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Zone Labs ZoneAlarm

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      26.12.2013 22:28
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      Good easy to use antivirus and firewall. Free is great too!

      Having used some more well known products for years, which seem overpriced and actually to slow my computer down. I decided to try at first the Free Down Load of Zonealarm. I quickly managed to down load the antivirus protection, which came with a free firewall. I have been really pleased with this product. It does not use too much of my computers resources - and even loaded well with my old Windows XP system. The Interface is easy to use and shows how the programme is protecting the computer. There is a small "Z" in the system file which when traffic passes through the virus protection shows two bars which is good as it tells me that the system is working. A nice touch that. It is also possible to see the virus and access attempts made. The Firewall asks for you wish to allow other programs to connect to the internet... I like the way that Zonealarm stores the settings. The actual settings took me a while to sort out but they did also with better known antivirus programmes. There is a great stealth feature which hides my computer. This is something that the users need to start manually so if you wish your computer to be in the stealth mode need to go into setting and activate identity protection. I am so impressed with the free version I will be upgrading to the paid version which gives more peace of mind protection.

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      17.01.2010 18:59
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      A must-have piece of PC protection for any everyday Internet user

      As you are all Internet users, like myself, you need to ensure that your computer is under constant protection from the online threats that we read about every day; these come from hackers, but with ZoneAlarm you do not need to worry. ZoneAlarm (version 9) is a free firewall which makes you invisible to hackers, and constantly monitors inbound and outbound traffic. This basically means that anything irregular that could be a risk to your computer will be stopped, and for minimal threats, you will notified with the option of allowing or denying the access. Now you may be thinking that you'd have no idea where to start with software like this, possibly under the impression of, 'I've never installed a firewall in my life! It sounds very complex, I better pay someone else to do it for me.' Don't do that, ZoneAlarm does nearly everything for you, but the important thing to remember throughout using it is that you're still very much in control, and that's the great thing. The installation package to the latest version of this programme weighs in at just under 40mb, and whilst system requirements state that you'll need 250mb of space, I can't find how it's any more than half of that (different operating systems will vary, however). The installation process is simple, and after a quick scan of programmes and Internet settings you'll be all set to go - that is, after a quick system restart. You'll find that ZoneAlarm settles itself into your computer quite well, making itself comfortable and being of no hassle at all! The only 'hassle' that you'll get is in the form of 'security alerts'. Do not panic when you see these! They'll be quite regular, but only when you first start using the programme. The alerts will appear when a new programme (that is, new to ZoneAlarm) is trying to access the Internet. You'll see what the name of the application is that's trying to gain access, as well as the destination IP (usually yours), and whether or not it's a repeat programme (if it keeps asking for access). Once you've looked this over then you can either allow or deny the application, with the option of making ZoneAlarm 'remember this setting'. By choosing this option, you won't be asked in the future, and you'll begin to see less alerts. If you didn't mean to then you can easily alter your entries in the 'Program Control' section of the product. You may find that ZoneAlarm doesn't recognise your anti-virus, especially if you're an AVG user like me. This is nothing to worry about, but is just a little annoyance. In terms of your role in using this product, that is largely it! Default settings are optimum for most users, but can be changed if you wish to (note that some of the highest settings are only available in the paid version, Security Suite). There is also a useful feature that gamers will certainly appreciate, which is an option to put ZoneAlarm into 'Game Mode'. This basically means that ZoneAlarm will 'temporarily suppress most alerts so you will not be interrupted while playing a game'. Whilst this is useful, you are cautioned that 'this may reduce the security of your system'. This applies even to choosing the automatically deny setting, as you may be stopping legitimate applications from accessing the Internet. The Zones feature also allows for different security settings to be applied to various local networks as well as the Internet. The interface to the programme is very clear and simplified, and easy to find your way around since the makeover a couple of versions back. Some parts are harder to find than others, with hints minimal after installation. A help section is at hand though, and is a useful package for new users to the product. In terms of design, the security alert boxes could perhaps be a little more easy on the eye in terms of colour. I've always been a user of ZoneAlarm, and it's never let me down. Like AVG, it rates highly with the online community, ranking at 38 on download.com's most downloaded (for Windows) chart, whilst total downloads stand at over 45 million. Overall, I don't see why any user should be without this firewall. It does everything it needs to, and the real genius behind it is that it will sit in your system tray during your hours of surfing and simply get on with its job, asking for permissions as and when. It's a superb piece of free software, very efficient at doing what it's supposed to, and perfect for the everyday Internet user.

