Two months ago, Russian PC security product developer, Agnitum, released Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5 comprising of Outpost Firewall Pro and Outpost Antivirus Pro. The new release is dubbed as ‘performance edition’ promising two to five times faster performance due to the consolidation of signature databases and three times faster web content filtering with the reworked Web Control and Firewall modules. All Outpost 7.5 products including Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5 also include Smart Decision, a non-signature malware detection engine, clipboard theft protection, extended support for the latest mobile broadband devices to protect laptops and netbooks, and a host of other improvements.
Key components of Outpost Security Suite Pro.
Anti-Malware (Antivirus + Antispyware):
- File Monitor and Scanner – scans system and files in real time or on demand.
- Mail Antivirus – scans email attachments.
- Web Antivirus – scans web pages for viruses and bad scripts.
- USB virus protection – combats or blocks USB device auto-run vulnerability.
- eXtended Heuristics Analyzer (HAX) engine – scans critical system locations.
- Inbound and outbound system and application firewall.
- Attack Detection – detects attacks from the local networks and Internet.
- IP BlockList – updatable list of blocked IPs.
Proactive Protection modules:
- Anti-Leak – prevents suspicious activity to block unknown threats and prevent data
- Application Guard – secures IDs and passwords used with most popular applications
from inappropriate access or malicious hijacking.
- System Guard – protects key system settings and program data from misuse or
- File and Folder Lock blocks access to designated files and folders.
- URL blacklist with automatically updated list of spying and malware sites.
- Ad blocking with automatically updated list of ad distribution networks.
- Customizable content filtering/parental block.
- Active Content block – restricts scripts/executable code/media elements in email
messages and on web pages.
- ID block – blocks outbound transmission of personal information.
- Anti-spam to keep inboxes clean of junk emails.
Advanced activity monitoring tools:
- Process Activity Monitor for real-time monitoring of active processes.
- File and Registry Activity Monitor for on-demand recording of system events
The Malware Scanner
Outpost Security Suite Pro’s SmartDecision employs a non-signature based malware detection engine – the eXtended Heuristic Analyzer (HAX) – that rates every executable file against a number of criteria to determine its authenticity or potential for damage. HAX has increased by a factor of more than ten the number of indicators and parameters for suspicious programs, which in turn has improved the analyzer’s coverage and detection rates over previous versions.
Outpost Security also has a new clipboard and screen content protection that resists the so-called "clipboard-loggers", which can grab personal data from the clipboard during a cut-and-paste operation and sophisticated keyloggers that can send randomly-grabbed screenshots from a user’s PC to an unauthorized recipient.
To combat malware spread via USB drives through exploitation of the Windows auto-run vulnerability, Outpost 7.5 includes specific USB protection that can be configured to provide different levels of security from completely blocking the device to freezing particular unverified executable.
Get Off My Screen!
One of the bothers of having an anti-virus and firewall running are the constant barrage of alerts and questions you have to attend to. Outpost Security Suite Pro has two features that addresses this problem.
The first is Auto-learn. While in auto-learn mode, the firewall of Outpost Security Suite Pro automatically allows all programs full access to the network. It monitors how different application access the network, memorizes their identities and creates allowing rules for all the requested connections. The idea is to reduce the number of rules wizard prompts by enabling the user to train the firewall without reviewing each connection.
However, auto-learn is a dangerous mode as all programs get a free pass through the firewall, including pre-existing malicious programs. Even when the firewall switches back to normal monitoring, the malicious programs will continue to have unhindered access to the network. I feel it’s better to spend some time initially configuring the firewall than run it with doors open.
Outpost Security Suite Pro also has a so called ‘Entertainment mode’, again aimed to reduce prompts. When you start a full screen application, Outpost Security Suite Pro detects it and suggests the user to switch to Entertainment mode. During Entertainment mode no alerts and messages are displayed, updates are not checked for, and scheduled scans are not performed. The Entertainment mode is useful when playing games or watching movies when you don’t want to be bothered by prompts and alerts.
Regarding malware cleaning abilities, Agnitum proudly displays the VB100 award label. But over the years, I have learned not to believe anything from Virus Bulletin. Have you ever seen an anti-virus product that has not received a VB100 award? If you want genuine, unbiased and possibly unrigged results, look for information at ICSA Labs, AV-Test.org, and AV-Comparatives.org but none of these had tested Outpost Security Suite Pro. I don’t have the resources to test it either. So I will publish a summary of what PCMag found.
As you can see, Outpost Security Suite Pro does a good job at blocking malware, but when removing malware is concerned, it leaves a lot to be desired.
A one-year license of Outpost Security Suite Pro 7.5 is priced at $29.95, and we have 10 such licenses to be given away. Those who are interested in entering the sweepstake may leave their name and email ID in the form below. Winners will be selected by a random draw. The contest closes on August 30, 2011.