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Tiny Software Personal Firewall v1.0

A great ICSA certified software firewall
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Date: 2000.07.26 10:43
Author: S. McDougall
Category: Software
Manufacturer: Tiny Software
Product/Model: Personal Firewall
List Price: $29.00

ICSA Certification

ICSA's website explains very well who they are and what they do. Also, it's a great website to checkout from time to time to keep up with Internet security issues (including viruses and current hacking methods, etc.). They don't "Certify" a product unless it's really good; this in not a lightweight certification by any means.

Links to ICSA's website are at the bottom of this page. If you read up on the certification that Tiny Software received, you'll need to keep in mind that the "mothership" product "WinRoute PRO" itself was certified before the Firewall was separated to be sold as an individual program. But, the Personal Firewall is the Firewall from WinRoute PRO.

Next, I'll be reviewing the home version of WinRoute PRO which is called WinRoute Lite, followed by the full WinRoute package. The "Lite" version is comparable to software such as WinGate or Sygate or Microsoft's ICS included with Windows 98se, Windows ME, and Windows 2000. If you are using ICS (Internet Connection Sharing) now I'd suggest you do some reading on it, as it is a security nightmare untweaked (of course no configuration tool comes with it either). ICS is not a Firewall and does not include one.

If you do share your Internet connection and are interested in the personal Firewall, I'd suggest looking into buying the full version of WinRoute Lite. The cost for a 3 user license is $59, so it will cost you only $20 more to get the Firewall and Internet Sharing. Especially if you run a business (small or otherwise) it is more cost effective to centralize your Firewall on the proxy server. With any Firewall software, package you are required to purchase a separate license for each computer it is installed upon.

You should be looking at Tiny's Personal Firewall if: You share your Internet connection with ICS (to be placed on the sharing system with ICS), or if you only use the Internet on one system only. Remember, if you have cable or xDSL service you are especially at risk.

The Good

  • Part of the ICSA Certified WinRoute Pro!
  • Best Firewall performance (by far) in it's class
  • Perfect scores from every Firewall test I personally knew of - Even the mighty "Full" Secure-Me scan
  • Good control (rule creation and modification)
  • Good logging
  • Very sleek, barely any bandwidth overhead is used
  • Quick access to Firewall settings (they can be adjusted very quickly)
  • Very clean install
  • Very clean uninstall
  • Cheap: $29 aint bad at all
  • Tiny Software maintains an e-mail list to send out notifications and news

The Bad

  • No option during install to have the Firewall start automatically on system startup
  • Firewall does not run as a TSR or Service
  • No "detailed" logging or explanation of attacks
  • No ability to remove ports or port ranges from the Firewall's scrutiny
  • No remote access
  • No ad blocking
  • No advanced filtering (Java/Java script pop up windows, etc.)
  • No advanced user control/filtering (i.e. multiple Firewall accounts and parental control).
  • Web based support is confusing to locate (and lacking) for the Personal Firewall as most of it relates to the full WinRoute software. The installation however is simple enough so generally no manual is needed.

Recommendations for Tiny Software

I hear the former Taco Bell dog is out of work..... he'd make a good mascot. You could call him "Tiny" and have commercials where he ankle bites evil hackers and then steals their tacos. Or maybe he could jump through windows and chew through network cables.

Basically everything in the "Bad" section is just a feature that could be added... I'd love to see these features appear over time. Knock Knock... anyone listening? :)

Keep in mind that this is the very first version of a Firewall that was stripped out of a larger Proxy software package by popular demand. I have no doubt that it will improve and be enhanced. I'm sure many things that I consider stand alone Firewall features were part of the larger WinRoute packages.

 

McDougall: I worked at Intel for a few years, so I guess that's impressive.... Every day I regret the fact that I quit (I had to move back to my home state). Now I'm a corporate slave designing circuits for perhaps the largest baby bell phone company in America. The sick thing is my job now is really high tech data entry. I've got that nasty 1+ hour rush hour commute each way that makes life o' so fun. But, it pays good... Have you sold your soul to corporate America too? Play by the rules but don't let them break your mind....

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