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        21.10.2008 03:57
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        An excellent software firewall for free

        I always used to use brand name security software though it came to the point where it just wasn't doing the job any more. I didn't really know what other option I had than to search around for a free firewall and antivirus. Zonelabs Zonealarm is one name that came to mind which seems to have an extremely good reputation as being one of the best software firewalls available for free. I'd never really been able to trust in free firewalls before, they always seemed a bit dodgy, but I didn't have a choice. Upon installing and using Zonealarm I was pleasantly surprised. It doesn't use up much of your computers resources and runs lightly in the background. The user interface is also pretty clean looking and easy enough to figure out how to use, though I'm not too keen on the yellow colour. Zonealarm displays a 'Z' icon in the system tray and whenever traffic is sent or received it shows two small bars, like on a graphic equalizer, which move accordingly. Double clicking on this icon opens the program up. Similar to Mcafee Firewall, there is a stealth mode feature which hides your computers presence on the internet by blocking all inbound connections. In fact, security in Zonealarm seems to be tighter than Mcafee, which I have been told by IT Technicians is the best firewall in the world! In fact, Zonealarm is showing that it is blocking more inbound connection attempts than Mcafee was. Zonealarm can be pretty tight at times and really does keep control on everything. Some people have some problems having some of their programs connecting to the internet only to be blocked by Zonealarm, but once you figure out how to configure the settings it's pretty easy to use really.

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          06.08.2008 14:26
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          A Great Complete PC Protection Suite!

          In a world where cyber crime seems to be on the rise daily, probably the single most important piece of software your pc should have installed is a security suite. Viruses, trojans and spyware can all easily infect unprotected pc's, unbeknowns to the unsuspecting user. These can all lead to all sorts of nasty complications for your pc, and even worse, for yourself. PC hard drives can be wiped and even crippled due to attacks from these vicious infections, and more seriously, ID, card and banking fraud can also be encountered without the right protection. When I wanted to replace my pc security with a security suite, I did a lot of research and read a lot of use reviews before deciding on which security suite to go with. The biggest names in online security are probably Kaspersky, McAfee and Zone Labs, and after extensive research I found that Zone Labs ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite generally seemed to be regarded as the best. The latest version, ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 2008, is an all-in-one internet security system. The program includes an OS & network firewall, anti-virus & anti-spyware protection, program control, e-mail protection, parental control and identity theft protection. The firewall has a 'SmartDefense Advisor' feature which allows it to quickly learn the users preferences via a series of security alerts. The anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall all un silently in the background, and alert the user at any sign of intrusion. The user can decide to manually act on these intrusions, or program ZoneAlarm to automatically deal with the situation with the minimum of fuss. The e-mail protection automatically scans all incoming e-mail for viruses, and automatically moves any threats to the virus vault to be repaired, terminated etc. The parental control feature is great for ensuring that children are not exposed to the darker side of the internet, by allowing users to specify the content level allowed on internet sites. Installation and set-up of Zonealarm couldn't be easier. The installation process features a series of questions posed by ZoneAlarm to determine the users experience, and from the results, ZoneAlarm can configure the program to run optimally. Each of the features within the program are easily understandable thanks to a simplified description of each, which appears when the feature is clicked on. I have found ZoneAlarm to be an excellent security suite, and to be very efficient in the job that it is there to do. The rising number of 'Blocked Intrusions' that is displayed on the suite is evidence of that. I have kept going back to ZoneAlarm year after year, since I have yet to experience any serious security threats, touch wood!. I cannot comment on whether ZoneAlarm is better than any of the other top security suites, all I know is that it has protected my PC without fail for many years now, and for that I thank ZoneAlarm.

