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Two firewalls? Two real-time AVs?


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#1 Learning123

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 10:13 AM

I see in many places the recommendation to run a single firewall and a single AV program. I have run more than one at a time and not sure why it's recommended to have only one. Reasons given that I saw were:
(1) they will conflict ... but I did not notice conflicts - things seem to run for me, programs seem to work, what am I missing?
(2) it might be actually LESS secure to use two firewalls - I don't understand why - can someone explain?
(3) it's a pain since you have to configure same things in two places - Agreed but not a problem in my case
(4) any others?

I've run different combinations, e.g. zonealarm + McAfee (both firewall hips and on-access anti-virus) + avira.

Appreciate your help!

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#2 garmanma

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 11:38 AM

The reason for this is that if both products have their automatic (Real-Time) protection switched on, then those products which do not encrypt the virus strings within them can cause other anti virus products to cause "false alarms". It can also lead to a clash as both products fight for access to files which are opened again this is the resident/automatic protection. In general terms, the two programs may conflict and cause:
1) False Alarms: When the anti virus software tells you that your PC has a virus when it actually doesn't.
2) System Performance Problems: Your system may lock up due to both products attempting to access the same file at the same time.
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#3 Learning123

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 01:18 PM

Thank you, garmanma. I would guess the issue with false positives is usually easily identifyable, since it will be clear, when looking at which specific files are reported as suspect. Would you agree, or do you think this might cause some subtle false positives?

In general, I don't care too much about performance on computers where I would like "double"-security, but obviously if things start hanging, that would be an issue. It's good to know this might be the cause. (I had not experienced this yet, but will watch out for this in the future.)

Thanks!

#4 quietman7

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Posted 06 February 2010 - 06:55 PM

Even Anti-virus vendors recommend that you install and run only one anti-virus program at a timeUsing two software firewalls on a single computer could cause issues with connectivity to the Internet or other unexpected behavior. Further, running multiple software firewalls can cause conflicts that are hard to identify and troubleshoot. Only one of the firewalls can receive the packets over the network and process them. Sometimes you may even have a conflict that causes neither firewall to protect your connection. However, you can use a hardware firewall (a router) and a software firewall (Kerio or ZoneAlarm) in conjunction.You also may want to read Understanding and Using Firewalls.
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#5 mtr18103

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 10:06 PM

Yes, I have seen two AV programs conflict.

However, Is it safe to run AV software and also realtime protection for Spyware at the same time? It seems they have their own strengths and weaknesses and you would need both. I am not an expert, this is a question, not a statement of fact.

Regards,

#6 quietman7

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Posted 07 February 2010 - 10:19 PM

As a general rule, using more than one anti-spyware program like Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware, SuperAntispyware, Spybot S&D, Ad-Aware, etc will not conflict with each other or your anti-virus if using only one of them for real time protection and others as stand-alone scanners. In fact, doing so increases your protection coverage without causing the same kind of conflicts or affecting the stability of your system that can occur when using more than one anti-virus. The overlap of protection from using different signature databases will aid in detection and removal of more threats when scanning your system for malware. However, if using all their real-time resident shields (TeaTimer, Ad-Watch, MBAM Protection Module, Spyware Terminator Shields, etc) together at the same time, there can be conflicts when each application tries to compete for resources and exclusive rights to perform an action. Additionally, competing tools may even provide redundant alerts which can be annoying and/or confusing.

Keep in mind that you can overkill a system with resource heavy security programs that will slow down performance. Sometimes you just have to experiment to get the right combination for your particular system as there is no universal "one size fits all" solution that works for everyone.
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#7 Learning123

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 05:54 PM

Quietman, thank you for reply.

For 2 firewalls, so far I have not had any conflicts that I would worry about with both Zonealarm and McAfee HIPS- things run smoothly as far as I can tell. Could you elaborate on:

"Sometimes you may even have a conflict that causes neither firewall to protect your connection. "

Is there any examples or references to the above?

Now, going to anti-virus part of the question - how would you qualify Avira AntiVir product - it seems to be doing both anti-virus and anti-malware monitoring. So, if I run McAfee anti-virus real-time protection AND Avira, I guess I am running 2 anti-virus programs at the same time (even though I run Avira mostly for anti-malware purposes). Just like with firewalls, I see no conflicts so far. Everything seems to work fine... ?

Edited by Learning123, 21 February 2010 - 05:55 PM.





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