Which Anti-Virus should I get, and software/hardware firewall?

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Mike Schmitz, Jun 29, 2004.

  1. Mike Schmitz

    Mike Schmitz Stunt Coordinator

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    The ancient anti-virus program that came with my computer has started hitting me up for money, so I'm looking to get a brand new one. I was told that McAfee was better than Norton, but I found some bad reviews on Pricegrabber. Is this a case of someone who doesn't like McAfee dumping bad reviews on a good program, or is McAfee having problems now?

    Also, my old virus scanner has a software firewall. Should I stick with a software firewall, or is it time to get a router/physical firewall? I'm using Comcast's cable internet service. They offer a free year of McAfee Personal Firewall Plus. Should I take them up on it, or avoid this?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. Rob Gillespie

    Rob Gillespie Producer

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    Definitely go for a router. Accept no substitue.

    I still run the ZoneAlarm software firewall because it tracks outgoing traffic as well as incoming. For the tiny overhead it just adds another line of protection. And it's free.

    I've stopped using Norton a while back and I now use BitDefender Standard. A lot cheaper, faster, less bloated and the detection rates are some of the highest you'll find anywhere. They do a slightly more expensive version with built-in software firewall and content filtering. Panda Titanium is good too and PC-Cillin.

    We use McAfee products on a client and while it works OK I think the detection is probably a tad behind the competition now.
     
  3. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    If you need something right away download AVG antivirus. It has a free version and it's rated fair to good, depending on what you read. I've also read some not so good reviews on McAfee, so it's off my list. Norton is currently running a $20 rebate. I can get NAV 2004 at Sam's for $32.88 then get a $20 rebate for final price of $12.88. Given that deal and Norton's solid reputation (it is a resource hog though) I'm most likely going with Norton.

    I did download AVG since it's free and it gets decent ratings. I'm going to keep that as well I think. I'll let Norton run in the background and keep AVG updated (free as well) just to run in addition. AVG is very easy on resources.

    The other AV program I would consider is PC-Cillin. It ranks up there with Norton and is not the resource hog NAV is.

    Yes, get a router for the hardware firewall.
     
  4. Neal_C

    Neal_C Second Unit

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    Definitely get a router and you can also run Zone Alarm with it as well just to monitor traffic in and out.

    I have been using AVG for a while now...its good and its free. I dont' really see much reason to pay for McAfee or Norton.

    Neal
     
  5. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    I've been a happy user of AVG (both at home and at work) for years. It has detected viruses that Norton has failed to find!!


    Zone Alarm tends to be buggy. There is a nasty bug that cropped up on my home machine some time ago that would cause me to have to reboot often. The manufacturer, of course, refuses to acknowledge, let alone fix, this bug. In any case, I recommend Sygate Personal Firewall in addition to your hardware router as an excellent and reliable (and FREE!) software firewall solution.
     
  6. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    Good thread. I've had several problems with Norton Internet Security 2004, the most recent being that LiveUpdate is refusing to update saying it needs reinstalling.

    I've got a hardware firewall/router and I think if you've got a broadband connection they're a must have.

    I'm looking around for an alternative software solution too.

    Software Firewall - ZoneAlarm?
    AV - Either Panda or one of the others mentioned here.
    Spam filter for Outlook - Probably InBoxer.

    Any other suggestions?

    Thanks.
     
  7. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Darren,

    If you can use ZoneAlarm and never encounter the nasty bug I mentioned above, more power to you. If you don't want to take the risk of having a very difficult/inconvenient uninstall in the future, I would suggest just going with Sygate Personal Firewall (scroll down for free version).

    When you choose a spam filter, I would recommend one that uses the Bayes filtering algorithm. It takes about a month to train, but the results are far more accurate than simple keyword filtering. Either search this forum, or visit Google for more info on the wonders of Bayes filtering.
     
  8. MikeH

    MikeH Stunt Coordinator

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    What brand would you guys recommend for a router? It's the only thing listed I don't have on my system.

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
  9. Bob Graz

    Bob Graz Supporting Actor

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    I use the D-link DI-524 wireless/4 port router. After rebate I think I spent $40 for it. It's very good. I've used zone alarm on several pc's with no issues, I like it. I may stick with the AVG AV software. Also ad-aware and spy-bot are 2 must need freeware programs.
     
  10. Neal_C

    Neal_C Second Unit

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    I use a D-Link router as well and haven't had any problems. I have the DI-604 (wired) and paid about 20 bucks after rebate. Linksys makes very good routers, but you usually pay a premium for their name and popularity. Belkin also has some good routers and can be had very cheap (my brother-in-law just got a wireless Belkin router for like 16 bucks after rebate).