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            27.04.2008 20:24
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            Good to keep your machine safe - but try to download it elsewhere!

            In case you didn't already know, having a firewall on your computer is a Good Thing. A firewall acts as a barrier between your machine and the big scary world of the internet. That's good for two reasons. Firestly, it prevents nasty people out there getting into your computer. Secondly, it will stop programs on your machine contacting the internet without your permission - a good way to know what is going on with your machine. But software is expensive, unless you're into pirating it (and I'm not). What's a poor girl wanting to keep her machine safe to do? That's where ZoneAlarm comes in. ZoneAlarm is free for personal use - and has been for years now. All it takes is a quick download and then quickly walking through the installation process - something that takes all of five seconds answering questions about your usage. After that, you will need to spend a bit of time adjusting it for your personal use. Every time a program requests access to the internet it will inform you. For programs you know will always need access, such as your browser, it is best to give permanent permission for this. I would advise turning the feature that alerts you when someone tried to access your computer off. It will still block them, but if you receive too many pop up alerts it can slow your computer down. Overall it's a good program with only one problem - you have to download it. If you have NO firewall at all on your machine then accessing the internet for even long enough to do just that can be a risk. Because of that, I would always advise people to download on another machine, copy the file to CD and install from there.

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              13.01.2006 11:43
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              Great piece of free software to protect your p.c.!

              We have an old system at home just working Windows 98se. We've been using the internet now at home for a few years and have only recently thought about getting a firewall, but didn't have the money to fork out for one. I scanned the internet and came across Zone Alert. Zone Alert is a free firewall that you can download to stop intruders/hackers getting at your p.c. On a standard dial up connection it takes around 45 mins (a long time I hear you say!) to download, obviously on broadband this would be greatly reduced. Once downloaded it will guide you through a "wizard" to set up the firewall dedicated to your own personal P.C. No tweaking is needed basically. After installing I found that going back onto the internet there came pop ups asking if the firewall would allow the internet to connect, you just tick a box and click "allow". On looking at the settings for the firewall the opening screen will give you an overview of what's going on. One thing I noticed was the bit where it tells you how many attempts to hack your system you've had, and its pretty scary. Zone Alarm also offers Zone Alarm Plus which is basically a firewall with extras for a small amount. Zone Alarm is an American owned company and you can find them at www.zonelabs.com, the basic firewall is free to download and well worth it. If you want a valued firewall for free try this out.

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                17.02.2005 22:03
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                Over the years I have tried various virus protection programms. one of the best I have found is Zone Alarm, I downloaded the free version, and was impressed. Being in the world we live in, everyone needs protection, and I have found Zone Alarm Pro, offers the protection. It is easy to install, you can stop persons attempting to get into your computer. One of the best features I like is the protection of email. Where if a virus is found. It instantly stops it from causing any harm by putting it in quarantine, you can set zone Alarm to scan the whole computer at a set time each week, or if you wish you can scan whenever. If you want to get an idea of how this programme works, then download the free version. You can always upgrade from it. In my experiance, and I think your agree if you buy it, it's one of the best anti virus progs around

