Zone Alarm – the Good the Bad & the Ugly

Zone Alarm is a free firewall program that also comes with advanced features for those who wish to opt for them. Like most antivirus software, Zone Alarm has also grown with every new version. One of the most well known features of Zone Alarm is that it requests permission from the user every time the computer accesses a new site, ensuring that you have the freedom to select or deny the site in terms of your preferences.

This feature may sometimes cause annoyance, especially when you are in the middle of working on something important, or if you wish to be uninterrupted while playing a computer game. Many a user has no doubt felt frustrated and hampered by old versions of the program causing periodic interruptions. Consequently, one of the latest versions of Zone Alarm offers the option for you to automatically select or refuse alerts in the program’s ‘Game Mode’.

Apart from Zone Alarm Firewall, Zone Alarm Security Suite 7 is another option for the average user. This program installs quickly and uninstalls just as easily when you need to remove it. Although it has the disadvantage of not having any recovery or back up options, Zone Alarm Security Suite 7 is a viable option for online protection since it is well known for its practically intuitive ‘learning’ function that allows the program to understand your preferences in terms of how often it asks you if you want to continue to a particular website.

Also, the uninstall feature is an added benefit that you do not get with programs such as Norton. Although it may seem like a small detail, being unable to uninstall an antivirus program can lead to several annoyances, minor ones being issues like the program regularly asking you to upgrade, and more significant ones like the old program interfering with a new one that you may choose to install on your system.

Zone Labs has also been lauded for the much appreciated Auto Learn feature available in Zone Alarm, which allows users to customize their systems according to their particular preferences. Since it also offers protection from identity theft, Zone Alarm is unquestionably one of the best protection programs available online. Users also have the flexibility to have their credit card details and other financial information monitored via a real time online system, and are sent alerts when suspicious activity is detected. Zone Alarm can also assist you to stop receiving hard copies of junk mail and spam in your snail mail.

One area where users have found Zone Alarm to be a little questionable is its method of identifying trusted sites. Unlike programs like AVG which use their own toolbars to monitor the security of a visited website, Zone Alarm uses a database of ‘trusted’ sites that can be determined and controlled by the user. While this may give certain users a sense of flexibility and control over their antivirus systems, others would no doubt like a more conventional system of protection that uses inbuilt resources and updates to protect the computer from malicious attacks.