Unwanted upgrades- Who needs them?

I’m annoyed, well thoroughly disenchanted, actually. I switched on this morning and checked for updates as usual, and hey presto, I got an unwanted full upgrade to a version of COMODO Internet Security that I neither wanted nor asked for.

Now when I check my current cut of Visual Studio for updates Microsoft don’t simply give me a whole new product, they actually give me what I asked for, the latest updates for my existing product, which is very kind of them. (In my book VS is the only Microsoft product other than Windows 7 Ultimate that is actually fit for purpose.)

If, as Melih is constantly telling us, the Internet is a means of communication, then why does his company insist on making that conversation one way? If I wanted to upgrade to V7 then I’m actually quite capable of pushing the appropriate buttons for myself, thank you very much. After all, I am descended from a long and distinguished lineage of proud apes.

To add to my woes, having spent six months tossing up between Private Firewall and Comodo and eventually come down in favour of the latter, now I could no longer return to Version 5.12, with which I was both comfortable and safe. I tried going back to my 5.12 installation, but no way; I had to uninstall V7 and start all over again, which meant endless trouble resetting some hard learned rules, rather a lot of them, in fact.

Why the hell not copy MS and use Install Shield, then we could simply revert to a previous generation. Or did you decide to be clever and change the data structures across versions so that backwards compatibility wasn’t going to be an issue any longer; abolition is better than compromise, eh? Wake up guys, not everyone will always love your latest ideas; if the Internet is all about freedom, then surely freedom to choose should be at, or near, the top of your list?

Anyway, despite all that I’m still here, because it’s the best HIPS firewall on the market, and that’s the way to go. It’s also the one which demands least of my system resources, though that’s not an issue when you’re running a pair of Prescott extremes on an old Gigabyte server board. (Interestingly enough, that combination outperforms most quad core processors, and I can switch off the central heating, too!)

But the point of the post is rather more serious. I’m not interested in always running the latest software, unless it’s demonstrably necessary to do so. What does interest me is reliability and continuity; as a software developer that’s what my clients require of me, and that’s what they pay for. Now COMODO is free for my personal home network, which I do appreciate, and I’d just about got my head around 5.12, so why make me think that you’re not up to the job?

Simply put, is it safe to run CIS 5.12 still? I treat CAV with a pinch of salt these days (see below), but DEFENSE and FIREWALL are superb products, and have yet to fail me. Unless you’ve radically redesigned, or re-thought, the HIPS component, then there SEEMS to be no visible reason for me to move forwards.

So, is it?

As for CAV, well, my auntie Ethel could do better using an abacus. It kept wanting to run a full scan, so in the end I let it explore the eight disks on my system (4x150Gb WD Raptors and 4x1Tb WD Caviars) and waited patiently for thirteen hours! After scanning over 3.9 million files and god knows how many more objects (8 digits worth) it produced the following results;

A). It completely ignored the four viruses marooned in an old AVG virus vault.

B). One of my old MASM 6.14 link libraries for statistical routines was flagged as a trojan!

C). Two help files in my ancient Visual Studio 6 installation archive were also flagged as trojans

D). A JPG of Nadia Marouzi was also flagged as suspicious; she’s not, guys, she’s just plain gorgeous! ( Cover Girl, Greek Playback Jun 1990, I think)

But anti-virus isn’t really a big problem; with a decent firewall and HIPS you really shouldn’t get caught out, if you respond correctly to every warning the jolly green giant gives you. The problem is more one of formulating rules that actually work as you intend they should, and that’s a different story altogether.

As I said above, I’m still here, both because I like a challenge, and it’s marginally better (certainly easier to use) than Private firewall. But if I have to use V7 then maybe that will change, because I didn’t like the look or feel of it. So tell me it’s safe to carry on with 5.12, please?