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                  30.04.2004 18:31
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                  ZoneAlarm is one of the most well-known firewalls that can be used by any Microsoft or Macintosh computer or laptop, and possibly others. Manufactured by Zone Labs, the program is completely reliable, useful and discreet, and the best thing about ZoneAlarm is that it is completely free. WHY USE A FIREWALL? It now seems naïve to me that an internet user would not be protected by a firewall of some kind, but the truth is that both of my family?s recent computers were using the internet for several years, completely naked and without protection. Looking back I can see that we did experience minor problems, but it was the upsurge in damaging and mischievous viruses early last year that led to our computer?s failure. There are countless viruses made by hackers for a bit of fun or with nefarious motives, but most people will be familiar with large-scale programs such as ?Microsoft Blast? which caused almost every unprotected computer, in my local area at least, to receive an automatic shutdown message within a minute of being online. My brother claimed to find this celebration of attacking Microsoft very funny, but you could see in his eyes he was crying ?why? Why can?t I play anymore?? With the security of a good firewall, internet users can go about their business safe in the knowledge that any intrusive programs are being blocked from their systems, with any potential existing viruses not being permitted to go about their evil ways. GETTING ZONEALARM The free version of ZoneAlarm can be very easily and quickly downloaded from zonelabs.com, the official website. The download is fast, and completes in sufficient time for Broadband internet users to receive it in full even if they have been attacked by the shutdown notification. Once downloaded, ZoneAlarm asks for some simple details, mostly for your own use, but these do not need to be filled in. After politely asking whether you would mind the computer resetting in order to make the program take effect, ZoneAlarm is ready to go. There is an extensive package called ?ZoneAlarm Pro? that can be purchased from the website, but for my needs the free version is more than adequate, as it would be for most people. FEATURES Once ZoneAlarm has been installed, its icon minimises to the toolbar on the right of the screen, apologies if any non-Windows users are reading this and things happen differently on your computers, and remains pretty much unseen for the rest of its life. The only times it springs to the user?s attention is when a program is run that is attempting internet access, with boxes allowing you to select whether or not it should be allowed access. Selecting the ?remember this preference? box will allow that program (such as Internet Explorer, Media Player or an online game) to access the internet every time, unless you manually cancel the preference. Every so often, ZoneAlarm will receive an update alert from its homepage and ask whether the user would like to update; this seems to happen once every couple of months. It?s always a good idea to do as it suggests in the constantly changing internet world, and the only problem with this is that the program goes offline temporarily before the update is in effect. Selecting the ZoneAlarm icon when in use allows the user to personalise it further, selecting whether or not to protect information such as e-mail addresses (the defauly is always ?yes? on these settings), and providing the list of programs that the user has decreed can or cann ot have access. It is all very straightforward and professional; your little bouncer mate in the corner of the screen. VERDICT If your computer is already protected by a firewall, there is no real reason to download ZoneAlarm, although the reason my brother downloaded it in the first place was because the McAffe program my mother had bought proved as effective as a glass of mineral water underwater. There are a large number of programs that will perform all the same functions as the free version of ZoneAlarm, but I have been using it for almost a year without any problems whatsoever. Yes, this opinion?s title is intended to be a pun on contraceptives, and I feel I should point out at this juncture that these should always be used as well. As with ZoneAlarm, the better ones have to be bought but you can usually find a good one for free.

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                    19.07.2003 01:03
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                    • "May stop a very few websites from working"

