Giving Blink a try.

Eeye

Blink Personal, might be the only security software to add to a PC. Here is a list of features from eEye.com.

  • Blocks and removes viruses, spyware, worms, trojans, and other malicious programs
  • Protection from unknown zero-day attacks
  • Protects against Identity Theft and Phishing attempts
  • System and Application firewalls protect against hackers and unauthorized system changes
  • Intrusion prevention and system protection prevent remote attacks and unauthorized program execution
  • Detection of missing operating system and application patches
  • Detection of weak configurations that leave personal information at risk of being compromised

Another awesome feature is that a another version of eEye’s flagship software is with this product. A personal version of Retina scanner allows for doing vulnerability scans on your own computer, and it only takes a few minutes. Not only does it check for typical Micrsoft vulnerabilities, but other software as well. I was reminded to update my Quick Time and iTunes because they contained critical vulnerabilities.

I was also surprised that it stated there were some critical problems with Word. It said there are no fixes for these particular problems yet, just to be careful what documents you open. At my former job some of the overseas posts where compromised to zero day exploits in Word. So reading this brought back memories of having to change every single password on a network of over 50,000 users.

Anyway, here are some of the negatives to Blink.

  1. It is only free for the first year, but I think I’ll be paying the $29.00 for it next year.
  2. It will report incidents back to the mother ship. This is to allow eEye to make a better product, prevent false positives, etc.
  3. It wants you to uninstall previous security type programs such as anti-virus, personal firewalls, etc. I was already going to uninstall my anti-virus but was looking for a good substitute. Some of the legitimate security tools I use Symantec wants to eat, and I can’t find a good way to stop the program from doing that.
  4. Like many outbound firewalls, it can annoying to get them trained properly. It already understands common Internet software such as Firefox and IE, but it did not like my news reader or Groupwise client, but all seems to be calm now.

I’m going to give Blink a try to see how it behaves. It looks very promising as a different, yet thorough, way of protecting one’s PC.

Update, 18May2007: Blink can be a pain for those that use not-that-popular Internet software. It will take a while to train, and it did eat some of my legitimate-software-that-can-be-used-for-nefarious-purposes, but at least it was easy to tell it to spit it back out and don’t eat it again.

Update, 15June2007:  Blink is now off most of the time.  If eEye would streamline some usability options then this would be a great product.  I rebooted my laptop where I didn’t have any Internet connectivity, and it took over 5 minutes just to shut down Blink.  Skype and LogMeIn couldn’t connect to servers, obviously, so they kept trying multiple servers and multiple ports.  Blink was extremely offended by this behavior and kept asking “Are you sure?” every time Skype or LogMeIn tried something else.

When the “Are you sure?” prompt was up I couldn’t disable Blink via the icon in the tray because this is how the software was designed.  I tried stopping the service but kept getting “access denied”.  So, I had to set up rules in Blink to allow Skype and LogMeIn to be able to talk to any IP on any port before I could stop Blink.  There should be another way to quench a security product’s desire to do good without making one’s computer wide open to external servers.  And it wasn’t just Skype and LogMeIn, there were other things running such as Quicktime, Groupwise and ClamWin that were trying in vain to phone home.

Then again, without Blink, or similar, running then those applications could talk to whomever they’d like.  I do basically trust Groupwise, etc., but I’d like to know when some unknown program tries to open a connection.  Sooo, if there was a better way to simply state that Program X can be trusted (like the behavior of older ZoneAlarm), then Blink would be a more pleasant program.

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