When choosing a software firewall, you need one that:
- Allows full and effective user-control of which applications can make internet connections.
- Will not leak data when ‘leak tested’ by researchers.
- Will protect the computer against exploits and bad packets.
- Defends your system’s processes, services and components from malware.
Since Windows XP, Windows operating system has included the basic Windows Firewall, the most recent and enhanced version of which is included in Windows 7. Windows Firewall offers the basics of firewall protection but has some short comings when compared to the more powerful firewall component of BullGuard Internet Security.
User interface for Windows Firewall in Windows 7 is simple to navigate, but lacks easy controls for choosing trusted networks and configuring online access for different applications. BullGuard Internet Security will prompt you when a program tries to establish an outgoing connection allowing you to easily accept or reject, but Windows Firewall has no such notifications. In addition, Windows Firewall automatically creates firewall rules for features or applications that it trusts, namely all the applications within Windows that require online access. This can cause confusion over which features or programs in Windows have the ability to make network connections unless you have a sufficient the level of understanding to access and assess the list of firewall rules in ‘Advanced options’.
Managing network controls is only one aspect of firewall functionality; protection from intruders, exploits, bad packets and port scanning must also be considered. In tests conducted by security researchers, Windows Firewall has been shown to fail ‘leak tests’ and pass data through the firewall. Independent tests have also shown this basic firewall to be vulnerable to port scans, exploits and bad packets, and can manipulated by malware to cease providing protection. Simply put, this basic firewall is not as powerful as the one included in BullGuard Internet Security.
Windows Firewall is effective as a basic firewall and better than no firewall – but isn’t as easily to control, or as powerful as the firewall protection of BullGuard Internet Security. With this comprehensive internet security suite, firewall protection is provided along with antivirus, antispam, and spyware removal tools.
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