Brian Meverden & John Sauter



One thing that I've noticed from dealing with people at work, the more complicated the less likely they are to do anything. 


BlackIce is a good product, but some still don't even want to pay the small amount for it even with it's ease of use.  One thing I do now recommend to them is either Zone Alarm or the Sygate Personal Firewall. Personally I like the Sybergen product better and it can be found at


Both of these solutions are free which makes it more likely the home user will put it to use.  The DSL/Cable craze is just beginning and I feel some protection is better than none at all. Both these products will alert the user on attempts, which hopefully in the future will cause them to look at more solid means of protection as they become more aware of the limitations of the free solutions. All we can do is stress the importance of security at work and in the home.  The free solutions help provide another awareness level which we can help along with good advice and education...


Keep up the good work.


Brian Meverden




ZoneAlarm - It seem's to work ok, i have some questions as how  effective it is? It will even block my proxy server... depending on settings..  weak settings will allow a lot of open ports, icq, aim.. etc but it has caught  intrusions from asian servers, local userrs on the net.  cable modem.. and will possibly provide false errors, but it seems better than some ive had? too weak or ? im sure some hacker has already gotten though this? the only true protection is a hardware firewall? your thoughts?


I would be interested in your input eric? Nice site  i like it not to busy.. ads etc 


John Sauter


Brian and John,
Thanks for the excellent comments.
Itís true that end users do not like complexity and certainly donít like to pay money if they can get something they believe is equivalent for free. A number of people have indicated that Zone Alarm is quite good and from that feedback I would certainly recommend that folks at a minimum install ZoneAlarm or something similar to protect a system connected to the Internet. Iíve heard of the Sygate Personal Firewall also, but have not tested that product either (I feel like new products keep popping up and I need to do better testing EVERYTHING).
Brian, you are absolutely right on when you say that we need to stress good security at home. As professional IT folks it is critical that we guide the community at large in the right direction.
John, has not yet completed testing of the ZoneAlarm product. Once we do, we will make a recommendation. ZoneAlarm has generated the most interest of any single product on and we are working on a complete test.
I donít believe that the only true protection is a hardware firewall. I think software firewalls can be just as good. However, software firewalls are expensive compared to low end hardware firewalls when you consider that you need a computer to run it. For a home user with more than one computer, I believe the best solution still is a Linksys Cable/DSL Router - firewall plus Network Address Translation in a box that doesnít have an OS that can be cracked through traditional means I believe provides superior protection. However, for a single user, a personal firewall is a reasonable alternative and provides decent security.
Thanks for your comments,
Eric Svetcov