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Sygate Personal Firewall Pro, from Sygate Technologies, Inc, is a powerful firewall basically designed for the advanced technical user. It has tremendous potential to successfully block intruders from hacking into your system. But this software does not have the rich feature set provided by other vendors, and is challenging for beginners. Although it has some advanced firewall features, like allowing assigning specific port rules and time restrictions, new users will find it confusing and rather difficult.

The main user interface of Sygate's Personal Firewall offers informative graphs of incoming and outgoing traffic, attack history, and a list of programs running on your PC. With a clear idea of running applications, you can stop any data transmission if required.
Sygate has advanced tools for detecting Trojan horses, and successfully combats these dangerous codes. It can also hide your operating system and browser from intruders on the Internet, and checks all DLLs to ensure that they are not actually malicious codes in disguise. But, it does not pre-configure settings for common applications.

Installation of Sygate does not take much time, but you will not be prompted along the way. It does not provide preconfigured rulesets for common applications like Internet Explorer or e-mail clients. For setting security, it gives you three choices: Block All, Allow All, and Normal. You need to give each application the OK (or not) to connect to the Internet. A right-click on the system tray icon accesses the rest of Sygate's features and tools for quick configuration. But the options are not provided in a user-friendly manner, and the interface is confusing for beginners.

The free version of Sygate Personal Firewall does not have many of the Pro version's benefits, such as intrusion-detection features, anti-IP spoofing measures, advanced configuration, VPN (Virtual Private Network) support and technical support. Custom rules are also limited in the free version. The VPN connectivity is one of the best features in Sygate, allowing VPN protocols to bypass the firewall. It also has another excellent feature, where it automatically reconfigures itself for different specific networks. This is a great help if you have multiple internet service providers.

Sygate definitely lacks the ease of use and other finesses provided by Zone Alarm, McAfee or Norton, but is liked by most advanced users, which gives it a mixed rating. It provides easy to follow alerts. The firewall blocks all attempts to enter your system for a default of 10 minutes, which can be changed from the Options menu. It uses a 'Whois' query to detect the IP address of the intruder. The program allows you to block Internet Explorer from use after office hours, restrict an application to connect to a specific IP address, and lock down application if the screensaver is run. Sygate authenticates each application with a checksum, and also authenticates each DLL, so that malicious code can not disguise itself as a common application. It cannot be terminated by malicious code, either. But it does not have any tools for blocking Java and ActiveX scripts and e-mail filtering.

Author Jamie Helmsworthdate added 2009-09-07 12:59:47

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