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Review: SteelSecurity

by Nick Haywood on 23 November 2006, 11:59

Tags: SteelSeries, SteelSeries, PC

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qahef

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It does it all, but cleverly

So yeah, an all in one AV and firewall package sounds like a bit of a ‘me too’ product and any gamer worth his AWP will already have software to cover this. Or so you’d think. I have some form of AV installed on all my machines, but seeing as everything sits behind a router, I don’t run any firewalls on any of the five machines here. Now before you all go off berating me for being so careless, let me just add that I’ve checked my security with the superb Shields Up utility from www.grc.com and I’m happy.

Now the issue with firewalls and Anti-virus programmes is not so much what they don’t block as they’re all pretty good, for a gamer it’s what they do block that can be the problem. Take ZoneAlarm for example. I stopped using it as it kept blocking all the ports I wanted if I was going to host a game of Pacific Fighters. And Norton, as much as I like it, is a bugger for popping up with a scheduled system scan right in the middle of a game. And this is probably the biggest pain for gamers with any sort of AV or firewall; configuring the damn things so they don’t stop you enjoying your games.

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AVG is a great example of a decent AV program that can be stupidly annoying with its updates. It’ll quite happily drop you out of F.E.A.R. to tell you it’s just updated itself… and with AVG’s regular updates, this can be supremely annoying. I mean, why tell me you’ve updated? That’s all well and good but isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? You’re as bad as that bloody Norton for telling me how cool it is for blocking an intrusion attempt! What do you want, a medal? How about I mail the coders every time I breathe in and out? Stop telling me stuff I don’t want to know!

Phew. Sorry, got a bit irate there. But I hope you can see how stupendously annoying protecting your PC can be. Of course, you might be one of these uber-computer types who are running a separate Linux based box to handle all the firewall and AV, but there’s just one fatal flaw in that… what do you do when you go to a LAN? Gonna take two boxes with you? Thought not.

So this is where SteelSecurity comes in. Not only does it offer industry standard levels of antivirus and firewalling, it also manages these so they have the minimum impact on your gaming… so minimum that you’ll wonder if it’s doing anything at all… which, as downbeat as it sounds, is exactly what you want. You want your AV and firewall to just get on with it. And that’s what SteelSecurity does.