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Blink Personal

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Blink Personal

Blink Personal offers a solid range of security features, both essentials and extras. You'll get a firewall capable of blocking both inbound and outbound connections, along with antivirus and antispyware. Blink can also perform a Vulnerability Assessment that scans your computer for known vulnerabilities, and offers intrusion prevention that aims to block a wide range of potential attacks--such as a browser-busting buffer overflow sent through Web traffic--before they can reach your computer and cause harm.

But while it's easy to install Blink and get it up and running, and likewise simple to perform some basic tasks such as an antivirus scan, much of the security suite was clearly designed with an IT Pro in mind. For example, the Vulnerability Assessment is highly useful for discovering any of the software holes that crooks frequently target. But you'd have to be a pro to follow many of the fix-it steps listed in the generated report.

Blink uses an antivirus engine licensed from Norman with some add-ins from eEye, maker of Blink, and the signatures used to detect spyware likewise come from both Norman and eEye. You can choose from a good array of options for scheduled and on-demand scans, but figuring out where to schedule a scan is much harder than it should be (go to Options and Settings, select the Virus and Spyware Protection tab, and click the 'Edit Scans' button). Without instructions to the contrary, Blink runs a full scan at 9 p.m. on Friday.

By default, Blink's firewall prompts you to allow or deny any new program's attempt to connect to the Internet. It automatically allows some common programs such as Firefox or Internet Explorer, but you can expect to get plenty of pop-ups after first installing Blink. The pop-up has a good number of technical details, such as the exact location of the program trying to make the connection and the Internet address that it's trying to reach, but it doesn't provide any recommendation for allowing or denying the connection.

It's relatively easy to navigate through Blink's Windows Explorer-like interface. The Progam's Home Page provides a quick status for each of the various components, with links to each one's configuration. But again, figuring out what those components actually do can require a high level of security expertise.

One big plus is that as a smaller player in a crowded field of security products, eEye wants to entice new customers with a generous year-long trial period (for personal use, that is--business users must go with the Pro version). After that it'll run you $25 per year. If you do try it, remember to uninstall other antivirus and/or firewall programs first.

--Erik Larkin

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Blink Personal

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