Product Reviews

Biodata SPHINX 1.0

Biodata’s SPHINX 1.0 personal firewall is obviously targeted toward the individual user, not the corporate network user. SPHINX lacks any kind of networking infrastructure capabilities such as NAT, DHCP, and VPN support, and instead mostly focuses on server-based IP stack protection.

I found product installation smooth, with the resulting footprint relatively small (4.75M). When I went to use SPHINX, the first thing that struck me was the freakish user interface that reminded me of the Bangles’ music video, “Walk Like An Egyptian.” Then, just when I was getting used to SPHINX, it laid a riddle on me: This Application Has Stopped Responding. Needless to say, I knew the answer: End Now. The product failed on me several times after that, and I would suggest that anyone considering SPHINX thoroughly test it first.

Biodata SPHINX 1.0

Biodata’s SPHINX takes a wizard-like approach to configuration. Does anyone else see the word “parametrisation”?

Another gripe I have with SPHINX is that its configuration options, though powerful, are quite complex in operation. There’s no context-sensitive help to guide users to the proper settings and the interface uses headings such as “Parametrisation” and “Warning Politic” that can stymie even those with high verbal SAT scores. If Biodata targets SPHINX toward the expert market or simplifies it for the general user, the product shows some real promise. But at present, SPHINX needs to undergo a few more builds before I can give it a solid recommendation.

About the Author

Chip Andrews, MCSE+I, MCDBA is a software security architect at (Clarus Corp.). Chip maintains the (sqlsecurity.com) Web site and speaks at security conferences on SQL Server security issues.

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