Lavasoft's first foray into the personal firewall market isn't entirely new. Lavasoft Personal Firewall 1.0 is the product of a licensing agreement with Agnitum, makers of the Outpost family of firewalls. While Outpost has a good reputation, it's not that easy to use for those without much firewall experience.

That being said, the program offers excellent logging capabilities, and the creation of custom rules will seem familiar to anyone who has configured mail-filtering rules in programs such as Outlook or Outlook Express. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on your point of view.

Lavasoft PF passed our port scan in stealth mode as expected and even took the time to alert us to the fact that it was taking place. While this notification was useful for testing purposes, it wouldn't take long for the average user to be frustrated if incoming connection attempts were happening regularly (as they certainly now do). That being said, we can't blame any firewall for being informative.

Unfortunately, Lavasoft didn't fare nearly as well in our leak and kill tests. In middle-of-the-road fashion, approximately half of the leak tests got through and half of our attempts to kill the program succeeded. That isn't an uncommon result, but it's something that all firewall vendors are going to have to start paying attention to if they want to compete in this space.

Our biggest disappointment with Lavasoft's firewall was with the interface. Lavasoft did a great job with Ad-Aware, and seemingly did nothing to change Outpost outside of adding its logo. If the company wants to compete in this space, it'll need to take a closer look at its approach and the needs of its users.