    Neal
     
  11. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Rob. I'll take a look at Sygate. Is it worth paying out to get the Pro version or are the advanced features not that necessary, especially with a hardware firewall (I don't use VPN)? BTW, who would you recommend for anti-spam?

    I see Sygate also offer a bundle with Panda Antivirus. I'd never heard of Panda until I read an article about them in the UK magazine PC Pro. Are they a reputable anti-virus company? This is the one area that's crucial to me.

    As for hardware, I've had no problems with LinkSys. I've just got one of their new all-in-one ADSL modem/router/WAP boxes (WAG54G) and the setup was a breeze. Netgear also make some good stuff too.
     
  12. Mike Schmitz

    Mike Schmitz Stunt Coordinator

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    Whew! I wanted lots of advice, and I got it! Let's see now...

    My computer was built from parts, and the motherboard came with PC-cillin 2002. One of the guys said if it was two years old it had probably been cracked by hackers by now, but the other said it was better than nothing. So I'm wavering between PC-cillin 2004, which I'm used to working with, and the free version of AVG, which is about in my price range. [​IMG]

    Oh, PC-cillin also has its own firewall program built into its virus scanner, or at least the 2002 version did. Is it a good idea to go with that firewall, or disable it and get something else?

    The D-link DI-524 wireless/4 port router looks good, but there's one thing stopping me. I mean, besides my bank account's current "echo chamber" sound effect. :b My ASUS motherboard has both a T10/100 and a Marvell Gigabit router. On the off chance I ever get another computer to build a LAN for my family, are there any gigabit routers under $100, or am I going to have to wait for prices to come down?
     
  13. Rob Gardiner

    Rob Gardiner Cinematographer

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    Darren,

    I've used the free versions of the following and haven't felt the need for anything further:

    SYGATE PERSONAL FIREWALL
    GRISOFT AVG ANTI-VIRUS
    LAVASOFT AD-AWARE (spyware)
    SPYBOT SEARCH & DESTROY (also spyware)
    (each of these spyware programs find things the other misses)
    SPAMBAYES (spam filter using Bayesian algorithm) (a bit tricky to configure but I'm getting wonderful results now)

    Total cost: $0 All can be found with Google.

    I am running Windows 2000, and keep the OS (as well as all the programs listed above) up to date at all times. I have never lost data due to malicious intent, and the spam filter has made e-mail useful again.
     
  14. I'll second AVG. Don't use it personally but thats only cause i can get mcafee from the university for free, once i graduate ill got back to AVG though.

    As far as zone alarm i do not recommend using it. If you have XP just run the windows firewall and put your computer behind a router. I've consistently read that the windows firewall is no better or worse than zone alarm, but zone alarm tries to take over your computer and handle EVERYTHING it does. Yes a few simple clicks here and there and its "setup", but again, it basically takes over your computer.
     
  15. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    I don't personally know of any gigabit routers. Most come with either a 10Mbps port or a 10/100Mbps port, or a built in switch.

    One option would be to go with a standard single port router and plug this into something like the D-Link DGS-1005D gigabit switch. You could then plug your gigabit nics into the D-Link switch.
     
  16. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    I use avg antivirus and kerio firewall. AVG is just good all around. Kerio is better than zone alarm as you can actually control a programs ability to run other programs on your computer which is really something else.
     
  17. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I use Sygate Personal Firewall Pro & recommend it highly. I've quit using Norton products with SW 2003. I don't like product activation! I'm trialling Kaspersky AV right now. It seems to be well behaved. I tried to use F-Secure's AV, but ran into problems, mainly it did not co-exist with Sygate's Firewall. Indeed go with a router.
     
  18. Ben LG

    Ben LG Stunt Coordinator

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    Ive tried all the aboved mentioned, ALL the major firewalls and I like Agnitum Outpost Pro the best. Sygate is a close second but nothing matches the logging ability of Agnitum, you get to see exactly what is and what went on in your system. It also has the ability to use third party plugins such as WhoEasy which is used to track the origin of an attackers IP and show you info on his ISP to report abuse. The interface and settings can be auto set for newbies yet it has the most options for more advanced users. Simple,straightfoward and very effective firewall to use.

    I also use AVG antivirus but lately Ive been trying this alternative - also free and very nice.

    hxxp://www.avast.com/eng/products/desktop_protection/home_edition/free_avast_4_home_ed.html
     
  19. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    If you've got a hardware firewall (ie a router), do you still need a software firewall installed on each PC on your home LAN?
     
  20. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    It is prefered that you do considering a router won't always do much to block outgoing traffic.
     

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