Merging Emsisoft Internet Security with Emsisoft Anti-Malware

Merging Emsisoft Internet Security with Emsisoft Anti-Malware

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Starting 1 October 2017, Emsisoft Internet Security will be merged with Emsisoft Anti-Malware. While this may come as a bit of a surprise, there are many factors that have prompted this decision, and I would like to use this as an opportunity to share our reasoning:

A common base

Technically, both products have shared the same code base and even the same file feeds for online updates for the last couple of years. From a branding perspective, Emsisoft Internet Security has kind of been framed as an extended feature set edition of Emsisoft Anti-Malware. The only difference between the two products is Emsisoft Internet Security’s built-in firewall component, which is responsible for its slightly higher price tag. While Emsisoft Internet Security was definitely a valuable product in years gone by, we believe that whatever protective advantages desktop firewalls once had over Windows Firewall are now minimal, if not negligible.

The job of firewalls

The main purpose of a desktop firewall is to shield your computer from attacks from the Internet. It does so by interrupting network communications initiated by foreign computers when they attempt to connect to a program that listens for input on your computer.

However, there are two things to consider here:

  1. Most attack attempts from the outside are made impossible by the use of NAT routers (which includes just about every modern DSL modem), as they separate your inside network (LAN) from the Internet.
  2. The built-in Firewall in Windows 7, 8 and 10 already does a pretty good job of blocking connection attempts from potentially dangerous computers that reside in the same network (e.g. in public WiFi) or on the Internet.

Malware and firewalls

We see our main job as protecting your computer from malware – and today’s malware is generally quite unimpressed by firewalls. Connection attempts from the outside in are blocked by the Windows Firewall by default, and connections from the inside out are prevented by Emsisoft’s multi-layer real time protection, and the Behavior Blocker in particular.

Emsisoft Firewall vs Windows Firewall

When Microsoft introduced the Windows Firewall in a late Windows XP Service Pack update, it was a bit of an embarrassing performance and the software could not be taken too seriously, which led us to build a stronger alternative. But with the release of Windows 7, the Windows Firewall started to do its job much more effectively, and the latest Windows 10 version pretty much does everything you could expect from a desktop firewall. Its only architectural flaw is that its settings (and firewall rules) can be freely edited by anyone or anything that attains the required permission level. In other words, if malware manages to run on the PC, it’s able to allow itself to get through the firewall. That was one of the main reasons for us to maintain our own firewall component.

A better approach: Fortifying the Windows Firewall

Emsisoft Internet Security has always been highly configurable. While some of our more technically minded users might have appreciated the freedom to tweak settings to their heart’s content, it has to be said the majority of our customers are (understandably!) not familiar with the technical intricacies of firewalls and were not always confident when using the software. This was problematic given the fact that a wrong configuration can potentially cause a lot of damage when it comes to malware protection. So, in the interests of protecting our customers, we thought it would be most beneficial if, moving forward, we simply rely on the Windows Firewall and use our software to cover its blind spot and ensure its settings can’t be manipulated by malware from the inside.

How are we going to do that?

Well, one of Emsisoft’s key strengths is creating Behavior Blocking technology that works. It allows us to detect and intercept malicious actions from active programs in real time before they can cause any damage. This technology now allows us to define behavior patterns that indicate illegitimate manipulations of Windows Firewall rules. We make sure Windows Firewall is as safe to use as our own firewall, so we can remove the redundancy of building and maintaining our own firewall code.

Therefore, we decided to end the product life-cycle of Emsisoft Internet Security and merge it with Emsisoft Anti-Malware, which receives the Windows Firewall fortifying enhancements in the version 2017.8 release.

Timeline

September 1st, 2017:
The new Windows Firewall Fortify feature will be part of the version 2017.8 release of Emsisoft Anti-Malware.

October 1st, 2017:
Existing Emsisoft Internet Security software will directly update to Emsisoft Anti-Malware version 2017.9 and the remaining license period will be extended as described below. No manual actions required.

Advantages for Emsisoft Internet Security customers

We appreciate that the decision and swift merging will come as a surprise to our loyal customers, so apart from the additional features already mentioned that ensure capable and secure firewall protection, we are sweetening the transition for existing Emsisoft Internet Security license holders:

  • By switching to Emsisoft Anti-Malware, your annual software license fee gets about 20% cheaper.
  • To compensate for the already paid higher product price, we will extend all active Emsisoft Internet Security license periods after October 1st by 50%.  E.g. if you have 1 year left on your license, it will change to 1.5 years for free.
  • Malware protection capabilities of Emsisoft Anti-Malware will be improved due to less interference with firewall code.
  • Your Emsisoft protection software will get lighter on the system and there will be fewer incompatibilities with other products.
  • Less risk of misconfiguring the protection features.

