ThreatFire – Free Zero Day Realtime Virus, Trojan & Malware Protection

Saikat Basu 11-05-2010

free virus protectionA name like ThreatFire unambiguously points towards a security tool. For the sake of world peace, thankfully it’s a computer security tool. In more precise terms, ThreatFire is a behavior based anti-malware protection system.


Still confused? Worry not, as in this post we look at what the free ThreatFire virus protection software is and what makes it a must have in your defense arsenal against the hordes of web based threats out there.

In a previous post on the Best Programs to Keep Your Computer Secure Best Programs to Keep Your Computer Secure Read More , ThreatFire deservedly got its space in the lineup of some really great free virus protection applications. But it has been two years since that post. Since then, security concerns have multiplied, bandwidth has quadrupled, and so have the complexity of the attacks against your lone computer.

So it’s time again to remind ourselves of the need to protect ourselves against multiple threats with multiple layers of computer protection. ThreatFire fits right in the scheme of multi-tier computer security.

What ThreatFire Is

Usually, anti-virus applications work on recognizing known threats. Known threat have signatures or “˜footprints’, which is the key information we download with the updates. A lot of anti-virus software cannot protect you against zero-day attacks. Zero-day attacks are brand new virus files against which security tools have no known protection. Against this, ThreatFire works by homing in on behaviors or patterns which suggest malicious intent.

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So, ThreatFire has an ActiveDefense technology which offers real time PC protection by using sophisticated real-time behavioral analysis. ThreatFire protects against spyware, adware, key loggers, viruses, worms, Trojans, root kits, buffer overflows, and other malware.

There are programs like AVG Identity Protection which work similarly, but it is a paid download. Avast 5 has improved its behavior analysis engine and it has a real time behavior shield in its free anti-virus program.

What ThreatFire Is Not

free virus protection

ThreatFire is not a standalone anti-virus tool or a firewall. It is meant to be one part of your computer’s security set up that includes an anti-virus, firewall, and a spyware. ThreatFire is more geared towards active real time protection. It is not meant for cleaning up a computer which is already infected with malicious software.


Take for instance, a virus which is lying dormant waiting for a trigger. As it is inactive, ThreatFire’s technology based on recognizing behavior will miss the lurking threat. Though it can catch any malicious program that’s active, and quarantine it.

ThreatFire Works Behind The Scenes

ThreatFire (ver.4.7.0) from PC Tools is a small 8.59MB download. It is a no hassle set up and right away you will notice the features that are really likeable.

The first concern on installing another security app on top of the ones you already have makes you reach for the Task Manager and look at the memory being eaten up. With ThreatFire, the memory footprint is small. In fact, it’s smaller than running another browser or messaging app.

You, the user, do not need to configure anything. ThreatFire sits quietly in the System Tray and does its watchdog act. Advanced users can set their own rules via the Advanced Rule Settings. The rules can be easily set up using the wizard.


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Additional configuration options include a sensitivity slider for threat alerts. The default setting is good enough for less in-the-face actions from ThreatFire.

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As it is a real time security shield, you do not need to actively scan your computer. But if you are really paranoid, you can start up the Rootkit scanner. You can choose for a quick check with the Intelli-scan or go the whole hog with a Full Scan.


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The Threat Control Center is the place where you can manage the permissions for the processes. You can allow certain processes to run, deny selective ones, and manage the ones that are quarantined. The program maintains a protection log for all activities.

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Get Active Protection From The Community

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If Community Protection is switched on, you can send feedback via the program on any threats encountered. This information is automatic and helps to increase the real time efficiency of the program. The ThreatFire Secure Community is made up of active ThreatFire users who have volunteered to participate in the community program. The Protection Statistics screen above shows the numbers that go into the community screen.

The site is pretty informative on various aspects of the program. There is also a Submit a File or Report a False Positive page where you can upload a suspicious file for a check. The running blog also makes for a good read if you are into the stuff on computer security and prevention.

The free virus protection software is completely free for home use. It is compatible with Windows 7 (32-bit and 64-bit), Windows Vista (32-bit and 64-bit), Windows XP SP1, SP2 or SP3 (Home, Pro & Media Center Editions), Windows 2003, or Windows 2008.

ThreatFire is a well rounded security application that should sit well next to your anti-virus and firewall. Let us know if it should.

Related topics: Anti-Malware, Trojan Horse.

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  1. Saikat Basu
    May 14, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Vishnu, here's the community discussion on Threatfire+McAfee. It doesn't seem that there's a problem.

  2. Vishnu
    May 13, 2010 at 3:49 am

    Can anyone let me know if this works with McAfee Enterprise.

  3. uttaradhaka
    May 12, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I have been using Threatfire with my antivirus programs for a long while. Its a fantastic complement to your primary AV software. I use it on Windows 7 64 bit. I have used Kaspersky, AVG and AVAST. Threatfire complements all of them flawlessly... Highly, highly recommended.

  4. bxm
    May 12, 2010 at 6:02 am

    I have also used ThretFire it for a while. Works great, but not if you plan on using old Macromedia Freehand. It renders Freehand unusable! I would love to use ThreatFire again, but they first have to fix the Freehand bug...

  5. crazy world of g
    May 12, 2010 at 1:58 am

    Also been using this for years. Works great on Win7x64. I would feel naked without it and it has saved my bacon on more than a few occasions. Highly recommend.

  6. geeknik
    May 11, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Been using this for a long time. It complements NOD32 quite well.