                    I have a broadband line (smug look) and have used Zonealarm for several years to protect my PC on the internet. The best thing about Zonealarm basic is that it is free and works on all windows platforms. It is easy to use too - I have had it on my computer for ages and have virtually forgotten about it now which is probably the best way to show its ease of use! I have it sitting up the Windows start menu and it takes about 20 seconds to fire up and start its 'protection racket'. Installation is easy and quickly done, it includes walk-throughs showing you how everything works and tutorials. These can be skipped if required. There is a huge amount of information on the ZoneLabs website in addition to this. Once set up it just sits on the side of the task bar as a small icon. Double clicking on it brings up all the options and console panel. Clicking on the close button then sends it back to the taskbar, but still keeps it working. The console panel shows the programs currently accessing the net, all security level options and also a padlock option to do an instant shutdown - clicking on it immediately cuts out all internet access and traffic from your computer. When you use programs that access the internet for the first time Zonealarm prompts you whether you wish to allow the program to access the internet. Select Yes and check the box to remember the option and once this is all done that is it! You can review the list of programs at any time and what access they have been given and change them if necessary. The basic version includes: Firewall - options to set the levels of security Mailsafe - protect your email from attachments with unknown codes or viruses Event Logger and Alerts - to flash an alert or just log every unknown communication attempt with your computer The Logger can be set up to alert you every time an attempt to hack your computer or unknown communication is detected . This then comes up in a speech bubble in the bottom right and is logged in a text file. I found this feature annoying and turned off the alerts but kept the logging enabled, so that I can read the text file if needed or list them all on the event logging tab. ZoneAlarm Pro is the big brother of ZoneAlarm. It is not free but includes extra features such as Ad Blocking and Cookie Control and the ability to trace the source of any attacks on your computer and more virus types to block in email attachments. Pro costs about £35. These are some of the features and their uses: Cookie control has 3 settings of security - you can block all cookies, block just those from tracking sites, or none of them. Cookie control can be useful but I found it just stopped some internet sites from working properly, including this one. Most personalised cookies will be on internet sites that you have registered with and have to log-in to or are there to recognise when you are returning to them. Zonealarm will block any comms from spyware hidden on your computer anyway. Ad Control has several levels of security: High - block all pop-ups adds and banner ads Medium - block ads that don't load in a specified time or pop-ups None - no blocking This is great - I find nothing more irritating that moving backwards and forwards around a website when animated windows and annoying clips keep appearing and you have to keep closing them....... especially if you are constantly trying to reload a page. At medium this is effective at blocking most annoying pop-ups or adverts. However if you have a sense of ethics remember that a lot of websites depend on advertising for their revenue and so need to know that surfers are reading them so that the advertisers will continue funding them. Tracing attempts to find where any attempted hacking on your computer originated from and will give you a report showing a map location, IP addre ss and server name. You can then send this to the server owner or the email abuse address for them to complain. The best way to check your computer's vulnerability to offering its data over the net is to go the ShieldsUp service at www.grc.com. Here there is a free test to check your computers security which will attempt to contact the internet server on your computer and determine how easy this is. This site is well respected and recommended. With Zonelarm activated it will typically be unable to contact the internet server on your computer, even though you have offered your IP address, and will get no response from any ports. Therefore your computer effectively is hidden the internet and is operating in 'stealth mode'. On the other hand Zonelarm is not so secure that it prevents you using the internet. I have used programs such as E-Donkey and WinMX with ZoneAlarm on high security mode without any problems. There is a lot written about these programs on forums that you have to configure your firewall to work with these programs, forward or specially open ports for them to use but I have not had this trouble, they all worked first time. Maybe this is from people who are getting slow download speeds and start searching for excuses? In general the first time you use these sharing programs, Zonealarm detects that they are attempting to access the internet and will ask whether you are happy for them to access the internet and also whether you wish to allow them to act as a server. After that they go onto the Programs list and you will be bothered no more. However if you wish to manually configure there are options to specify which ports to open and what broadcast types to block or allow and set different options depending on what Internet Security level you have selected. The only trouble I had with these was when I forgot that I had the Windows XP firewall still turned on and all was fine when I turned it off. (Contro l Panel, Network Connections, LAN properties (right click), advanced, uncheck Internet Connection Firewall) Some websites for banking etc are interfered with when using Zonealarm so you may need to shut it down temporarily to use them. However I have only come across one of these so far out of all the websites I have visited. If you are paranoid about security you can always get encrytion programs for your documents and a good anti-virus program. Mainly because the password protection on Office documents is very easy to hack and up-to-date anti-virus will ensure no programs or anything on your computer can cause any mischief. But at the end of the day your computer is one of millions of the internet and the chances of a hacking attempt are small. Keep your very sensitive information on a disk and lock it up and leave the rest on your PC - who wants to trawl through a computer just to look at some holiday pictures, old letters and clips of a squirrel being fired from a clay-pull or other 'humour'? So on the whole I have found it the best firewall to use, generally because you can install and forget about it after choosing a few options and allowing programs onto the internet. It did not give any hassle and mess about with my email settings as one other firewall I had did (Norton 2000). It is much better than the Windows XP firewall, which prevents you using some programs and utilities on the internet. Best of all the basic version is free!

