PROS / Outpost Pro Firewall Performance Edition is rated highly by Virus Bulletin VB100 and the Matousec test lab.
CONS / Technical support chat is less than 24/7.
VERDICT / Outpost is certified by third-party test labs and respected within the security-software vendor community.
Outpost Pro Firewall Performance Edition from Agnitum Ltd. (St. Petersburg, Russia) is an alternative to the Windows firewall. More than firewall software, Outpost Firewall Pro includes an antispyware module, since a standalone firewall is not a complete security solution. However, Agnitum's Firewall Pro does not pretend to be a complete security suite, since it lacks antivirus and antispam components. The security-software vendor community respects Agnitum’s firewall technology sufficiently to license and rebrand it. For example, AVG Technologies, Lavasoft and Sophos market security products that contain Agnitum’s firewall-engine technology. Agnitum is praiseworthy for maintaining a transparent record online of the improvements and changes in each new software build. It wins the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award for personal firewall software.
This personal firewall software detects inbound and outbound threats to the system and applications. It detects attacks from local networks and the internet. It maintains an updatable list of blocked IP addresses. A Web Control feature ensures secure web surfing that restricts dangerous websites and malicious pages. Users can fine tune Web Control by manually blocking URLs according to keywords. Users can automatically or manually block ads. And it is possible to create blacklists for malicious URLs and IP ranges either manually or automatically. The product also provides the ability to manually block ID leaks.
Agnitum’s cloud-based ImproveNet collects anonymous data with prior user consent to expand on Outpost’s threat database in order to deploy more automatic rules. The Outpost firewall is able to pass difficult leak tests and it gives up nothing to spies who employ keyloggers and packet sniffers. Furthermore, Outpost Pro Firewall defends itself against attacks specifically designed to disable Outpost Pro Firewall.
Rather than sending a “port unreachable” notice to connection requests for unused ports, the Outpost firewall maintains stealth by simply ignoring data packets sent to the unused port. Other useful security features abound. For example, it is possible to secure the program settings behind a password to prevent tampering by precocious children or anyone with impure motives. The program is aware of its position in a local area network and can adjust itself to protect from wireless networks or any data intrusion attempts initiated from the local network behind the firewall.
This personal firewall software extends protection to filter traffic from mobile broadband devices such as 3G modems. It also scans for any threats attempting to infiltrate via PDF files.
Additional Security Features
A key competitive differentiator is this personal firewall software's ability to protect specific files and folders. And it goes beyond that. A feature called Proactive Protection secures logins, passwords, browser histories and e-wallets.
Consistent with the careful thinking that went into the user interface, it is possible to load the program in a background mode so that parents and system administrators can block content or traffic according to rules that users cannot see. When the firewall is in background mode, games and other applications that require full-screen mode can run without interference from firewall alerts. If the firewall is not in background mode and the user wants to enjoy a full-screen application, a selectable entertainment mode continues background protection without interrupting the full-screen application with alerts.
This personal firewall software combats spyware that attempts to gain access via USB storage devices.
After installation, a configuration wizard takes over and creates a fresh configuration, or it imports configuration settings if the user is installing a current version of Outpost Pro Firewall over a previous version. The configuration wizard prompts for normal or advanced settings. One configuration option is to automatically train the firewall during one week to create necessary rules. User interface and controls appear in a clear and useful layout. A toolbar provides shortcuts to product functions. An information panel provides simple or expert views. The firewall updates itself hourly so that it is easy to maintain the latest version and the latest database of known threat signatures.
If your PC finds an unknown application, Outpost prompts you to respond with SmartDecision and guides you toward allowing or blocking the application with color-coded visual clues about how to proceed. SmartDecision is part of the product's built-in personal virus adviser technology.
This personal firewall software product supports simple and expert modes. And it has a self-learning feature, Auto-Learn, which is a mode that remembers user behavior in order to make decisions on its own.
Help and Support
Online resources consist of a blog, user forum and knowledge base. Complete documentation sets are easy to locate on Agnitum’s website. Support is available either by email or chat (7am to 4pm GMT). The website provides tabs that allow viewers to read the site in English, German, French, Hungarian, Polish and Russian.
Outpost Pro Firewall Performance Edition is a good firewall with an antispyware module that defends against keyloggers and spyware. The program is easy to install and configure and it suppresses alerts when the user is in game mode. It filters web pages so quickly that there is no obvious slowdown. It also filters spyware sites quickly. The community of security-software vendors respects the Outpost firewall sufficiently to license and rebrand it, which is high praise, indeed.