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More Protection Than You Want

CheckIt Firewall locks down your computer so well that no traffic flows in or out!

I have to admit that when I install software on a computer I usually worry if it's going to mess things up in some way. Even though the product I needed to install for this review is a firewall product that's supposed to help protect my computer, the same trepidation still existed. Well, it had to be done and so off I went.

CheckIt Firewall is a personal firewall product and should not be confused with CheckPoint Firewall (an enterprise-level solution). The product is designed to protect your Windows-based computer (XP support is-apparently-available in a downloadable update) from hackers, Trojans and other nasties. It does this by monitoring all IP traffic to and from your computer and only allows applications that you have authorized to communicate. This is similar functionality to other products in this marketplace.

Putting the CD in the CD-ROM drive launches the Autorun menu with three options: Install CheckIt Firewall, View Documentation, and (my favorite and the default choice) Check System Vulnerability. The last option takes you to http://scan.checkit.com, where you can perform tests on your computer (and decide if you want to purchase the product). You can scan for common vulnerabilities, Trojans, test to see if your system responds to pings and determine if video conferencing ports are open (NetMeeting uses them and this could allow someone to take control of your computer). You should go to the site anyway to see if your external IP address is secure (but don't take this is a guarantee that you're safe).

Installing CheckIt Firewall on my Windows 2000 Professional computer was perhaps the wrong thing to do. The InstallShield process is like most others that I have seen, and the fact that I was prompted to re-start my computer, though a bit surprising, was not entirely unexpected. However, the fact that the computer would not shut down nor could I log off was a bit of a problem. I closed all applications (after killing a few in Task Manager) and then hit the reset button.

The restart was only the beginning of the real problems to follow. Win2K Pro prompted me to log in and I entered the correct username and password….and waited….and waited. Thinking the machine was hung, I hit the reset button. On the reboot, same thing-so I let it go. I was presented with my desktop 20 minutes later and prompted by CheckIt Firewall to update the software-OK, let's do it. CheckIt Firewall prompts me whether I want to allow the traffic to the Smith Micro Web site-good; it's doing its job. It asks about several more application as well and I respond that it is OK and to never ask me again (at least that feature works).

Once I got to the Smith Micro Web site, I entered the serial number and registration code provided to me only to be told that both were invalid. Maybe I mistyped-nope, same thing every time. OK, let's check out the support site for know issues-nothing except how to enter a serial number and get an updated copy that works with XP. In fact, the knowledgebase on the Smith Micro site has no support issues at all for CheckIt Firewall except the XP update. Is anybody using this product? Well, I certainly won't be-time to remove it. That didn't work either. REGEDIT to the rescue!

About the Author

Damir Bersinic, MCSE, MCDBA, MCSA, MCT, is an independent consultant, trainer and author.

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