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Merging Emsisoft Internet Security with Emsisoft Anti-Malware

Starting 2 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 since the release of Windows 7, the Windows Firewall has been doing its job effectively, including the latest Windows 10 version which 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 2nd, 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:

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!

Categories: Emsisoft News
Emsi :

View Comments (117)

  • I'm perfectly happy with your latest development, and as a long time user of your products I've experienced both excellent protection and service, so I see no problem continuing to trust your experience and expertise as it's 'what you do.' I'm also a satisfied windows 10 user

  • I respect a commercial decision. You have a right to change the product, even if that means you lose customers.
    Sometimes, in logic, the right conclusion can be reached founded on the wrong reasons. We have a classic case here. To justify the change based on commercial reasons is fine -- who am I to dispute that. What I object to is when computing reasons are given that are probably wrong.

    If I had a computer that was not attached at all to the internet. What security product would I need? Clearly, I would need a powerful firewall that kept a lid on existing programs. I know from experience. A few years ago, when doing some upgrading, the firewall was turned off for a few minutes, and lo and behold, a sleeping giant (Microsoft Media Player) swung into action, and reset a pile of settings including of all things, the printer! This aspect, which must be powerful and customisable, is probably more important than Anti-virus. In weakening the firewall, you are crippling the product.

    May I say that you also missed a golden business opportunity last year, when Microsoft was busy pushing the downgrades to Windows 10. if you had speedily included a module to block that, I could have recommended your product.

    Windows firewall, like Internet Explorer, and other programs which insist on auto-update without even asking (in the case of skype, even over-riding the OFF setting) need strict policing. Also, all programs need internal policing, even ones that do not connect to the internet.

    I am now forced to look for a product with a powerful firewall that in turn does not wreck my system.

    • Thank you for your feedbacks, they are appreciated.
      Issues you mentioned can be prevented by manually editing/creating rules in Windows Firewall.

      • But, Microsoft is one of the biggest villains!! Even benign programs frequently have settings changed when there is an upgrade.

        Windows firewall, I doubt it can do as good a job as Online Armor did in keeping a lid on the computer. And Windows firewall is under microsoft control.

        You say, "The issues you mentioned can be prevented by manually editing/creating rules in Windows Firewall.". Are you sure? Are you really saying that by tweaking the windows firewall, people could have stopped the downgrade to Windows 10?

        • "You say, "The issues you mentioned can be prevented by manually editing/creating rules in Windows Firewall.". Are you sure? Are you really saying that by tweaking the windows firewall, people could have stopped the downgrade to Windows 10?"
          Yes i managed to totally block Windows Updates from connecting to internet, so no WU = No "downgrade".

          • You have made my point. Windows firewall, if it had been working properly, would have automatically blocked the downgrade, without the need for manual editing/creating rules. Windows firewall of course did nothing of the kind.
            The downgrade among my friends was the worst virus attack I have ever seen. Even when the downgrade worked, people did not want it. Never forget that while we rely on Windows because the alternatives do not run programs we rely on and there are no equivalents, Microsoft products often behave as a villain. When you have a villain in a room, you overpower them, and however nice they may be at times, you do not trust them.
            The fact that you trust the Windows Firewall, when it is so clearly untrustworthy, means that you oblige me to draw the logical conclusion that, at best, your reassurances are suspect. Sad, but that was your choice.

          • Were you seriously expecting the Windows Firewall (or any Firewall) to automatically block Windows updates just because you don't like Windows 10? If you considered W10 this bad, you should have blocked Microsoft's IP's (there are even automatic tools to add such rules in the Windows Firewall) and there would be no "downgrade". You can only blame Microsoft for W10.

            Yes, the Windows Firewall is not the strongest out there (and neither was EIS) but combined with a good antivirus/malware it does the job fine for most people/situations. Other Firewalls (with HIPS) can still be installed, even though there's limited choice.

          • i think you didn't understand what i meant, we all need Windows Update, so you won't block it unless for specific issues.I just said, to answer your question above, it is possible to block it via Windows Firewall. I don't say it is recommended. I use Windows Firewall since ages, i never been compromised once.

  • My license doesn't work anymore since the merge, how strange is that? I have contacted support@emsisoft.com for a soluttion. :-)
    The firewall option was so bad that I switched it off after a few hours.... Good decision to remove it from the software!

    • Hello, the migration isn't implemented yet, it will be the 2nd October. However, it can be requested by contacting the customer support team.

  • Good move to merge the products. I had viewed all the youtube demos and was impressed. Plus the interface is simple and sparse.

    • Thank you @disqus_DZOKlJZ6Pf:disqus, we are glad you like Emsisoft Anti-Malware and appreciated the merge.

  • I have no faith whatsoever with Microsoft's products. Two of the more obvious issues that I have are:

    1. Their idea of security is different to mine given the history of issues I have had with Skype being a spam vector which has now resolved now I have gone to Tox.

    2. Their updates work fine. Until they don't then there's issues galore. This isn't an uncommon problem and since Defender refuses to update I can't rely on MS keeping my firewall upto date.

    So, this is one of the reasons why I chose Emissoft. This news, however, concerns me and I will be looking at Comono's firewall.

    I am here for a moment of confirmation really: in the Comono firewall I have no need for their HIPs nor their VirusScope or Website Filtering because it's all in Emissoft. Is this correct?

    • Hello @disqus_Iy0oKmcgsw:disqus,

      About the the HIPS: Emsisoft has a Behavior Blocker so do Comodo, it has a HIPS + Behavior Blocker.

      About Viruscope: this is the Comodo's Behavior Blocker.

      About Website Filtering: Emsisoft has one too.

  • just unacceptable.
    controllable and versatile firewall is a vital part for security suit.
    honestly, i doubt sanity of the person who made this decision.
    Windows' security is minimal and has no decent control nor needed function.
    considering huge disadvantage in this regards, i never trust it ever since it implemented into os.

    its only for cutting budget, Emsi, isn't it ?
    can you say windows firewall to be "enough" ?
    NO, absolutely NO.

  • Would most definitely prefer an actual firewall and not something that relies on a Microsoft component.

  • The last sentence in Alysson's comment (via Google Translate) perfectly sums up my issue with this- she said: "I believe it is important to invest in a [3rd-party, e.g. Emsisoft] firewall because the windows firewall is very targeted, an easy target."
    For the same reason that there are thousands more exploits targeted at Microsoft Internet Exploder than at 3rd-party browsers such as Firefox, the Windows Firewall can be expected to be targeted by much more malware than any 3rd-party firewall such as the one formerly in Emsisoft Internet Security. I urge you to reconsider.

  • Too Sad !

    1. Was one on the last real robust windows firewall using "NDIS Packet Filter"... :(

    2. You are joining the masses and abandoning your uniqueness that made you succeed. i really do hope that Anti-Malware will not get f*****up as well later (but i am sure it will be the case at a point or an other in the future)

    3. As always money rule the world... WE GEEKS have not enough financial power (i understand you approach killing the firewall but does that firewall really need that much maintenance ? i am not sure).

    4. As always the user have never the choice... nor notification nor nothing you firewall just disappear.

    Conclusion : i will continue using the product because i use it 70% as a light resource antivirus, the firewall was an appreciable plus, but now i have to rely on an additional app... you should of kept that little shine... or just separate the products completely to avoid killing it, i understand that you have to make the whole team work on Antimalware but your decision was not the best one !

    Suggestion : Bring back the firewall in a standalone product, i am sure his maintenance will be near to zero.

    • @asherbass:disqus you can but you have to forbid updates, which in the end is useless since you won't be protected against new threats.