We hope you think this is a fair deal and will make the transition to our flagship product as smooth as possible. Should you still be unhappy with the upcoming changes, we’re happy to do partial refunds for your remaining license period.

For more details on the merger of Emsisoft Internet Security with Emsisoft Anti-Malware, please visit our dedicated FAQ helpdesk page.

As the cybersecurity landscape continues to evolve, we are continuing our mission towards a safer digital world for everyone. Today we have taken an important step in this journey, and we are excited to continue to improve our protection services for our customers.

Have a great, malware-free day!

  • Steven Winderlich

    Problem for me is as my license runs out in 41 days the extending of the license wont affect me…….Bad timing for me. But overall a good and logical decision you have made and yes i can confirm on Windows 10 that the firewall is much better (It blocked Skype for me already), no sarcasm intended :)

    • Christian

      Please get in touch with our customer support team. There is no bad timing for anyone, I’m confident we can make everybody happy. :)

  • Werkhoven

    I find this unacceptable. I have payed 50,00 euro for Emsisoft Internet Security for 1 computer for 1 year and I have 276 days left. So I would like to get 37,81 euro back as soon as possible and stop the license.

  • Локи

    Very sorry. Without a firewall, this product is not interesting to me, because the built-in Windows firewall is very inconvenient and I do not consider it a worthy alternative.
    Apparently will have to select another product that has a firewall in its composition.

    • Piotr

      Same here for me :(

    • Viktor Jönsson

      You can just install for example Comodo Firewall and run it alongside Emsisoft

      • Локи

        Yes, I can, but don’t want to use additional program instead of integrated product. It will only worsen the system performance.

  • Alysson

    Acho errado oque estão fazendo, visando computadores desatualizados ou mesmo o perfil de cada usuário.

    Muitos gostam do Firewall Emsisoft.

    Eu comprei o Emsisoft visando um software completo oque inclui um firewall, não gosto do firewall do windows.

  • Ahmad

    Actually I think this is a step in the right direction .. after all, Emsisoft’s team knows best.
    One thing for sure , they won’t settle for less protection , Emsi has always been top notch .
    my license ends in late November and I’m gonna renew .
    the great thing about your vision , which is clearly apparent here, is that you always get rid of redundancies and you always maintain your software bloat-free .. in this industry what seems more is actually less . It’s sad that the average user is deceived by fancy “tune-ups” (more like tune-down) bundled with almost all security suits these days.

    P.S. I’m trying to access my license center but it’s not available. also my license for EIS is for multiple pcs , since you’ve removed it from the website, where can I download EIS ? does this mean that EAM would accept my EIS license ?

  • Gürgün Dayıoğlu

    I think Emsisoft made a right decision here, as they mentioned above windows firewall is getting better and better every day and as they know the best for us they probably thought focusing on the more important features is obviously a better thing to do than trying to improve the firewall which is not big of a deal nowadays and in my opinion it’s also really important to maintain the software bloat-free. So thanks, Emsisoft I really think you are the best you did the right thing and I will always keep using your products..

  • Piotr

    I don’t like it. Windows firewall sucks. It never asks for anything. I wanted CONTROL over my internet connections. I set up emsisoft to ASK me anytime new program wants to connect. I do not know how to configure windows firewall to work that way and I think many users do not know it either. My license is expiring at the end of october and I think it is time to switch to another software.
    I do not trust microsoft and their firewall is 0 protection for me. Maybe I will install zone-alarm or something similiar.

    • Локи

      Absolutely agree. Windows firewall really sucks. I don’t understand how it can be called good alternative for users instead of Emsisoft firewall.

  • Good! I suggesting you guys to add a component to Emsisoft Anti-Malware that allows user to control applications that want to connect to Internet by creating rules in Windows Firewall. Because default method to create rules in Windows are not conveniently. For example I’m using Emsisoft Anti-Malware paired with program called Windows Firewall Control. And I want to use only Emsisoft Anti-Malware but cant, because it dont have that functionality.

    • Piotr

      And you have to pay 10$ for WFC to have notifications asking what to do like in emsisoft IS :/

      • Fabian Wosar

        There are a tonne of applications out there that sit on top of the Windows Firewall. If you want something free that just adds the notification and makes the otherwise more complex dialogs more usable: Windows Firewall Notifier (https://github.com/wokhansoft/WFN) works pretty well and is open source and free. If you want to see something really fancy, you can check out GlassWire for example.

      • Robert Gregory

        Sorry Piotr, but, this information was taken of WFC: “If any of our programs is useful for you, please donate $10 and become a registered user. You will receive unlimited access, to My Account area so that you can activate our programs on all of your home computers, for unlimited times. This is a lifetime license.” – If you have to pay, it’s a very low price for a forever license….

