Best firewall 2018 – comparison of personal firewall software gas hydrates


Before testing personal firewall software we chatted with Mitch Stephens, a security consultant with Emagined Security and with Steve Smith, a former systems analyst for a major health provider. With their help, we developed a testing methodology that mimics real-life scenarios when using a firewall and internet security program. As we tested these programs, we could analyze how well each program protected our network, as well as how it worked in an environment other than a controlled, sterile laboratory.

We installed and used each program to see how easy it was to set up and run, and noted whether the firewall was automatically enabled or if we needed to manually start it. Part of our testing included attempting to access or download over 200 malware threats, including Trojans, rootkits, viruses, malicious websites and phishing schemes. In addition to our own in-house tests, we considered third-party laboratories, such as AV-Test and AV-Comparatives, and their protection test results. Using these scores and comparing them to our own findings, we determined which personal firewall programs are the best at detecting, blocking and removing malware.

We ran vulnerability scans to see if the firewall software caught any outdated programs. During these tests, we looked closely at how much lag the software created by doing common tasks such as sending email, performing web searches, downloading software, sharing files, watching videos and playing games online while the software was running.

Part of our comparison included downloaded trial versions on our personal home computers, laptops and mobile devices to get a good sense of how these programs work in a real-life situation. We learned valuable insights such as how a business internet connection versus a home network affects how well the programs run.

Our testing included installing the firewall software on various devices and setting kids loose on YouTube or gaming sites. Others kids used the devices for school research. Based on these tests, we can confidently recommend programs that are good for mobile devices, such as Kaspersky Internet Security. For devoted gamers we suggest Avast Internet Security. And for good parental controls, check out Norton Security Premium.

While both Windows and Mac operating systems come with a built-in firewall, third-party tests show they don’t protect quite as well as third-party software. The good thing about firewall software is it works alongside your operating system to give you a double layer of protection and catch anything the first firewall may miss. Also, these programs come with other security features, such as antivirus tools, safe banking tools, vulnerability scans and parental controls.

Don’t put off buying an internet security solution until after your system is hacked. While firewall and antivirus programs are excellent at preventing an attack, they can’t always clean your system once malware infects it. When this happens, you need to be pretty tech savvy to get everything off. We suggest taking your computer to a reputable computer geek to help you restore your system. Once clean, you can then install firewall protection and keep future attacks from happening.

There are new devices popping up, such as the Bitdefender BOX and the Norton CORE. These network firewalls connect to your router and protect your whole network, and every device connected to it, from a single point. This means you don’t have to download security software to your devices, freeing up room and valuable resources. However, when we tested firewall routers, the consensus was that they aren’t simple enough for average consumers to use just yet. They require a level of tech savvy. In our tests, they proved difficult to set up and required us to change IP addresses, resulting in lost internet connection for several hours. We ultimately needed our internet provider’s support team to help get the connection back. The concept is great, but unless you are very tech minded, you’ll probably be best served by software instead. We’ll be keeping a close eye on developments and testing future versions.