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                      23.02.2003 17:49
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                      I love this product, so much i invested in the pro version, its so simple to use, log yur deatails then basically forget about it & allow it to do its work. I have used Zone-Alarm for over 2years now & I would never ever be without it, highly recommended, & well worth the investment of the pro version, but the free version is just as good if yur not interested in tracking the pings & attacks etc, if yu do invest in the pro version it is well worth the money, only down fall it lasts for just one year, but then i guess yu can't have everything. Firewalls are a good idea & personally everyone should have one, i was shocked to discover how open my pc was before i started using a firewall @ the end of the day without one, its like opening yur front door & sticking a sign outside saying 'free for all, please come look round, take anything yu want' & lets face it, no1 would do that, so why do it to yur pc? GO GET ONE, THEY ARE FREE!!!!!!

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                        09.01.2003 22:10
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                        If you access the Internet for more than a few minutes at a time using a dialup connection (which effectively includes 99% of us), then you really should be using a firewall. In layman?s terms, firewalls are software that forms a barrier between your computer and the rest of the Internet preventing other computers from accessing your machine uninvited. The software is aimed at the average home user, with setup and configuration largely automated and sensible defaults chosen for you. Although the level of logging, analysis and control is adequate for most people, expert users may find it a little light. In terms of ease of use, Zone alarm scores top marks. Setup is painless and quick, with wizards guiding you through. Additionally, Zonealarm ?learns? your preferences as it goes along ? for example, the first time a program on your PC attempts to access the Internet, a popup box will appear to ask if this is OK (you can elect to allow it just this once or remember the setting for next time). Unsolicited connection attempts to your machine are dealt with by masking the presence of your machine (i.e. no response is offered to requests not explicitly allowed by the user placing the remote machine into the ?trusted? zone). The program works well and passes most standard penetration tests ? the ShieldsUp! website passes it without fault. Version 3.5 supports Windows® 98/Me/NT/2000 and XP and can be downloaded from www.zonelabs.com. A ?Pro? version is available to buy with additional features. In summary, if you need a basic firewall for web surfing in Windows, you can?t go far wrong with this software.

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                          29.10.2002 16:11
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                          Ever since I downloaded Zone alarm for free from their website (you have to pay for a licence if you wish to use it for business, academic or governmental use) It has been great. The general idea of the program is to be a personal firewall, monitoring all Internet connections, both outbound (from applications like MSN Messenger, Microsoft Internet Explorer etc? and anything that wishes to access the internet.) If it finds a program attempting to use the internet, a small dialog will pop-up asking if you would like to grant permission to allow this program to connect to the internet. If you click ?No? then the program will not be able to connect to the Internet, however if you choose ?Yes? it will. Also, if you wish Zone Alarm to remember what you say, simply click ?Remember This? and it will do so. This feature is particularly useful for stopping Trojan Horses from sending out information from your PC, and to stop applications downloading or uploading files that you would rather they didn?t. It also gives you an insight in to exactly what applications on your computer wish to use the Internet. Another feature to Zone Alarm is to stop incoming connections to your PC dead in their tracks. This is especially useful for stopping hackers from getting in to your pc. When a hacker attempts to connect to your pc, he or she will search for an open ?port? or to most of us ? a secret door to which they can enter, undetected. Before they can get this far, Zone Alarm already has blocked them and recorded their IP Address (if you wish to report them to the authorities) Cause there are so many hackers out there, all searching pc?s all the time, the popup warning that someone has tried to access your pc does become somewhat repetitive, so you can simply turn it off. The great thing about Zone Alarm is that it runs quietly in your system tray, monitoring everything, as you?d like it to, without disturbing your work. You can a lso enable an entire Internet lockdown, disabling every program from connecting to the Internet, and blocking everything incoming to your pc, should your pc be under attack. If you wish to allow connections to your pc from a specific address, this can also be set up. See help file for more information on this subject. A similar product to Zone Alarm is Norton Personal Firewall 2000, but I feel after using both products that Zone Alarm is better because of it?s ease of use, and the fact that Norton Personal Firewall 2000 is not free, and Zone Alarm is. I recommend this product to every computer user, especially development and programmers like me, who don?t wish their work to be stolen, or corrupted by hackers.

