With Windows 10, there have been increased concerns about privacy because of the entire OS collecting telemetry and sending that data to Microsoft where they inspect it to take future design decisions. Also, new types of malware are always being found to which blocking network access is essential. Allowing network access to only trusted programs is a fundamental step in increasing your security and privacy. Windows 10 Firewall Control is a simple free third party program to control and monitor the network activity of applications. It prevents undesired information leaks for incoming and outgoing connections for applications running locally or remotely on Windows.
Windows 10 Firewall Control puts you in control of all network communications your PC has. It can prevent applications from "phoning home", sending "telemetry", showing advertisements, checking for updates without your permission and so on. It's very useful to detect and stop zero-day malware by blocking its network activity. By adopting a block-everything-by-default approach and allowing access to only whitelisted apps, Windows 10 Firewall Control gives you full control over network communication.
The program by itself is not a firewall application. Instead it simply controls the built-in Windows Firewall present in Windows 10 and earlier versions using the Filtering Platform APIs. The application is very compact, has a small installer and low memory footprint. It's compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. The installer includes both 32-bit and 64-bit versions and automatically installs the appropriate version. Both IPv4 and IPv6 protocols are fully supported.
What's special about Windows 10 Firewall Control is that it blocks connections by default, automatically detects when a program on your computer is trying to connect and shows a clear notification prompt asking your permission to allow or disallow it. Although Windows includes a prompt for inbound connections, Windows 10 Firewall Control goes one step further and shows prompts for outbound notifications too. The ease and transparency in setting up firewall permissions for desktop and Store apps is what sets this program apart.
You can set the desired network permissions for any program easily with a single click. The most safe and reasonable permissions are advised automatically. A rich set of predefined permissions is available, you can choose and apply the chosen permission anytime.
It has an optional balloon notification that instantly pops up and includes detailed activity of each app and a description of why the app was blocked or allowed.
Both, already established and potential app connections are listed. In the paid versions, a predefined set of permissions (security zones) can be set for each program and activity type. A zone can be applied to any application with a single click. You can customize a predefined zone or create a new one that fits your needs precisely.
Many other features are included and the application is continuously being improved for many years. For instance, there is a way to automatically configure hardware routers/firewalls, create a safe virtual sub-network inside a single local network and control network permissions remotely. The application's features are configurable such as disabling popup for new detected program trying to connect, suppress the log balloon, change the sound used for the prompt, import/export settings, password protect the settings panel and others. Windows 10 Firewall Control runs from the notification area (system tray) and also has taskbar integration.
The program has a simpler, free version but the advanced features are available in paid versions. All versions and editions are available in English, German and French. Very careful and personal support is available for free. You can compare the features available in the free version and the paid versions here: http://sphinx-soft.com/Vista/order.html.
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