Security for Everyone - Reviewing Rising Internet Security 2011

Today in the Security for Everyone series, we will be looking at Rising Internet Security 2011. Established in 1998, with roots dating back to 1991, Rising has millions of customers across three continents. Rising also has the distinction of being one of the largest antivirus software companies in China. As was the case with the last product reviewed, I find I have never heard of, or had any experience with, Rising products. My hope is this translates into a fresh perspective. Let’s begin.

First Impressions

Rising makes their just over 100 MB Internet Security Suite trial readily available and does not require any information from you prior to downloading. The setup wizard does allow a bit of customizing or you can choose among the following installation types: Full, Standard and Minimal. For this review I proceeded with the default installation type of Standard.

Rising Internet Security 2011

The rather verbose setup provides a couple of welcome tasks and confirmations. For instance, a window is displayed listing the currently running processes which are accessing the network. Using this interface you can choose to deny an application access thus helping Rising better protect your system while giving you an opportunity to avoid future applications access prompts. Rising will also install a firewall driver on your network interfaces. Prior to the installation it warns that the interfaces will be reset. This prompt provides understandable text and gives you the opportunity to disconnect from any networks or pause activity that may be impacted by this operation.

Rising Internet Security 2011

Once the installation completes, you are required to restart the computer before you can benefit from the full protection of Rising Internet Security 2011. Upon restart, the first thing you may notice is the lion head logo in the upper right corner of the logon screen. This is the first indicator that changes have indeed been made to your system. Shortly after loading your desktop, the remainder of the setup process begins. This last bit of setup involves setting your local IP range as one that is trusted as well as choosing whether or not to join Rising Smart Cloud Security, a data collection engine used to identify new and active threats, which requires only an email address. Finally, the sparse main interface is presented with something of a light and airy visual theme.

Rising Internet Security 2011

The setup is certainly on the longer side. However, it does provide some good opportunity to prepare Rising for the kind of applications you use to access the network. I have yet to settle on whether or not I like the visual theme, and in truth it matters very little, but it is part of a first impression and cannot be overlooked. You may also notice the magenta colored ’Please repair’ button and gauge which do grab your attention. We will look further at what ’Please repair’ means in the following section.

I do need to note that Rising does not end the native Windows Firewall or Windows Defender services. It is not uncommon to find this with one service or the other but for both to be left unattended is unusual. For the remainder of this review I have disabled both security applications. Next, we will move on to determining how easy or difficult Rising is to use.

Rising Internet Security 2011

Ease of Use and Configuration

First things first, let’s deal with the ’Please repair’ button so we can get the security status out of the red and into the green. Rising has a handful of system checks to ensure your system is in the best state to be protected. Among them are making sure an initial update has been performed and disabling shared folders. The latter is a bit questionable, seeing as you may use shared folders but we’ll take the recommended course here to keep things moving along.

Rising Internet Security 2011

Once you’ve done these couple of things your security status should improve to a safe status.

Using Rising Internet Security 2011 is not terribly involved. The interface is setup in five main areas: Center (main status screen), Anti-Virus, Defence, NetProcess and Tools. Actions dealing with accessing the quarantine and starting or customizing a scan will be found in the Anti-Virus area and are pretty straightforward. What is missing here is an easy way to schedule a scan. To get this done you’ll need to access the settings and “make a scan plan" for a quick or overall scan.

Rising Internet Security 2011

The Defense area breaks components into two sections: Computer Protection and Net Defense. Each section gives you quick insight into which application components are enabled and provides buttons for enabling and disabling as well as making associated settings easily accessible. Within the settings for each component you can set the level of security, often times with a slider control, and can choose other setting like whether or not actions should be logged.

Rising Internet Security 2011

The Defence section contains those components typically involved with choosing which applications can access the Internet and how your computer should respond if an intrusion attempt is detected. This is also where you can define IP Rules for managing network traffic at the IP, port and protocol level.

