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BlackICE PC Protection 3.6, from Internet Security Systems, prevents intruders from accessing your computer, but it lacks the features required for protecting your computer against Trojans, adware, spyware, and other internet threats. This personal firewall suite is almost as old as ZoneAlarm, but unfortunately comes with the same 1990's interface and technical jargon, which makes its powerful configuration features rather incoherent for the common user. Its ability to block or trust an application from accessing your machine is unique, and it allows you to block for an hour, a day, a month or forever. Its powerful filtering features allow you to specify the exact type and duration for each rule you create for a specific port on your computer. The application control performs a baseline scan for all Internet-enabled applications on your system, and you can also configure the system in such a way that a certain kind of message could be blocked from entering or leaving a specific location of your computer.

As a firewall, it is strong enough, and you can configure it to provide more powerful defense, but these configurations cannot be easily understood by non-technical users and the interface makes the job even tougher - a single wrong click can end up in disaster. You can record your computer's interaction, but to read these records to track data you will need the trace file decoding software.

The BlackICE control panel is not simple, and is in dire need of an update. There are three tabs in the main screen - Events, Intruders and History. The History screen lists past events and network traffic with graphs showing activity. The Events tab and Intruder tab functionalities are intermingled, which makes it difficult to follow.

Installation of BlackICE PC Protection's takes more time than with other firewall products. You need to decide whether to install the firewall with the AP (Application Protection) on or off. Installing with application protection off is simple and takes less time but installing with AP, which is recommended, takes an extra 10 to 20 minutes.

Author Jamie Helmsworthdate added 2009-09-07 12:55:42

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