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In this report

Firewalls: Ratings of Sources

Total of 19 Sources
1. Matousec.com
As of April 2012
Proactive Security Challenge
by David Matousek
Our AssessmentMatousec.com tests firewall programs and sells the information to other publications. The tests are highly respected, and many reviewers rely on them. Products are ranked on their ability to prevent firewall leaks, but other aspects -- such as user friendliness -- are not addressed. Comodo Internet Security scores a perfect rating (100 percent). A number of other firewalls do nearly as well and earn recommended status. A newer and more difficult Proactive Security Challenge 64 test has replaced the Proactive Security Challenge, but a much smaller number of firewalls have been put to that test.
2. PCMag.com
As of April 2012
Security Software
by Editors of PCMag.com
Our AssessmentPCMag.com provides detailed reviews of firewalls offered on their own and as part of security suites. Products are rated, and the best earn Editors' Choice recognition. Testing is hands-on and comprehensive, but results sometimes differ considerably from those of other expert reviewers. ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012 earns an Editors' Choice award for best standalone firewall; Norton 360 6.0 and Norton Internet Security 2012 also nab Editors' Choice awards and have firewalls that are singled out for their excellence. The firewall in Kaspersky Internet Security 2012 gets high marks, as well.
3. NotebookReview.com
Not Dated
Internet Security
by Editors of NotebookReview.com
Our AssessmentNotebookReview.com tests three major security suites released by Kaspersky, Norton and McAfee in 2012. The firewall components of each suite are put to the test using the PCFlank Exploits Test. All three suites manage to successfully block the exploits and defend the test PC. While the reviews are clearly testing based, it would have been nice to see the actual raw test data rather than a summary.
4. Gizmo's Freeware Reviews
Updated Feb. 17, 2012
Best Free Firewall
by Editors of Gizmo's Freeware Reviews
Our AssessmentThis article discusses several free firewalls. The commentary is relatively extensive, but testing isn't well documented. Comodo Firewall earns a nearly perfect rating, but most products discussed also earn high marks. Some might also appreciate the list of firewalls that provide good, solid protection but with less "user involvement." The article is followed by a lengthy discussion.
5. Appstorm.net
Feb. 10, 2012
Little Snitch vs. Hands Off: Which Monitoring Utility is Better?
by Jonathan Garro
Our AssessmentReviewer Jonathan Garro pits two of the most popular Mac firewalls head-to-head in this long and screenshot-laden comparison. In the end, he says both programs do a good job of protecting Apple computers, but Hands Off! is the better program thanks to its friendlier interface and the ability to block incoming connections.
6. Download.com
As of April 2012
Firewall Software
by Editors and Contributors to Download.com
Our AssessmentThis popular software download site tallies user-posted ratings from 1 to 5 stars. It offers user opinions of fee-based and free firewall software and also hosts a limited number of professional reviews. The professional reviews are brief, and testing is alluded to but not described. Users post their own ratings, and some add reviews. The quality of those varies, but many firewalls get enough feedback so that clear trends can be seen.
7. Download.com
As of April 2012
Security Software for Mac
by Contributors to Download.com
Our AssessmentDownload.com also offers information about Mac firewalls and other security programs. Though editorial reviews are rare, many users chime in with their opinions. Little Snitch scores well, with most granting it ratings of 4 or 5 stars. A large number of users also chime in about Intego Virus Barrier X6, which pairs antivirus protection with a firewall, though the program scores a bit lower, with 3.5 stars out of 5.
8. PC World
As of April 2012
Firewall Downloads
by Editors and Contributors to PC World
Our AssessmentPC World editors occasionally contribute fairly long reviews for products offered in its Download.com center, including Comodo Firewall and ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012. While they do a good job of describing installation and usage issues, the editors don't test the effectiveness of the firewalls themselves, instead relying on data from Matousec.com. Users can also rate firewalls, but contributed ratings are few.
9. Softpedia.com
As of April 2012
by Contributors to Softpedia.com
Our AssessmentLike Download.com, Softpedia.com lets users post opinions and ratings of software they've used. Editorial reviews are also posted for some firewalls, but they are often too old to be relevant. Outpost Firewall Pro and Online Armor Premium are both named an Editor's Pick in the firewall category, and they also are among the top-rated choices by users.