Rising Internet Security 2011

I found the NetProcess area quite handy. Here you will see a list of running processes that are currently accessing the network. From this interface you can see the number of connections via the access column. Selecting the number of connections allows you to terminate a connection. You can also kill a running process via the process manager (wrench icon) menu. If you are unsure where the application resides you can simply double click it for process information. A lot of helpful information packed into one screen.

Rising Internet Security 2011

If none of the direct access to component settings noted above gets you into your desired area of configuration you can always enter the settings directly. Some caution should be exercised as I did not see a way to backup or restore a configuration. In any event, make sure you are aware of what you’re changing in case you need to change it back.

Rising Internet Security 2011

Let’s take a moment to look at what Rising is doing when it disables shared folders, as mentioned in the beginning of this section. In truth, I don’t believe Rising is doing anything at all. Reviewing the Windows folder sharing settings finds sharing is still enabled and indeed nothing has been altered. To further ensure this I confirmed I could still access files at a remote workstation and it could access files on the test system. I pursued the online help to find a clue as to what this setting does and found nothing. In fact, the support site appears to be abandoned with the latest knowledgebase article contributed in May 2009.

Rising Internet Security 2011

Rising appears to be pretty easy to use; however, this last bit of information regarding the odd folder sharing behavior and lack of updated online support is questionable. Let’s move beyond usability for a moment and see how well the default security settings protect a system.

Firewall

When working with the Rising Firewall, you’ll likely find yourself within the Defense area or accessing the settings directly when it comes to configuration tasks. As previously mentioned, you can define traffic rules, determine which applications should be allowed access to the Internet, define Intrusion Detection rules and more.

Of course, all these opportunities to define the firewall settings mean little if the resulting protection is inadequate. When testing the firewall, I like to run an intrusive Nmap scan against the target machine to see just what information is being returned. The rising Firewall fared pretty well.

Rising Internet Security 2011

While the operating system was identified successfully, there is little else of value returned. The low number of open ports shows a system that should be protected from most firewall based threats.

There were no notifications alerting me to the intrusive scan despite settings that said an audible alarm should have sounded as well as a pop up notification. The logs did record that a scan was occurring so one could learn of such an attack if they were diligent at reviewing the logs.

Rising Internet Security 2011

The Firewall allows for a generous amount of configuration and provides adequate default protection. There may be room for improvement but not so much that your security would be at immediate risk.

Antivirus and Antimalware Features

Rising has all the basic antivirus and antimalware scanning needs met. You can run a Quick, Overall or Custom scan with little effort. Setting up a scheduled scan requires a bit of hunting but nothing excessive.

You can choose how to handle removable media, such as a USB flash drive. The default actions here include disabling any Autorun functionality and logging the event. A scan is not performed by default nor will you be prompted to do so, unless you change the settings.

Rising Internet Security 2011

Rising detects the installed browsers and protects them by default, even Google Chrome. Unfortunately this protection is minimal at best. I navigated to several malicious sites and was able to download threat after threat, each time manually bypassing browser security. Rising simply did not detect any of the threats. These are the same threats that another machine running only Windows Defender was able to detect and clean or quarantine. I was quite surprised by this. I really haven’t encountered another product that managed site based threats so poorly.

I moved on to file based threats and unfortunately the same poor performance continued. I planted several infected files prior to installing Rising Internet Security 2011 and none of them were identified even after forcing an overall scan. It was not until I copied an infected compressed file onto the system that Rising detected any wrong doing.

Rising Internet Security 2011

Rising successfully detected 5 malicious files. The problem here is there are in fact thousands of infected files in the test system. These are infected files and threats that almost all other suites were able to identify and quarantine or delete. Disappointing!

Verdict

Stay Away!Rising Internet Security 2011 had quite a bit going for it. I appreciated the fresh interface and solid protection offered by the Firewall. Unfortunately the scanning portion of the suite was found to be quite lacking from the perspective of web based threats. It didn’t stop here as the file based threats suffered from the same lack of detection and cleaning. Finally, there is the strange request to disable folder sharing and the outdated support site. If the folks at Rising happen to read this review it would be great to hear an explanation for the poor scanning results, odd folder sharing request and outdated support site.