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My experience with no shouting

By bbbaldie ·
I have several non-nerdy friends and acquaintences who have called me with serious system problems (spyware, viruses, worms, etc. all via unsecured broadband). After I undo the damage (sometimes rebuilding from scratch in serious cases), I leave them with five things: ZoneAlarm, or preferably, a broadband router/firewall; Spybot, set to automatically update and scan nightly; AVG from Grisoft, also set to update and scan nightly; Windows Updates set to do its thing automatically, and Firefox. User is advised to stop using IE. I have yet to have anyone call me with further issues after months. Case closed, as far as I'm concerned.

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Spybot and Ad-Aware play together

by mgoldner In reply to One suggestion and a warn ...

I use both Spybot Search and Destroy and Lavasoft Ad-Aware. No anti spyware is completely 100% effective, and these two together seem to get almos all of it. They work well toghether, and I articularly like the immunization feature of SpyBot.

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ZoneAlarm refuses to install - alternatives?

by JohnOfStony In reply to My experience with no sho ...

I have a laptop which recently started misbehaving (it threw up error message boxes about TrueVector) when I tried to access the internet. ZoneAlarm was the culprit so I uninstalled it, thinking it had been corrupted, but when I tried to reinstall it, I got as far as clicking the "I agree" button and it aborted. I'm running Windows XP. Does anyone have any recommendations for alternative software firewalls which allow the use of VPNs (unlike Microsoft's offering which blocks use of VPNs!!!).

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Check your setup

by KiwiRick In reply to ZoneAlarm refuses to inst ...

We use the microsoft firewall and have no issues using VPN. All my XP SP2 users connect via VPN.

Zone Alarm is good, but I found users would just click randomly to Allow / Don't Allow when prompted as they had no idea what the questions mean.

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uninstall notes

by edtoff In reply to ZoneAlarm refuses to inst ...

I've found that when you uninstall zone alarm, it leaves some files and sometimes the truvector portion installed on the machine. I believe they have instructions on their website for curing this. Then after that try the reinstall.
I personally use a product called Panda Antivirus Platinum 7 which has a firewall built right in
and I have no problems whatsoever. I use Adaware SE pro for the spy and malware.

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I VPN through XP's built in FW all the time

by pauln1 In reply to ZoneAlarm refuses to inst ...

Just have to make sure you have the right ports open and you can do anything (so far) through it. Matter of fact, I believe XP's FW only blocks having open listening ports - If you establish the connection it should be fine.

Personally I think that most personal FWs are smoke and mirrors. You shouldn't need to be told that a FW blocked something - that is a sales pitch. If it is doing its job correctly it just blocks the bad stuff, and doesn't bug you about it. You can check the logs later to see whats been going on. JMO...

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Problems with Zone Alarm

by jdmercha In reply to ZoneAlarm refuses to inst ...

I have also found that zone alarm conflicts with other software. I haven't used it in awhile so maybe the latest versions are OK.

I don't like presonal firewalls in general, as most users are not savy enough to use them properly. The warnings they produce about unsafe activities are usually in technospeeak. Most users will just choose to allow everything through.

On the other hand I have been using a firewall that I do like. It is limited in what it does, but it does it in clear, understandable messages.

Check out Geek Superhero.

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No spyware thanks

by KiwiRick In reply to My experience with no sho ...

Pre XP SP2 - regular spyware hits on my remote users (interstate) laptops. Post XP SP2 with firewall enabled - only one user has been hit since (because he neglected to install SP2).
Call me crazy, but MS seemed to have alleviated my problems...for now. We run weekly spybot scans and nothing has surfaced. Ran MS's beta and that also turns up nothing.

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An alternative AV product - Avast

by paul.smith In reply to No spyware thanks

Instead of AVG, I use Avast! from Alwil software. It's free for personal use. See

I prefer Avast's user interface to that of AVG's, and it does appear to have some features that AVG lacks (at least the last time I looked) such as a P2P AV service.

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by harry_gibson In reply to My experience with no sho ...

I have used the BlackIce Firewall for several years now and found it excellent (together with a broadband router/firewall (at home) and Symantec anti-virus software)

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by house In reply to BlackIce

I have a couple of friends who use Blackice almost exclusively. For a software firewall, I used to use Sygate Pro. I found it to be rich with features that would allow you to counter an attempted hack. I was always able to identify various bots, trojans, and internal threats, with the monitoring and trace utilities - threats that are not necessarily identitfied by any security company.

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