10. FileForum.com
As of April 2012
by Contributors to FileForum.com
Our AssessmentThis shareware site invites users to review products they have downloaded. There are fewer reviews here compared with the shareware sites listed above -- too few in many cases to give the opinions expressed much weight -- and editors don't weigh in with any picks of their own among firewalls. Having said that, popular firewalls from Comodo and ZoneAlarm each receive a large number of ratings, with Comodo Firewall maintaining a better average score, albeit with fewer reviews than ZoneAlarm.
11. TopTenReviews.com
Not dated
2012 Personal Firewall Software
by Editors of TopTenReviews.com
Our AssessmentTopTenReviews.com ranks and rates its picks for the best firewalls available, although it only covers premium software. The numerical ratings and long, descriptive reviews convey a lot of information, but its testing criteria are never clearly explained.
12. Snapfiles.com
As of April 2012
by Editors and contributors to SnapFiles.com
Our AssessmentThis site provides brief editorial commentary on a handful of firewall programs. One nice feature is a clear alert regarding adware and browser modifications that could get by users if they aren't paying full attention during installation. For example, the write up of the top rated Comodo Internet Security suite includes the warning that the program will install the Ask.com toolbar unless a user opts out during installation. Users can also post reviews, and Comodo Internet Security again gets the nod based on feedback from more than 65 user posts.
13. Wilders Security Forum
As of April 2012
Other Firewalls
by Contributors to Wilders Security Forums
Our AssessmentIn addition to providing official support forums for several Internet security programs, Wilders Security Forum hosts this firewall forum that is active and far-ranging. Individual posts vary in quality: Some are meticulous in their analysis and level of detail, while others offer only sparse and highly subjective input.
14. Expert Reviews
Feb. 9, 2010
VirusBarrier X6
by Tom Gorham
Our AssessmentTom Gorham at Britain's Expert Reviews recommends Intego's Mac-only security suite, VirusBarrier X6. Gorham spends most of his time discussing the suite's other features, but does say that the firewall in VirusBarrier X6 is easier to understand and more configurable than the default firewall built into the Mac OS.
15. TechRepublic.com
April 20, 2011
Enhance Security on Your Mac With Hands Off!
by Vincent Danen
Our Assessmentin more of a discussion than a formal review, TechRepublic.com's Vincent Danen covers the major abilities of the Hands Off! firewall for Macs and compares it to its competitor, Little Snitch. Danen says that although he's used Little Snitch for years, the more robust feature list of Hands Off! has convinced him to make the switch.
16. Macworld
Nov. 25, 2011
McAfee Internet Security for Mac 2012
by Glenn Fleishman
Our AssessmentMacworld doesn't review much security software, but Glenn Fleishman's review is thorough and fairly long. He awards the software 4 out of 5 mice, although the review tends to focus more on interface and usability rather than threat testing. McAfee's firewall is simpler than most, Fleishman writes, and he likes that.
17. MacUpdate.com
Not Dated
by Contributors to MacUpdate.com
Our AssessmentThough the brief editorial introductions do little more than list new features in updated software, there's some valuable insight to be gleaned in the reviews/comment thread for each product. Two Mac-specific firewalls, Little Snitch and Hands Off!, maintain average ratings of 4 out of 5 or higher with hundreds of users checking in for each product. On the negative side, poor sorting and filtering options make finding specific programs difficult unless you use the search bar.
18. CNET
Nov. 22, 2011
A look at Intego Internet Security Barrier X6 for OS X
by Topher Kessler
Our AssessmentThis long examination of Intego's Internet SecurityBarrier X6 suite doesn't list any hard metrics or testing details, but it does a great job of covering the basic functions of the program. A large and helpful chunk of the review lists the differences between SecurityBarrier X6 and Intego's step-down VirusBarrier X6 software.
19. WebUser
Not Dated
Agnitum Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.0
by Andy Shaw
Our AssessmentThis standalone review of a major Outpost Security Suite Pro release is brief, but it covers all the major points. Shaw says the firewall is very effective, but the software "lacks extra features" and "its interface is a little clunky."

Firewalls Runners Up:

Little Snitch *Est. $30

2 picks including: ZDNet.com, Download.com…

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall 2012 Free

2 picks by top review sites.

Norton Internet Security 2012 *Est. $70

2 picks including: PCMag.com, PC Advisor…

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