PC Tools Firewall Plus Free Edition
This download is served from an external siteclose
NOTICE: This link will open a connection to a third-party site. CNET cannot ensure the security of software that is hosted on external sites.
Full user review
"The finest FREE firewall (Version 18.104.22.168)"
Extremely light on the system
Extremely effective if installed properly
Can monitor the data exchange by each software component
Can control which application can connect or receive data from internet
Password lock to
-Will install improperly (ineffective) if any of the system network driver is corrupted.
-No OS/Application HIPS
I recently uninstalled my Norton Internet Security 2011 with 193 days remaining license over fears that Norton has formed a JV with a Chinese company Huawei (51:49) to spearhead the development of computer security. Due to this, many of Norton's core serurity technologies would fall in hands of this Chinese company (reportedly having strong inks with PLA of P.R.China) which would risk all those who use the software in the event PLA would like to launch a cyber strike on any adversary.
Instead, I have now chosen the free firewall from PC Tools Firewall Plus 22.214.171.124 over Comodo Firewall Free (complicated interface and extremely difficult to fully uninstall) and Zone Alarm Firewall Free (the GUI is unattractive, slower browsing with IE9 due to the identity/antI phishing BHO, and no active data exchange module GUI).
I initially had problem with installation as the Norton un Installer corrupted the native network drivers during uninstallation of NIS 2011. Once my drivers were re installed, everything went well.
The PC Tools Firewall Plus uses automatic digital signature verification of applications to allow/disallow internet access hence needs no training as required in traditional firewalls. However, this may not be always good as some malwares using stolen valid signatures may pass the bi directional firewall. Hence, for newbies, this is the safest and best firewall which auto decides on behalf of the user.
There is also an advance user module to set specific permissions for applications.
I also like the live application network access data module where a user can verify which application is accessing the internet and how many bytes have been exchanged.
I n order to enhance the security layer, I have supplemented the firewall with PC Tools Threatfire which is a fantastic 0 day virus/malware detection HIPS.
For an anti virus, I have opted for MSE 2.1 (signature & cloud based) after multiple free AV evaluation and found it to be the lightest anti virus/anti spyware with virtually zero false positive. It may not be the best out in the market but I believe the product efficacy is improving by the day as Microsoft is releasing newer versions of their anti malware engines to become top notch.
This is how I migrated from a paid security suite to a completly free set of multi layered security products.
By the way, I already had Malwarebytes Antimalware Pro pre installed since 2 years which is a fantastic fall back anti malware with a one time lisence fee.