ZoneAlarm Antivirus + Firewall Print

ZoneAlarm Antivirus + FirewallZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall is an aggressive move by Check Point Software to combine two of the most sought after security features every PC should have.

Check Point Software Technologies has released ZoneAlarm Free AntiVirus + Firewall, the company’s first attempt to make major inroads into the free security suite market.

The core of the package is exactly what its name suggests: ZoneAlarm’s free firewall, plus a basic antivirus engine licensed from Kaspersky. But there’s also a strong antiphishing module, basic identity theft protection, and 5GB of online backup space available if you need it.

We did also spot a few technical issues in our first look at the program. It seemed to have more of an impact on performance than average, for instance. And memory use is relatively high (the TrueVector service, vsmon.exe, required anything from 200-400MB RAM on our test PC).

And, of course, as it’s a free build there are also some notable limitations. The most serious of these is that automatic updates only happen daily (the commercial editions auto-update every hour), although that’s not quite as bad as it sounds because you can run manual updates whenever you remember. And there’s also no technical support for those who stick with the free version.

Otherwise, though, ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall seems a capable suite, with plenty of features and plenty of configuration options to help you set up the system just the way you’d like.

And if you do decide to upgrade, then there are a couple of alternatives which are both currently available at a discount.

ZoneAlarm’s Internet Security Suite ($39.95, that’s $30 off the usual price) has all the features of the free package, with hourly updates, technical support, and parental controls.

And ZoneAlarm’s Extreme Security ($44.95, a $35 discount off the regular price) takes the Security Suite feature set and adds sandboxed browsing, as well as a PC Tune-up module to optimise your system for the best possible performance.

With the antivirus market crowded by giants like AVG and Avast, ZoneAlarm has to differentiate itself. ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall does just that by giving users two of the most important security features in one simple to use program.

Features

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall includes many powerful features for both their antivirus and firewall. There is real-time protection against viruses, as well as auto updating definitions and scheduling. ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall will only check for new definitions once every 24 hours, while its paid versions will update as soon as new definitions are available.

Pros
  • Quick scanning
  • Combines basic antivirus and firewall
  • Minimal ads
  • Easy to use interface
  • Real time protection
Cons
  • No parental controls in free version
  • Average performance

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall's firewall features a log of the different programs that are accessing the internet. The firewall will also give users a list of programs and their "Trust Level," which is a good way to quickly glance at suspicious applications. There is also phishing and spyware protection built in.

One surprising feature of ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall is "Game Mode," which allows you to temporarily suspend ZoneAlarm's popup notifications for uninterrupted gaming. Users can also set it to allow all firewall requests, which is obviously less secure.

Performance

Performance of ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall is very good. Quick scans take only a few minutes. Full scans will take some time but are still an improvement over older ZoneAlarm programs. The speed increase is a result of a redesigned scanning engine. Still, we found ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall to be resource intensive on our system and slowed our boot times down. Competiting antivirus applications were quicker and less resource heavy.

Conclusion

While other programs have more advanced features, ZoneAlarm has successfully combined two of the most important security features for the average user and all for free. This makes it a very useful program for virtually anyone needing this type of protection.

ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus + Firewall is a comprehensive application that provides basic firewall and antivirus features for the average user.

 
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