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                          08.09.2002 05:49
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                          Lets face it everyone needs a firewall , theres a large number of utils out there but for the inexperienced they are for the most part very hard to configure. Zonealarm is the exception to the rule , it doesnt give you any worries regarding a badly configured firewall being worse than no firewall .... you install it and depending on how you set the level you are protected. ive had this app installed on one of my machines through a number of versions and all have withstood attacks admirably. Does exactly what it says on the tin without hassle or worry. I totally recommend it. :)

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                            21.08.2002 07:43
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                            ~ ~ Before I became Internet ‘savvy’ my perception of hackers on the World Wide Web was shaped by what I read in the media, and movies such as ‘War Games’, where two young kids hack into the Pentagon computer and end up nearly causing the outbreak of World War 3. To me, hackers targeted financial institutions and banks, or maliciously attacked Government bodies or big corporations such as Microsoft, for the sheer pleasure of causing a headache to the likes of the omnipotent Mr. Gates. The thought never even entered my head that they could possibly have any interest in the PC of a wee mad cabbie from Dublin. ~ ~ But when I began to contribute on a regular basis to dooyoo and Ciao I quickly became aware by reading the opinions of other members that all sorts of different people were indeed very interested on what was stored on the hard drives of very ordinary computer users such as myself. Unmetered and relatively low cost Internet connection (but not here in Ireland!) means that more and more people are now using the Web on a far more regular basis, and for far more different and varied purposes than ever before. Shopping on the Web has increased enormously in popularity, and many people now use on-line banking and credit card accounts. If a hacker were to get their hands on private information such as this then it’s possible for them to literally wreak havoc with your hard-earned dosh, before you are even aware that there is any sort of problem. There are also the hackers who for no other reason than their own malicious amusement decide that it would be fun to infect other people’s personal computers with all manner and sorts of nasty little (and sometimes not so little!) viruses. These can vary from fairly harmless, to the really nasty variety that can end up with you having to format your hard drive to get rid of them, and thus losing all your precious stored information. And last but not lea st are the ‘dodgy’ websites, that once you log onto them deposit horrible little ‘spyware’ programmes on your hard drive. These then work away in the background (without your knowledge) sending all sorts of private information to God only knows who about things like your surfing habits and financial transactions on the Web. And ANY computer that connects to the Web can be a potential target for this sort of activity. Hackers search the Web on a regular basis by sending out ‘pings’ or ‘port scans’, that look around until they find an unprotected computer that they can then attack. ~ ~ It was for these reasons that I decided a couple of years back to install a personal ‘firewall’ on my PC, that stops these sort of attacks in their tracks. Being a true Scot, I didn’t want to actually PAY for a firewall, and after reading a few complimentary opinions both here at Ciao and over at dooyoo about a company called ‘Zonelabs’, I decided to download their free firewall called simply ‘Zone Alarm’. There are other free firewalls available, one of the best of the rest being from a company called Sygate, but what eventually swayed me to Zone Alarm was the simplicity of the programme. Once you have downloaded the relatively small programme (2.87Mbs) and installed it on your computer, then it simply sits there in the background working away and providing you with your much needed protection, without you having to do another thing. When you first install it and connect to the Web, it will flash up a few messages asking you if you want to allow the likes of your ISP and your most commonly visited websites access to the Internet. Once you give your permission, then it stores this