Online Armor 2.1.0.85 Released

Online Armor 2.1.0.85 was quietly released on the Tall Emu website earlier today. The company posted information about the software firewall’s new features on its forums. I’ve tested several betas of this release, but many of the what’s-new items are server-dependent, and so I’m just exploring those nuances right now.

Here’s the list of new features in OA 2.1.0.85 as published in the Online Armor forums:

General
– Resizeable GUI
– Remove Spamshield
– Multiple Desktop Support
– Fixed bug with uninstall protection
– Added hotkeys disable option
– Autoruns Enhancement – The scope of protection has been significantly enhanced in Online Armor – (Thanks to Tony Klein)
– Additional scan during SCW added (folders where start menu items reside).

Safety Check Wizard
– Realtime update during Safety Check Wizard
– Faster Saving
– Deeper, more thorough scan

OASIS
OASIS (Online Armor Software Information Service) has been significantly updated. OASIS is our files database and in previous versions of Online Armor it was woefully out of date because it relied almost completely on manual effort – including updating the servers. OASIS2 provides the users with this data whether or not the file has been assessed, information about what the program does, how many users have seen it and some information about what it does. This is accessible as a search on the website (all users).

When a program runs that is unknown – you can click the “more” button to get the OASIS results for it. This might help the user decide what to do as it provides aggregate information about what the other users did.
You can also right click inside programs —> File Information —> More to get information out of OASIS.

Firewall
Optimized Performance for Torrents – users complained that when using bittorrent, firewall processing created slowdowns. This issue has been comprehensively corrected. You should not see slowdowns caused by Online Armor Firewall.

Automatic Network Identification(Interfaces) – previously all interfaces were lumped in as one. Now, OA will allow interfaces to be selectively trusted/not trusted. This caters for the case of the road warrior that may plug into trusted/public networks. This now also includes VPN interfaces.

Computers Tab – Computers on the network are automatically detected and listed. It is possible to override on a computer by computer basis the trust status. For example, you could have an untrusted network – with two computers plugged into it that you trust. (or vice versa)

Manage Windows Firewall during OA Install – If the windows firewall is active, it will be disabled. If Online Armor firewall is removed, Windows Firewall will be reactivated.

– Added firewall log viewer
– Block network connection on boot (optional)
– Firewall Logs are defaulted to “Off”
– Bug fix: ICMP traffic is now blockable per application

Program Guard
– Install Mode added
– Allow blocking of trusted programs

Run Safer: Added the ability for the user “Safer” program normally, or a normal program “Safer” from inside program guard (rather than have them force the setting change, if for example, they want to use a program temporarily with admin rights)

CPU limiter added to control runaway processes; CPU Affinity control to show which processor a program may use.

For the time being you have to manually download the new version instead of using the automatic-update facility in the program. It’s not connected to Tall Emu’s auto-update server because of an issue they’re working on that, according to ceo Mike Nash, should be corrected in a day or two.

9 Responses to “Online Armor 2.1.0.85 Released”

  1. XPForever Says:

    Online Armor slowed my Pentium 4, 2.80 GHz, 1.5 GB RAM computer to an unusable crawl!! Too bad because there is a lot to like about the product, BUT the product has to allow the computer to operate as it did prior to installation as far as speed of use. No matter what options were selected via Armor’s settings would result in a usable installation.

    Just my two cents!

  2. Scot Says:

    I have heard of this problem, but it’s not the typical experience. I’ve installed the last couple of versions on five separate XP machines and haven’t seen that at all. With a couple of people who’ve had this problem, I discovered that they had left a previous firewall installed but “turned off.” Or they may have had a large security suite product installed which they weren’t aware had a firewall in it.

    The most common symptom of having two advanced firewalls installed on your system — in my experience — is system slow down. I’m a strong believer in being able to mix and match security software, but you should only install one of each type — firewall, av/antimalware, etc. — at a time.

    XPForever, I’m not saying that you have multiple firewalls installed, but I would bet that the problem is a software conflict between OA and something else running on your system. The OA forums might be a good choice for posting your problem.

    — Scot

    P.S. While I always turn XP’s firewall off, it is very ineffective and it doesn’t appear to cause these types of software conflicts.

  3. BigBird Says:

    I used Online Armor on my laptop (Win XP Pro SP2, McAfee anti-virus) for a while. I settled on it after some weeks researching personal firewalls, and was glad that you sort of reached the same conclusion as I did.

    But I had a few serious issues with it. It would occasionally take up 100% of my cpu for long periods of time (ie, 30 mins or longer), to the point where my pc was literally unusable – usually I could not even open Windows task manager to kill the Online Armor process and regain control of the pc. I have no idea what it was doing during these periods. As much as it went against the grain with me, the only course of action was to hit the power button on my laptop and boot up again.

    Due to an issue with it blocking my FTP client’s packets (I use WinSCP), I upgraded from version 2.1.0.31 to 2.1.0.85 a few days ago. There was no solution to the FTP problem in 85, but with help from the OA forum I eventually found a workaround for it – not ideal, but acceptable. The CPU issue was still there, and now I had a new problem – it sometimes prevented Microsoft Outlook from starting. Again the only apparent cure for this was to reboot, sometimes several times, until it allowed Outlook to start.

