Need opinions on Agnitum Outpost Firewall Pro

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That is very wise.. Norton is probably the worst firewall you can use. Outpost of pretty good. I am trying it again right now myself. Other than a few quirks in rule making (and nothing that can't be worked around), it seems to be pretty good overall.

Happy motoring.. :)

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On Mon, 09 May 2005 21:02:50 GMT, "paking(nospam)" wrote:

I´ve been trying it out for a couple weeks now, I used to have NIS

2004 so it´s hard to avoid a comparison.

Install / Uninstall Very easy, and automatic configuration features is Ok. It will recognize more programs than Norton did and configure safe rules for them. It also allows you to easily save and retrieve settings. This is handy when you wish to experiment with new security settings and don´t want to break anything. I think NIS 2005 has now something like that but it is really meant for transporting settings to a new computer (not as straightforward). My uninstallation of Norton went flawlessly but many people report otherwise. Norton provides specific tools for uninstalling if you have problems so this is definitely their weak area. Outpost uninstallation was a snap. No need to hold my breath and pray for the best as with Norton.

Protection NIS 2004 is an integrated security suite and Outpost is "just" a firewall. This means that Norton did a much better job at establishing a comprehensive layer of defense against a variety of threats. Integration also means that the different tools/techniques did not conflict with each other as can be common when you go the best-app for each threat approach. I had some issues with Kaspersy anti-virus and Outpost for example. Comparing only apples with apples, Outpost´s firewall is highly configurable through a very friendly and pleasant user interface (Norton offers less configuration possibilities and are more hidden). I had the feeling that out of the box Norton was tighter than Outpost. Outpost can be hardened to your hearts content but you have to know what you´re doing and it can be easily misconfigured. Norton on the other hand is very hard from the start and lacks configuration easiness. In regards to protecting from outside attacks (unauthorized connection to your ports) I think they do a similar job. I will say this, it is almost impossible to disable Norton (unless you specifically command it to) while it is very easy to kill Outpost process. If a trojan were to shutdown Outpost from the inside it would have no trouble doing that. Norton is more robust in that sense. But you could argue that if a trojan is already inside any firewall becomes useless. Norton will also recognize more attack signatures than Outpost. But they will stop both equally. Outpost has email filtering capabilities (filters active content) but it does not scan for viruses. Norton being an integrated solution obviously does both. Web filtering active content is highly configurable in Outpost and easily so. Everything about configuration in Outpost is wonderful and easy (see below).

Interface / Feedback This is where Outpost excels and why I think it has such an enthusiastic crowd. The GUI is very nice and easy to work with. Reporting is very complete with Outpost and you can easily see what´s going on with your connections. There are also some facilities to define your own reports which is great. Reporting and log analysis is so much harder in Norton.

Conclusion Outpost is great but you have to understand that a firewall can only protect you from certain threats and there are many more that will require separate apps (and additional complexity to get working together). Using an integrated suite (there are other besides Norton) provides robustness and peace of mind particularly for the less techy. On the other hand, integrated suites (particularly Norton) are bloated and commonly leave a heavy bootprint on your system.

I had not intended this to be such a large post but I think it can provide thinking ideas and a better understanding of all the discussion (sometimes heated) that goes around software firewalls and their implementations.

BTW, I am keeping Outpost and will not go back to Norton. :-)

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