Uninformed: Informative Information for the Uninformed

Vol 4» 2006.Jun


In today's computing environment, computer security is becoming a more and more important role. The Internet poses unique dangers to networked computers, as threats such as viruses, worms, and other malicious software become more and more common.

As a result, there has been a shift towards including personal security software on most new computers sold today, such as firewall software and anti-virus software. Many new computers are operated and administered by individuals who are not experienced with the administration of a secure system. As such, they rely solely on the protection provided by a firewall or anti-virus security suite.

Given this, one would expect that firewall, anti-virus, and other personal security software would be high quality - after all, for many individuals, firewall and anti-virus software are the first (and all-too-often only) line of defense.

Unfortunately, though, most common anti-virus and personal firewall software products are full of defects that can at best make it very difficult to interoperate with (which turns out to be a serious problem for most software vendors, given how common anti-virus and firewall software is) and, at worst, compromise the very system security they advertise to protect.

This article discusses two personal security software packages that suffer from problems that are difficult to interoperate with the software and, in some cases, compromise system security. These issues are all due to shortcuts and unsafe assumptions made by the original developers.

  1. Kaspersky Internet Security Suite 5.0
  2. McAfee Internet Security Suite 2006

Both of these software packages include several personal security programs, including firewall and anti-virus software.