ESET Smart Security Personal firewall behavior and user interaction


The Personal firewall is a device that acts as a network traffic driver, controlling communication within the local network or Internet. Using predefined rules, the firewall analyzes this communication and decides for or against its establishing. The firewall's most basic function is to protect private networks or computers against intrusion from potentially dangerous outside networks or computers.

There are 3 separate firewall modes to choose from, according to the desired level of restriction. To change the behavior of your firewall, choose the desired filtering mode. To change the filtering mode, follow the steps below:
  1. Open the main program window by clicking the ESET icon next to the system clock or by clicking Start - All Programs - ESET - ESET Smart Security or ESET NOD32 Antivirus.
  2. Toggle Advanced mode in the lower left corner or by pressing CTRL + M on your keyboard.
  3. Click Setup - Personal firewall and then click Advanced Personal firewall setup... at the bottom of the main program window.
  4. The Advanced Setup window will appear. From the Filtering Mode drop-down menu on the right, select the desired filtering mode and click OK.

See below for an explanation of each mode.

Automatic mode

In Automatic mode, network communication is automatically controlled by settings defined by the user. After connecting to a network, the user decides whether it is a trusted zone. Communication in a trusted zone is not limited in both directions. Communication within a restricted zone – the Internet communication - is allowed only for applications establishing outgoing connections. Such applications are trusted also for incoming connections. This mode requires no user interaction (except when connecting to a new network).

In short, Automatic mode uses no predefined rules, but automatically analyzes communication. Applications are allowed to establish outgoing connections. Applications that already established outgoing connections are also trusted for incoming connections.

Interactive mode

In Interactive mode, network communication is handled according to predefined rules. If there is no rule available for a connection, the user is prompted in a dialog window to allow or deny the connection. After some time, the user will have created a group of rules fitting his or her needs. Use caution when choosing this mode for a corporate environment, as after time, some users may ignore the regularly appearing dialog windows and just allow everything they are prompted for by the program.

Policy-based mode

In Policy-based mode, network communication is handled according to rules given by the administrator. If there is no rule available, the connection is automatically blocked and the user sees no warning message. We recommend that you select the Policy-based mode only if you are an administrator who intends to control the network communication, and you are sure you know which applications should be allowed or denied