    So, in an attempt to resolve these issues, after a couple of days on version 85, I upgraded to 95. But this introduced a new serious issue for me – wrong process identification. I tried to start Firefox, and it gave me a pop-up asking if I would allow MS Excel (immediately prior to this point I had been using Excel and had just shut it down). After “Allowing” the pop-up, I opened the Online Armor firewall gui and it was telling me that Excel was connected to Google … I right-clicked on this entry in the OA gui and selected “Kill process”, but this had the effect of killing MSN Messenger, which I had running at that time. Then I got the BSOD.

    It was at that point I decided with regret to leave OA for the time being as it was getting just too inconvenient and time-consuming to have it running on my pc. I reported all my findings in the OA forums, and I hope the OA team can use my experiences to improve their product.

    I am now “sans firewall” …

  4. Scot Says:

    Thanks, BigBird. I haven’t seen any of this or even had reports from anyone else about this. But can anyone else corroborate any aspect of this experience?

  5. MikeNash [Tall Emu] Says:

    The issue of process misidentification has been reported by one or two users, and is discussed at the Tall Emu forums here:

    http://support.tallemu.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3249

    If anyone can reproduce this, and is prepared to install a logging version to help us I’d appreciate the help.

  6. glamdring Says:

    Hello all!
    I’ve been “lurking in the background” reading a few posts here for the last few weeks.
    A bit of background: I’m currently trying to set up a decent security system on an XP SP2 laptop for my brother. The machine is an ASUS F5V with 1GB Ram running on an Intel Core2 Duo T2250. It’s an insurance replacement for an old Acer, and in forcing them to avoid Vista they left his old Norton Internet Security 2006 (hawk, spit) on it. I found it very difficult to configure without reboots and admin rights, and it was certainly a memory hog, so after some research I removed it and installed NOD32 3.0 Antivirus and Online Armor 2.1.0.85.
    I liked the ease of use of both, and the process RunSafer function of OA seemed particularly useful, so I switched that on and decided to ‘thrash’ the system for a few days to see how stable it was. This mainly consisted of running Firefox (and occasionally IE) for many hours continuously, opening and closing between 20-30 tabs, and letting NOD32 update itself occasionally. Additionally I ran WMP and VLC player in the background.
    I tested this on both an Admin and a Restricted account.
    On two occasions (once in Admin, once Restricted), after many hours surfing, I suffered similar problems to BigBird’s initial complaints – the machine would slow down, and eventually I’d receive ‘out of memory’ and other errors if I tried to start up apps. This included being unable to load Task Manager.
    The other notable symptom was an instance of OAUI which appeared on the taskbar, but which could not be opened; I could end it with CTRL-F4, but was not able to enter Task Manager to prove whether the process had actually terminated.
    Has anyone else experienced this problem, particularly in combination with NOD32? Not wishing to be without either Antivirus or Anti-malware/Firewall for any length of time, I’m uncertain how to test the two programs individually. It may be that the problem is only a symptom of somthing else, or a conflict with NOD32, but I can’t think how to prove that.

  7. glamdring Says:

    Hello all!
    I’ve been “lurking in the background” reading a few posts here for the last few weeks.
    A bit of background: I’m currently trying to set up a decent security system on an XP SP2 laptop for my brother. The machine is an ASUS F5V with 1GB Ram running on an Intel Core2 Duo T2250. It’s an insurance replacement for an old Acer, and in forcing them to avoid Vista they left his old Norton Internet Security 2006 (hawk, spit) on it. I found it very difficult to configure without reboots and admin rights, and it was certainly a memory hog, so after some research I removed it and installed NOD32 3.0 Antivirus and Online Armor 2.1.0.85.
    I liked the ease of use of both, and the process RunSafer function of OA seemed particularly useful, so I switched that on and decided to ‘thrash’ the system for a few days to see how stable it was. This mainly consisted of running Firefox (and occasionally IE) for many hours continuously, opening and closing between 20-30 tabs, and letting NOD32 update itself occasionally. Additionally I ran WMP and VLC player in the background.
    I tested this on both an Admin and a Restricted account.
    On two occasions (once in Admin, once Restricted), after many hours surfing, I suffered similar problems to BigBird’s initial complaints – the machine would slow down, and eventually I’d receive ‘out of memory’ and other errors if I tried to start up apps. This included being unable to load Task Manager.
    The other notable symptom was an instance of OAUI which appeared on the taskbar, but which could not be opened; I could end it with CTRL-F4, but was not able to enter Task Manager to prove whether the process had actually terminated.
    Has anyone else experienced this problem, particularly in combination with NOD32? Not wishing to be without either Antivirus or Anti-malware/Firewall for any length of time, I’m uncertain how to test the two programs individually. It may be that the problem is only a symptom of somthing else, or a conflict with NOD32, but I can’t think how to prove that.
    I should add that NOD32 3.0 is a free trial (for the moment), and I’m using the free version of OA too.

  8. Billy Says:

    Howdy glamdring
    I’ve been using NOD32 2.7 and OA 95 for a couple of weeks now and have not experienced any of the problems you mention. Before switching to OA I used the old Kerio 2 firewall and it also worked happily with NOD. From what I have read NOD32 2.7 is probably a better choice at the moment – only the latest versions (build 621 and on) of Ver3 are reasonably hassle free.
    I reckon that when AO eliminates that last few issues which they are working on, OA and NOD will be a formidable pair.
    Both my OA and NOD are paid-up versions.

  9. dale.gj Says:

    I’m running WinXP-SP2 on a Core2Duo system w/2GB memory. I have bothe OA 2.1.0.95 (paid) and Nod32 3.0.621.0 with no problems from the combo in more than 2 weeks of operation.

    Dale

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.