Good questions, Java.
I will move "us" to another spot.
So, here we are in Antivirus, Firewall & Privacy Protection ...
I've only used the software type.
I have used:
The value is in that each can monitor and/or block (at your request or by it's logic) program access to online. Either by programs seeking to connect from your PC to an online source, or the reverse.
Not just a 'download" or "upload" but particular "activity" by programs.
The fact that these firewall programs log the action(s) taken or ignored each day (tirelessly) is also an advantage on occassion.
They fail to be perfect.
They are generally predictable, and if a problem should arise that might
mean they aren't working, you can exit and see if it helps.
You can use your own logic to determine if the problem might have been
provoked, meaning it might just be a good thing that the firewall is fussy.
They stealth your computer for you, concealling what otherwise might be a known presence. They can help prevent information that would otherwise be available to automatic searchs being conducted online from being transfered.
None of that really is prevented any other way.
Anti-virus, anti-spyware and other similar programs can prevent in other ways
the unknown malware that might otherwise get installed.
Some disguises itself in such a way to prevent detection by a firewall.
email attachments and others "tagging" along with legitimate applications doing their normal actions, too.
So, the bases are covered if/only if you run them all.
Anti-ActiveX or Java applet downloads.
It's easier than it sounds, but to get the programs to play well together
can sometimes take a little trial & error. So, stick with ones that work for you on your PC. Many are mentioned on these pages. Try them, and if you learn that one isn't working well, try another. The 'harm" done is basically in taking your time to monitor/learn each.
I do not suggest buying a OneSizeFitsAll Program these days.
A couple few years ago, maybe.
Now I say, free is best, and combine 'em.
or pay for one after a full 30 day trial and keep the good free ones working, too.
Edited by phawgg, 05 May 2005 - 09:16 PM.