ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus Review
Protects your PC from viruses and Malwares. Blocks hackers from accessing your PC.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus is developed by Zone Labs, and uses proprietary technology, where program access is controlled by “zones”, into which all network connections are divided. The “trusted zone” includes local user area network and allows for the sharing of resources such as files and printers, while the “Internet zone” includes everything outside of this trusted zone. Users can specify which “permissions” (trusted zone client, trusted zone server, Internet zone client, Internet zone server) are given to a program before it attempts to access the Internet (e.g. before running it for the first time) or, alternatively, ZoneAlarm will ask the user for permission on its first access attempt. ZoneAlarm Free Antvivirus truly gives new dimensions to the term security.
ZoneAlarm remains the most popular choice for firewall and antivirus protection. It does what its supposed to, and adds some impressive bonuses.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus Performance
This software easily beats the industry average scores for protection as it catches even new threats from malware, websites and email. ZoneAlarm successfully detcts 99.5 percent of threats compared to the industry average of 94 percent. During a second test the program identifies 99 percent of them, which is better than the industry average. In measuring any negative effects on PC performance and false positives, ZoneAlarm’s performance matches industry averages.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus excels in terms of performance and usability, putting it among the best internet security software products on the market. It has a variety of features, and can tackle spam and spyware in addition to malware. It detects threats that arrive via social media, which is convenient. Its proprietary firewall provides a suitable alternative to that of Windows. There is a game mode to suspend notifications while you are gaming or watching video. Additional features include parental controls and online backup.
“True Vector Internet Monitor”, also known as “TrueVector Security Engine”, is a Windows service that makes the core of ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus. It is used to monitor internet traffic and generate alerts for unauthorized access.
The Operating System Firewall monitors programs and generates alerts for suspicious behaviour. The OSFirewall is useful in preventing rootkits and other spyware.
SmartDefense Advisor is the service available in all versions that allows users to filter certain types of alerts, using a database of trusted program signatures.
ZoneAlarm Anti-Phishing protects private information from a phishing attack and secure personal information from hackers and malicious websites. Its extension for Chrome scans all websites before letting the user insert any personal information. It will alert the user if the website is safe or a phishing attempt, giving maximum security with optimal browsing performance as it only scans the website before inserting information.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus Experience
ZoneAlarm’s homepage is clean and uncluttered, displaying only the most important features. That’s what makes it simple and user-friendly. The homepage features a horizontal banner with the product name just below the title bar. On the left is the pane of menus is from which you can choose firewall, antivirus, email protection, web security, etc. The submenu can be found on the main window on the right. There is a Quick Tasks section at the bottom that points to the links to some useful features.
The scanning option gives the usual types of scans like Full, Quick, and Custom. A real-time protection is available and so is a download protection. This feature analyzes the browser downloads in three different ways and blocks them if it encounters anything suspicious.
ZoneAlarm antivirus’s Firewall keeps the computer invisible online, which reduces the chance of getting infected. Auto-learn is another intelligent feature, which analyzes the behavior and adjusts the firewall settings accordingly. One of the drawbacks of the software is that it takes longer to install than standard antivirus programs.
One significant difference in the new edition is the Technical Support feature in the Help menu. In the free edition, this is a page with links to community forums, knowledge base articles, and support for product installation. Live support is only available for the paid edition, where an expert can remotely connect to the user’s computer and fix the problem over the internet.
Check Point’s ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus provides all the protection of the company’s free firewall, including advanced features, premium support, and innovative phishing protection.
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus Pros and Cons
The central firewall component controls network permissions for all programs. It relies on a huge online database to configure permissions for known programs and, by default, makes its own decisions about unknowns. If users increase protection to the max, it displays notifications when an unknown program attempts to access the network, asking the user whether to allow or block its access.
At its maximum security level, the OSFirewall component displays a lot of suspicious behaviour warnings for both good and bad programs, which can be a bit irritating. It doesn’t attempt to block exploit attacks at the network level in either the free or paid edition but it can still be disruptive to your work.
There are 5GB of hosted online backup that can be purchased from partner IDrive $59.50 at iDrive, a PCMag Editors’ Choice for online backup, as well as a year of credit monitoring from another partner, Identity Guard. The Identity Lock feature prevents inadvertent transmission of user-defined private data via the Web or email.
Pros of ZoneAlarm Antivirus
- advanced firewall features
- stealths all ports to prevent outside attack
- controls applications’ access to the network
- unique real-time phishing detection
- resists direct attack
- includes online backup and other useful bonus features
- mobile version is available
- simple to use interface
Cons of ZoneAlarm Antivirus
- no protection against exploit attacks
- advanced features require uncommon expertise
- phishing detection only works in Chrome
- behavior-detecting OSFirewall flags good and bad programs alike when configured for maximum security
- no option to create bootable rescue disk
- many advanced features absent
- lacks a file shredder
ZoneAlarm Free Antivirus is an all-in-one security solution that seamlessly integrates antivirus and firewall for maximum protection and performance. It uses a powerful antivirus engine and is minimally intrusive. The program doesn’t protect against email spam but it can stop keyloggers in a few ways. ZoneAlarm uses one of the most powerful antivirus engines – the scanning engine from Kaspersky, which has passed all commonly known tests including VB 100%, West Coast Labs Level 1 and 2 as well as ICSA labs and other independent third-party tests. This antivirus provides zero-hour rootkit protection and new automatic definition updates.