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A good firewall program should not only pass leaktests but with options to immediately block internet traffic, if an intrusion is happening in the network. Another feature to consider in choosing a firewall program is the option to use firewall rules (also known as rule-based firewall). A host protection in a firewall is a must, to ensure that nothing is leaked. Below are the list of firewall programs, linked to reviews by Bright Hub writers and some notes from yours truly.
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- Agnitum's Outpost Firewall Free - a basic rule-based firewall protection with Host Protection. It passed some leaktests and proven to do its job to protect the computer and network. The downside of this free program is it is seldom updated. To get a better firewall protection from Agnitum, you will need to buy the Pro edition. System requirement: 32-bit and 64-bit editions of XP, Vista, Windows 7
- Comodo Firewall - I do not recommend Comodo Firewall or its Internet Security Suite when they bundled their program a third-party toolbar and search assistant. Comodo has changed their mind by releasing, v4 of Comodo Firewall with no search assistant and toolbar. It's a good rule-based firewall software, often passed any leaktests and has received good firewall reviews in many reviews website. Just don't use their antivirus protection that continue to lack in detection. The firewall with defense+ is the one to use when installing and configuring Comodo. System requirement: 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows 7 / Vista / XP SP2
- PC Tools Firewall Plus - another rule-based firewall protection that is easy to use and manage. The downside is that it did not pass a leaktest. It is better than built-in firewall in Windows for it is updated often by PC Tools. Tip: Do not enter your e-mail address in the program or else, you will receive an e-mail notice to pay for the program. To continue using the free edition, simply install, configure and use. System requirement: Windows 7 (32/64bit), Vista (32/64bit) and XP (32bit)
- Privacyware's Privatefirewall - I personally reviewed this program for Brighthub and must say, that Privatefirewall is a good rule-based firewall. It is easy to use and provide the protection that most users will need to protect the computer and network. It passed some leaktests and continue to receive good reviews from other sites. System requirement: Windows 7 (32/64bit), Vista (32/64bit) and XP (32bit)
- Sunbelt Personal Firewall - a rule-based firewall that is easy to install but it did not pass the leaktests. The free edition is a basic firewall only with no Host protection and no content filtering. System requirement: Windows 2000 Pro, XP and Vista (32-bit).
- Tall Emu's Online Armor Free - one of the recommended firewall program in security forums. Online Armor Free often passed any leaktests, providing great support to its users via its forums and the program is updated. The free edition is a standard rule-based firewall program. If you want more protection, you have to get Online Armor Premium. System requirement: XP/Vista/Windows 7. Not compatible to 64-bit edition of Windows.
- Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm Firewall - the most popular free firewall program for years but has received negative feedback when Zone Labs bundled its installer of firewall with Ask Toolbar. ZA is a very user friendly program and offering a rule-based firewall protection. Always uncheck the installation of toolbar on set-up, to prevent changes in your browser and search assistant. System requirement: 32-bit / 64-bit of Windows 7, Vista and XP.