Probably best known as a firewall author, Agnitum has revamped its security bundle, Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008 - with mixed results.

Still heavily focused on the firewall, Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008 includes antimalware, antispam, host, rootkit, web and transaction protection.

Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008 is available in single-user and five user versions.

The most obvious change is the user interface (UI). No longer is there a distinction between internet and 'plug-ins', and this list is replaced by the security modules available. You expand each item in Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008's left pane and status details are revealed on the right.

The firewall remains as good as ever, on a par with Zone Alarm. Similarly, Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008's combined antivirus (based on the VirusBuster engine) and antispyware module returns good scores and has won recent certification from the likes of VB100 and ICSA Labs. So no complaints there.

Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008 isn't as 'smart' as its rivals and can swamp you with pop-up alerts. Although it has a 'learn' mode for its firewall and antispam, it still requires a relatively high degree of user intervention compared to the likes of Norton 360 which takes intelligent decisions on fairly arcane matters on behalf of the user.

You can tell the Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008 firewall to learn your behaviour over a week and automatically create rules but this rather dangerously presumes your PC isn't already infected with, say, a Trojan.

You can also use switch on SmartScan to scan files really quickly although this uses the same tricks employed by rootkits and so can trigger a false alert.

NEXT PAGE: parental controls? And dealing with spam > >

Visit Security Advisor for the latest internet threat news, and internet security product reviews

Probably best known as a firewall author, Agnitum has revamped its security bundle, Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008 - with mixed results.

Unlike its main rivals, Outpost Pro lacks true parental controls, and a specific analysis of wireless networks that can test for an encrypted connection. Without doubt its weakest element is the spam filter. Like many others, it’s based on a Bayesian filter that learns to identify spam, and this involves you manually marking spam emails.

You can make Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008 analyse a collection of spam emails, which is what we did, but then it treated an email we sent ourselves as spam. Even when we specifically marked it as ‘not spam', another self-addressed email we sent ended up in the spam folder. It works only with Microsoft mail clients, too.

A turn-off for some may be the way Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008 presents its status results – at times it resembles a spreadsheet of numbers. While this may suit techies, the average domestic user’s eyes will simply glaze over when confronted with so much data.

Visit Security Advisor for the latest internet threat news, and internet security product reviews

Agnitum Outpost Pro Security Suite 2008: Specs

  • 450MHz or higher processor
  • 256MB of RAM minimum
  • 100MB of free hard disk space
  • 32-bit & 64-bit Windows Vista/XP/Server 2003
  • Windows 2000 SP3
  • Outlook/Outlook Express
  • Windows Mail
  • POP/SMTP/IMAP
  • 450MHz or higher processor
  • 256MB of RAM minimum
  • 100MB of free hard disk space
  • 32-bit & 64-bit Windows Vista/XP/Server 2003
  • Windows 2000 SP3
  • Outlook/Outlook Express
  • Windows Mail
  • POP/SMTP/IMAP

OUR VERDICT

The proverbial curate’s egg, Agnitum Outpost Security Suite 2008 remains essentially a top-notch firewall - its best feature - with some added security features, some good, some not so good. For the non-techie user, Norton 360 remains the security suite of choice, albeit at a higher price.

Find the best price