You have probably heard the hype surrounding Comodo by now. In fact, it was featured as our #1 pick for the best free firewall roundup. There’s a lot of irony in the fact that Comodo does considerably more than many paid solutions. The real question is - can it be secure as higher-end commercial firewalls?
Potty Training Your Firewall with Leak-Tests
One of the main reasons that Comodo won our #1 spot in our free firewall roundup was the fact it performed so well against leak tests. Leak tests are a new type of threat of evolved malware that seek to disguise their malicious activity. This is usually achieved by “hiding” behind a trusted program or process. The advent of this new threat has created a dire need for firewalls to patch security leaks, something that Comodo has done well.
Comodo claims to protect against 100% of all leak tests, and that’s quite a statement to live up to. ZoneAlarm is another solution that claims to excel in leak test proficiency. Others such as McAfee or Norton have been staggering behind even free firewalls such as Comodo. Norton Internet Security 2008 has been reportedly guilty of this flaw. Not surprisingly, Windows built-in firewall came in dead last, and didn’t protect a thing.
And It Just Gets Worse for Commercial Firewalls
Comodo is starting to make commercial firewalls sweat - but it isn’t stopping here. Comodo has full protection against attacks against itself. This means that if malware tries to attack Comodo before attacking your computer, it will be sure to put up a fight. Oddly enough, ZoneAlarm - another free firewall - also offers a very sturdy protection against these attacks. Comodo has shown weaknesses in some types of application attacks, but still remains extremely secure overall.
Commercial firewalls didn’t fare so well, considering that they demonstrate more application-level weaknesses than these two free solutions. Clearly, the money people spend on paid solutions isn’t being put to good use so far.
A Little Extra Cushion for Users
Computers are all about speed and efficiency. Installing a firewall is a great way to slow computers down - especially older models. Norton and McAfee products are famous for taking up an unnecessary amount of resources, as well as not fully uninstalling when needed. Comodo even surpasses ZoneAlarm in performance tests, yet still isn’t as efficient as paid solutions such as Kaspersky’s line of products.
The free version of ZoneAlarm is undoubtedly quite memorable to those who use it. If you have yet t o use it and would like to give it a test drive, be ready to set a lot of program access rules. Whenever a firewall detects a program that is requesting to perform a questionable action, such as access the internet, the user generally needs to specify if the program is legit or not. Comodo has around 10,000 trusted resources that it will never ask you to confirm - which is quite the time saver. Other programs such as McAfee’s do indeed support this, but then again, you aren’t paying a single cent for Comodo.
Hackers Are Left Out in the Dark
Stealth ports are fast becoming the most popular firewall feature of the year. This technique will allow a user to hide all of the computer’s ports. These ports allow programs - and hackers - access to your computer. Without knowing what ports are open, however, hackers will have a very rough time even to attempt an attack on a computer.
Most commercial firewalls should have this feature if they have been updated. Keep in mind that while a firewall may actively stealth your computer’s ports, application flaws and even some hardware flaws can keep some ports wide open. It’s generally a good idea to test your computer by initiating a port scan. Free port scanning programs are available on the internet, and some online services will automatically scan your ports without any download at all.
And Now, the Price Comparison
If you just want to get down and dirty with price comparisons, we can’t blame you. The competition isn’t so fierce these days, even with free firewalls like Comodo out. Don’t take our word for it - take a look at the prices below:
• Kaspersky’s Internet Security 7.0 will run you $80 for a single year’s use.
• Norton’s Internet Security 2008 isn’t too far behind at an inflated $70.
• McAfee’s Internet Security Suite will cost $50 even.
• ZoneAlarm’s Internet Security Suite also an even $50 per year.
• BitDefender’s Internet Security 2008 lessens the burden at only $40.
And lastly, we have Comodo - which is absolutely free. Given the fact that it is promised to remain free, and remain supported - we just can’t see why the average consumer would need a paid solution.
Shelling out close to $100 every year for about the same protection as free software can get you seems strange. The fact is most people don’t trust free versions of software because they feel it isn’t as good as paid counterparts. With a wealth of information to backup our claims that Comodo can in fact stand up to paid competitors, all we can do is highly recommend that average computer users go with Comodo.
A penny saved is a penny earned. In a lot of cases, this phrase just means you’re being optimistic about being cheap. In this case, however, it seems the “cheap” route is indeed better - both in terms of money and security.