Amount of malware you can encounter online is astonishing. Antivirus software is obviously a must but concept has few weak spots.
While hunting down and killing malware is function of antivirus – preventing malware from getting on your PC is better handled by firewall software.
Problem with antivirus-only defense
Antivirus software relies on database holding information on all known viruses. It handles thousands of viruses before they have chance to act. However there is problem with database approach – there is opportunity window between virus release and time it gets into databases.
Basically every virus has a natural jump-start competing with antiviruses for at least few hours.
It was unimportant when viruses were slow and distributed via please-click-me methods. Nowadays they are lightning fast, use freshly discovered holes in operating systems or software and can infect millions of PCs before antivirus apps have chance to update and react.
What firewall does
Firewall software restricts your Internet connection from everything goes to tightly controlled environment in which only legitimate applications can interact with network:
- unrequested incoming connections are blocked, preventing malware from jumping on;
- outgoing connections are controlled so that only trusted apps can make those.
Comodo Internet Security suite
Comodo Firewall took niche by storm, quickly improving to be one of the best freeware solutions available. Recent versions got additional antivirus core as well and upgraded title of Internet Security.
I am using firewall for a long time but not using antivirus part. I have strong doubts that single company (Comodo or anyone else) can deliver excellent results with complex software of very different types. I prefer to keep firewall and antivirus software separated.
In addition to controlling network activity Comodo Firewall also offers Defense+ module that works by analyzing what local applications are trying to do. It’s main goal is to prevent unwanted outgoing connections and leaks – techniques that malware (not necessarily virus, may be relatively harmless adware as well) uses to circumvent protection by attaching to trusted software.
Balance of protection and usability
With maximum security settings firewall will quickly drive you insane with endless alerts about suspicious activity. Luckily settings are very flexible with few initial profiles and extensive options to fine-tune every aspect.
After few days of use installed software will get remembered by firewall and for adding new one there is handy installation mode that disables alerts coming from setup packages for few minutes.
Comodo handles your answers by creating generic rules about your network and software. Those rules can be easily created or modified to be made much more specific. Truthfully there are more settings to explore in there than needed in most of the cases. Ensures it’s there when it is needed.
Unlike antivirus (install, schedule update, forget) firewalls require user to be much more tech-savvy and make decisions about what should and what should not be allowed. It may seem troublesome but as with spam – there is no silver bullet solution to tasks firewall does.
Bear with it, google if unsure or ask closest geek to help you with initial setup.
As for Comodo firewall – it is free and effective solution that is good choice both for start and power users.