Creative Commons

2007-05-15 21:37:24

Review of Blink Personal Edition

I've been playing around with Blink for a little bit now and would like to share some of the things that have been running through my head. If you'd like to skip straight to the pictures of Blink, go to the bottom of this post.
The first thing to point out is the overall design of the program. This program was definitely made to cater to Windows users. The home screen looks just like the XP control panel, so it is very easy to figure out where you want to go. From the home screen, you have 10 main categories: System Firewall, Application Firewall, Intrusion Prevention, Identity Theft Protection, Anti-Malware, System Protection, Vulnerability Assessment, Trusted and Banned IPs, Event Logs, and Options and Settings.
Already you can see how feature-rich Blink is. There are two types of firewalls integrated into Blink, a system firewall and an application firewall. The former works just like iptables, the normal source:port/destination:port rules. The latter, however, works at the application layer. You can grant Firefox the ability to initiate connections to all IPs and you can prohibit msiexec from initiating connections with anything at all. You're probably wondering why I would use that last example. Well, after I installed Blink I noticed that I had some Windows Updates that needed to be installed. I kicked off the process and immediately was presented with a dialog from Blink asking to let msiexec connect to some IP. This really, really bothers me. The updates are already downloaded to my system; there is absolutely no reason for them to phone home when I'm installing them. So, msiexec can no longer talk to the internet. That might cause problems in the future, but it's an easy fix.
The intrusion prevention feature is my favorite. Why, you ask? Well, it captures the interesting traffic. That's right. I have "tcpdumps" automatically saved of any traffic that Blink thinks is harmful. For the normal user, you probably don't even know what I'm talking about, and you don't have to. All you need to know is that Blink will protect you. But for the people who do know what I'm talking about, you can scan these "tcpdumps" to find out who's attacking you and how. Interesting!
The best part of all is that the Personal Edition comes with default settings that are nearly perfect for everyone. If there's something going on that Blink thinks is malicious, you get a dialog asking you what to do. You have the option to block or allow and also the option to make this rule permanent. If you don't know why this dialog popped up, just do a temporary block. If you get the same notice again, look into it further. The point is, out of the box this is the best security suite a home user can buy. But even that's not entirely true. That's because Blink is free for the first year and only $24.95 a year after that.
Let's think about this though. Symantec of McAfee AV products cost about that much or more. With those, you're only getting anti-virus and possibly anti-malware. With Blink, you have one product, from one of the most trusted security firms in the world, that gives you 8 layers of protection. What about the footprint? My answer to you, "what footprint?" Blink's memory and hard drive footprints are many times smaller than Symantec's or McAfee's products.
So let's summarize... Greater protection, easier to use, less taxing on your system. Why wouldn't you use it?


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