As promised, this month we will cover a product known as Zone Alarm (www.zonealarm.com). Zone Alarm is a personal firewall for your PC. If you don’t know what a firewall is, see my previous blog article.
Zone Alarm is free for personal use. In the past, the product was only a firewall. The company now makes a version that includes an antivirus program. If you decide to use this version, make sure you uninstall any previously installed antivirus program first. Installing more than one antivirus program can cause your computer to malfunction.
The firewall only product protects you against hackers who want to gain access to your computer to use it for sending bulk emails or to harvest your personal data for identity theft. While Microsoft Windows comes with a built-in firewall, Zone Alarm is more robust and offers more control over what activity you allow / disallow on your computer. During installation, you determine how much you want to interact with the product. The default solution automatically determines threats similar to the Windows firewall, so you will barely know it’s there. Conversely, if you are of a more paranoid nature, you can instruct the program to ask you each time a possible threat is encountered so that you can determine how you want it handled.
The antivirus + firewall product is an all-in-one solution that integrates antivirus protection with firewall protection in a single product. By using this solution, you have one place to monitor internet-borne threats to your computer. Combining the products also uses less resources, so you computer runs faster than if you had two separate products.
While there are other firewall products (some free, some commercial), I recommend Zone Alarm because of its ease of use and respected status within the PC community. Zone Alarm is one of the most secure brands in consumer Internet security, and it protects over 80 million PCs from viruses, spyware, hackers and identity theft.