ImproveNet was introduced in an earlier version of Outpost as a means of saving users’ time and providing additional security by collecting, approving and redistributing commonly used rule sets among Outpost users.
In Outpost ImproveNet gathers information at the local PC level about how programs interact. These new local rules are automatically updated for ImproveNet subscribers and used to differentiate between safe and unsafe activities. This approach provides a new level of security over local processes.
In Outpost 7 ImproveNet manages distribution of the following content:
- Critical Objects updates for System Guard (first appeared in Outpost 7)
- Self-protection settings and the list of necessary Anti-Leak exclusions
- Settings for compatibility with third-party applications for all Outpost modules
- Preset application rules for Firewall
- List of trusted vendors’ applications for Proactive Protection (Host Protection) module
As Threats Have Increased, So Has the Complexity of security suites
The rapid growth of Internet usage, as evidenced by the increase in the number of online users, rising connection speeds, and the spread of Web-enabled services and platforms, has unfortunately not all been for the good. Hackers and other malware developers have created a breeding ground for Internet-based attacks targeting confidential data, PC performance, and the integrity of corporate networks. Unpatched vulnerabilities and a lack of timely security updates contribute to increasing security problems.
Software firewalls serve as a reliable deterrent to hacker attacks because they put a virtual shield around the host computer and prevent malicious or unauthorized Internet communications to and from the machine, protecting it from hacker attacks and malware intrusions. While an anti-virus acts reactively by checking and removing a virus from the computer, a firewall is designed to be proactive, preventing the virus from getting onto the computer in the first place by constantly monitoring all connection activity and dropping non-compliant data packets.
Firewalls, because of their relative complexity and sophistication, can often require a degree of technical knowledge on the part of the user in order to be configured in a way that will provide the highest level of security. While antivirus operation is more straightforward — basically, you get a file and make certain it’s virus-free by running it past a virus scanner — firewalls need input from you in order to ‘know’ whether a particular type of Internet access or network activity is permissible.
Novice users are the most affected by firewalls’ action prompts because they don’t have the experience to know how to respond to them — how would they know whether the "iexplore.exe" program requesting Internet access via port 80 of an HTTP protocol is normal? After seeing a few questions like this, the chances are they will simply give up using the firewall altogether, or simply allow the connection without any deliberation, which is of course not a good solution.
The problem is exacerbated for all users, not just beginners, by the number of applications that require Internet access today. As a result, even experienced users can end up with a misconfigured system and compromised security. Whether it’s a lack of time in which to research the correct access parameters or simply a lack of available information, users need help in making their firewall configuration as tight as needed without it getting in the way of online activities.
Agnitum recognized the need to provide users with an easier and more reliable way to help users configure their firewalls correctly, and thus securely. The result was the development of ImproveNet, a system that automates not only most of the firewall configuration through our own security experts’ judgment but also the distribution of those configurations to participating users.
As shown at the picture 1, users receive a new generation protection level. In addition to previous features, applications interactions between each other are under control by security rules that are distributed to ImproveNet subscribers.
As shown at the picture 2, rules that users receive with ImproveNet subscription, affect inbound and outbound traffic and connections. This works in Outpost Firewall Pro v3.51.