useless unless you replace the hard drive and reinstall everything from backups from before the infection.
    Stephen J Chapman

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