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Comodo Offers a Very Nice Collection of Free Security Goodies

Free security software from the Comodo Group may provide benefits to you and your clients.

Joel P. Bruckenstein, 07/13/2006

High quality security software for you and your clients should soon be available free of charge from the Comodo Group. According to their website, the Comodo Group is the second largest certification authority for ensuring identity trust and assurance on the web, but you've probably never heard of them. Comodo CEO and President Melih Abdulhayoglu wants to change that. He has a plan to increase consumer awareness of his brand, and it entails giving away free security software. "If consumers use our free personal security products, it will create trust and goodwill. Then, if they visit commercial websites protected by Comodo, they will associate the same trust and goodwill with those sites." 

Only time will tell how successful this branding initiative is, but consumers can already benefit from Comodo's efforts. Here's an overview of what they are offering.

Comodo Personal Firewall 2.0
If your computer is connected to the Internet, it should have an up to date software firewall installed; period. No exceptions! A firewall protects your computer from hackers, who may try to access and control your computer over the Internet through the manipulation of viruses, worms, Trojan horses, etc.

I'm assuming that most readers have good third party software firewalls at their place of business paid for by your employer, but what about the home computer, the kids computers, and your clients' computers? Are they good and are they up to date? My guess is that in many cases the answer is "no".

Windows SP2 comes with a software firewall that is turned on by default; however some manufacturers turn it off. Instead, they offer a 30-60 day trial of some third party program. When the trial runs out, those users may not be protected unless they choose to enable the Windows firewall. Consumers who are running an older version of Windows (anything older than Windows XP SP2) do not have any firewall protection by default. Those using earlier versions of Windows XP have the Internet Firewall Connection (ICF) built in, but they must turn it on. Others will have to install a third party product.

While the Windows XP firewall is clearly better than nothing, it leaves a lot to be desired. The main problem with the Windows firewall is that it only can block inbound traffic, not outbound traffic. Let's say that somehow, something malicious gets into your computer that lets a hacker access your personal data. If all you have is an inbound firewall, your data can flow out without even being noticed. Or, let's say that a virus attacks your email program. Some viruses can access your address book, and use your computer to send a virus to everyone in your address book. With inbound only protection, there is nothing to prevent this; an outbound firewall provides you with a second line of defense to prevent such an event.

The Comodo Personal Firewall 2.0 is a very capable, free alternative. The Comodo firewall includes many features you only expect to find in some of the higher end retail products. These include port stealthing, inbound and outbound protection, automatic updates, integration with the Windows Security Center, error reporting and firewall logging.

Some security software can be disabled by an attack. Comodo includes protection against this. Like many popular firewalls, it includes good pop ups that alert you to any Internet activity. Unlike some competitors, it does a good job of explaining what application is trying to access the Internet, and it does a good job of flagging many safe and unsafe behaviors (it comes with a database of over 10,000 applications and ratings of their safety). If the system flags an application you know to be safe, you can easily instruct the software to allow the program access in the future. You can also manually enter rules, from simple ones to very complex ones.

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