information, and wont ask you the same questions again. Another feature that I really like is the big, bold red and yellow button on the toolbar with “STOP” emblazoned across it. Should you ever actually have a serious problem while connected to the Web, then one click on this shuts down your Internet access to ALL websites straight away, hence stopping any potentially dangerous incursions immediately. Zone Alarm creates a log of all sites that attempt to gain access to your computer when you are online, to let you know who exactly has been trying to access your information. Here’s a typical entry from the log, which I copied from my own personal log just this evening. “The firewall has blocked Internet access to img.mediaplex.com (63.209.29.152) (HTTP) from your computer [TCP Flags: S]” To be honest, I don’t really bother even looking at this log very often, as I’m happy enough to let the programme simply get on with doing its job. But for the more techy minded amongst you, it might prove interesting. You can set the firewall to flash you a warning every time it blocks access to your PC, but I have disabled this function, as you’ll be amazed how many times different people actually try to do so, and you very soon get fed up with the constant warning messages. ~ ~ To be fair, I must mention that I’ve read a couple of other opinions where people have run into problems of one kind or another, especially if they are trying to actually uninstall the programme. But I can only speak as I find, and I have had Zone Alarm installed on all three computers in my household for some time now, and have never experienced a problem of any kind. And all of the computers operate on different Windows platforms. My main PC runs on Windows NT, my old PC on Windows 95, and the laptop on Windows 98. And Zone Alarm seems just as happy to run effectively on all of them. ~ ~ There are two other versions of the Zone Alarm firewall, ‘Zone Alarm Pro’ and ‘Zone Alarm Plus’ that offer a few extra features like Ad Blocking and Cookie Control. But these actually cost you money, and I already have another handy little utility called ‘pop up stopper’ that stops those damned annoying pop up ads that so many sites seem to use these days. So I don’t really see the point. Zonelabs will keep at you to actually purchase the upgraded versions though, and I receive emails on a fairly regular basis imploring me to do just that. But I simply delete them, and consider this a small price to pay for the peace of mind that the free version of Zone Alarm gives me when I’m surfing the Net. Have a look yourself if you don’t already have a personal firewall, and let me know what you think. ~~~~~~~~~~~~ “http://www.zonelabs.com” ~~~~~~~~~~~~

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                              06.07.2002 01:08

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                              Zone alarm is a powerful firewall ideal for everyone use, comes in two versions, the standard free version, and the pro version. The pro version comes with ad/popup stopper, mail safe(46 kind of file), active control content, cookies control, whois hacker tracker, blocked zone, search and scan function for Trojan, spyware and hacker tools, and the firewall, all for the price on 39.95 dollars. The free version has only the firewall, and the mail safe option (1 kind of file). I am using the free version and do is job, if you would like to purchase the full version, you can try the 30 day free of the pro version then decide if you like to buy it or not. I personally think that the free version is enough for almost everyone uses, the pro has the mail safe option (you can simply use a good antivirus instead), popup stopper (there are ton of popup stopper free), search function for Spyware, Trojan ( you can simply use ad-aware for spyware and the cleaner or another Trojan remover in case of Trojan files), cookie control if you have Internet explorer 6 is done automatically, maybe zone alarm do a better search, but even this function is already done by another program. The pro comes with many useful programs included in the pack, the free has only the firewall but for many users should be enough. Zone alarm is a very good firewall for internet security, sometimes is even too much, some alarm aren?t even to be considered, it does is job in background or you can display any possible attack done to your pc; you can leave your internet security to this firewall without any fear.

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