Essential Software - Firewalls
For individual home users, the most popular firewall choice is a software firewall. Software firewalls are installed on your computer (like any software) and you can customize it; allowing you some control over its function and protection features. A software firewall will protect your computer from outside attempts to control or gain access your computer.
Internet [software] firewalls are a hot commodity and there are an increasing number of products coming to market. In the past, there were only about five firewall vendors. There are now ten times that number and more appear every day. The response from the firewall customer community has been, predictably, confusion. Customers who want to purchase a firewall, who are not familiar with all the ins and outs of the technology are justifiably worried that they may be buying something that is not right for them - so they are asking for a way of making their decision easier.
Firewalls right now are a highly competitive market place. Vendors and their sales teams are constantly asked to differentiate their products against those of their competition, and the pressure is intense. The end result is that things which are very similar are touted as very different, and some types of technologies are cast as inadequate while others are positioned as superior. It's difficult to sort out the hype from the substance.
See the results of the latest tests for the major brands of firewalls :