Internet protection programs…friend or foe?

Following on from my recent post about everyone’s computer behaving differently, many thanks to Richard for this question…

Hi Kenny,
Just thought it would be worth passing on the comment my internet protection made when I attempted to follow the link in an email I got from you. It said that it ‘has found evidence of harmful behaviour on this web site. To the best of our knowledge, it is not safe to visit this web site’.

Hi Richard

If you have a firewall installed on your PC which has been set at an unusually high and over-sensitive thresh hold, it will block you out from viewing websites which require your browser to accept third party cookies (even though cookies are harmless).

So there’s no problem with the website…it’s just that your PC’s firewall is set extremely high and blocking you from viewing it, that’s all.

The only way for you to view this particular website is to add it to your “allowed” websites in your firewall program.

But if you don’t trust the website and don’t want to view it then just leave everything as it is and your PC will continue to block you from viewing it.

You’ll probably find that this won’t be an isolated incident – you can fully expect your PC to give you a similar warning before viewing other websites too because cookies are very common on ecommerce type websites so many websites use cookies (which your firewall setting are set to block).

Obviously the whole point of you using a firewall is to give you protection against malware, viruses and bad websites out there (we have antivirus and firewalls installed on all of our computers – I’m a great believer in protecting your PC) so you don’t want to just ignore it’s advice when it warns you about when not to visit a website.

But just remember that no security suite is ever 100% accurate.

It will get it wrong a lot of the time and will pass you through to unsafe sites while at the same time blocking you from safe sites.

It’s just the nature of the beast I’m afraid and everyone who uses a firewall (and everyone should) all have to live with this same dilemma of whether the firewall has got it right or not!