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Firewalls

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McAfee Firewall 3.0 by McAfee Software

Software Details

Brand: McAfee SoftwareMedia: CD-ROMHardware Platform: UnixOperating System: Unix
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Description

A firewall is a program designed to protect Internet-connected PCs from hacker attacks, and users of vulnerable PCs should invest in a good one. By a good one, we don't mean McAfee Firewall 3.0. There's a fine security program somewhere in this package, but it's buried deep beneath this utility's technical issues, a horrific tech support conundrum, and the embarrassing and wholly unprofessional errors in its documentation.

We tested McAfee Firewall in two configurations. The first consisted of a single Windows 98 SE computer connected directly to a cable modem. For the other, we installed McAfee Firewall on a Windows Me PC that served as an Internet-sharing gateway for a network of five computers, enabling them to access the Internet via a single cable modem connection.

The former installation went well. McAfee Firewall 3.0 installed uneventfully, detected the Internet connection, and prompted us to configure it to allow filtered Internet access to various programs. The latter, a more sophisticated setting, utterly baffled McAfee Firewall. It generated errors immediately when first activated and permanently blocked Internet access for the entire network.

Network Associates' technical support line urged us to visit a free Web site. Since our Internet connection was broken, we checked out the phone support options. They were available--via a 900 number with a $2.95 per minute charge. We can understand the need for Network Associates (and, in all fairness, its competitors) to charge for support time, but in a case where the Web site is inaccessible due to a company's own product, the company should provide an alternative.

We used our press credentials to get some answers, and Network Associates assured us that the errors we encountered were very rare. However, the representative couldn't appease our concerns with the tech support catch-22, nor could she assure us of a timely solution to another problem: parts of both the online and physical documentation were bewilderingly cobbled from earlier versions of McAfee Firewall, which had a different interface from Firewall 3.0. The docs refer to menus and dialogs that don't exist in this version, making them effectively useless. That's unforgivable in the case of such a complex, dynamically configurable product.

When it works, McAfee Firewall 3.0 is a secure shield between your PC and the Net at large. It passed the most stringent security tests at Steve Gibson's Web site (www.grc.com) without a hiccup. Getting to that point wasn't worth the hassle, though; until Network Associates irons out the kinks, we strongly suggest using a superior, proven firewall such as Norton Firewall or Zone Labs ZoneAlarm. --Joel Durham, Jr.

Platforms

Windows NT, Mac, Linux, Unix, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows 95

More Details

Publisher: Network AssociatesCategory: FirewallsBinding: CD-ROM


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