  • It is a shame you must deal with those (below) who will never be happy no matter what good you do. After having my system(s) protected by Emsisoft for close to 10 years now, I trust and applaud your actions implicitly and I have a year left on my current subscription. I am looking forward to the next 10 years of protection from Emsisoft no matter what title you give the program.

    • Piotr

      Do you understand that now you will have less protection than you paid for? You cannot control windows firewall as easily as you control emsisoft. This basically means you have no protection at all because windows firewall allows all conections…

      • Don’t lecture to someone when you have no idea who it is you are conversing with.

      • Fabian Wosar

        Windows Firewall does not allow all connections. It allows all outgoing connections by default, just as EIS does. Incoming connections from the internet are blocked by default, just like EIS. If you want, you can tell the Windows Firewall to block outgoing connections as well for programs you didn’t explicitly allow. Windows Firewall will then just block outgoing connections, but there is no alert for it. So applications that aren’t allowed, will simply get a “network restricted” error. However, there are plenty of applications out there, that add that one feature to it if you really need or want it. The majority of EIS users don’t, as they never messed with the EIS defaults to begin with.
        Keep in mind that blocking suspicious connections that originate from potential malware and PUPs as well as connections to suspicious hosts is completely unaffected by the removal of the firewall, as those functions have always been part of the behaviour blocker and continue to be so.

  • Ernst Stavro Blofeld

    Bad choice guys, I brought this product for the firewall. You may think windows firewall does a fair job, however I do not. You’ve just taken away my reason for having your product. I shall now be dropping this faster than the proverbial hot potato. I had 71 days left.

  • Davka

    Will there be a GUI and notifications in Anti-Malware to create/edit rules of the Windows firewall?

    That would be a perfect solution for me, because creating/editing more advanced rules is uncomfortable in Win firewall.

  • Tempus

    Hey Emsisoft, it is definitely nice that you will extend all active Emsisoft Internet Security license periods after October 1st by 50%. … but that is also a very clever , and good strategic move imho.

  • Piotr

    Please send e-mails to all users about this change. I did not receive this message in program GUI, neither do I received any info on my mail. I stumbled upon this article pretty much by accident.

    • Fabian Wosar

      This will also be prominently mentioned in the next newsletter. We have a strict schedule for those though and we need to translate it. So that is why it hasn’t been sent out yet.

  • Johnny Allison

    I just bought my EIS less than a month ago. It was a pricey alternative to many of the other programs out there but after looking at a ton of reviews I knew that this was probably worth the little extra I had to pay. As far as windows firewall is concerned I expect you guys to know what your doing. It shouldn’t be my job to monitor all of the outgoing traffic. If you are knowledgeable enough to interface with the later Windows versions at all then you should be smart enough the trim the redundancy issues without hampering overall security. Just make sure that Windows doesn’t take away my autonomy. After reading many of the comments below this seems to be the greatest concern.

  • Horus Lupercal

    This is bullshit. I’m a very old client and have a license to 2021 year. But now I stop it and quit. No way to Microsoft FW. Because i know many ways “how to exploit” this piece of sh..t from Microsoft. And for Windows 10 too.

  • OtterNZ

    To the people complaining about the removal of the firewall, it would probably help the mods to mention what feature of the firewall you don’t like losing. As Fabian Wosar mentioned “Windows Firewall does not allow all connections. It allows all outgoing connections by default, just as EIS does. Incoming connections from the internet are blocked by default, just like EIS. If you want, you can tell the Windows Firewall to block outgoing connections as well for programs you didn’t explicitly allow.”

    Based on the blog post it appears as if the behavior blocker is going to handle any “gaps” in Windows firewall. If both firewalls blocked all incoming, and allowed all outgoing by default then there is no difference there. It is the Emsisoft behavior blocker than gives you the extra outgoing protection.

    As several of you have stated, you aren’t happy with this and you’re free to change products (or you could keep using Emsisoft AM and just add a firewall product). For me, I’ve used competitors products that integrated with Windows firewall, so as long as the behavior blocker is active I’m happy.

  • I think Emsisoft is doing the right thing. Although I use Emsisoft Internet Security, I also disable Windows Firewall and use, instead, Spy Shelter, to which I have a lifetime license. It is a superb firewall, especially for anyone who knows how to use its configuration elements to customize its operation. I plan to continue with Emsisoft after the transition, and plan to continue using Spy Shelter Firewall instead of Windows Firewall. They work seamlessly together now; they should continue to do so after the firewall component is removed from Emsisoft Security. Thank you, Emsisoft, for the term extension. Since I purchased EIS on 9/28/16, I should get a term extension of five months or so. I see no reason to run away from Emsisoft. And I don’t necessarily agree with those who feel a firewall has to be an integral part of the chosen antivirus solution. I think the freestanding firewall is superior, if the best one is used.