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A form of contraception for your PC
Zone Labs ZoneAlarm
Member Name: sue.51
Zone Labs ZoneAlarm
Date: 28/03/02, updated on 28/03/02 (229 review reads)
Advantages: Protects your PC, Can be free for personal use
Disadvantages: Automatic updates only last for one year after purchase
Around the time I finally succumbed and upgraded from BT NeverTime to ADSL, where you have an open ended link to the internet, I started getting twitchy and decided it was time to get myself a Firewall - they are supposed to stop hackers and troublemakers accessing the information on your computer.
I realise now however, that in reality I should have had a package like this a long time ago, as what goes on, unseen to the normal human eye over the Internet is quite scary.
I discovered ZoneAlarm more by accident than anything else after those helpful little bunnies at BT Openworld refused to give me any advice or assistance as to what the best package was to choose.
I opted for Zonealam based on personal recommendation and after reading some rave articles about its effectiveness on the web.
The basic package is free for home users and should prevent hackers getting into your PC -although I guess in a similar ilk to car-thieves and cat burglars, the determined ones will get through.
You may well ask why anyone would want access to what is probably, in your opinion, an nsignificant home PC, but apparently boffins all over the world will look for unprotected home PC's from which to spread malicious damage to computer networks worldwide, they can apparently take over your computer and in effect become you.
Quite a scary thought really, and to me it seemed a little far fetched, however, as someone who is becoming more reliant on her PC for a wide variety of purposes, I decided the time had come to stop taking any more chances and downloaded the package. Within no time at all, I discovered that my computer was being scanned on a variety of ports from networks all over the world, and thus after a few weeks, decided it was time to upgrade to ZoneAlarm Pro and away I went.
SO WHAT IS IT?
Well, as its name suggests it is a more upmarket version of the free version and COSTS - HOW MUCH?
9.95 (£28.53 - GBP amount will depend on the exchange rate at the time of purchase) - you will be required to enter your personal details and credit card info via a secure server - automatic updates are supplied via the web for 1 year after purchase.
Download speed for me was merely a few minutes via an ADSL connection, much slower via a 56K or less I would guess.
The sway for me at the time was they were offering free a wonderful little additional package called AdSubtract CE, which as its name suggests removes the adverts from the screen - In a 90 minute session on-line recently, Absubtract removed 71 advertisements including 31 pop-ups, but that's an op for another time I guess, back to ZoneAlarm.
WHAT DOES IT DO?
ZoneAlarm allows you to lock your computer from Internet access should it be left idle for longer than a pre-determined time which you chose, and prevents other people gaining access to your machine and your personal details.
INTERNET ZONE SECURITY & TRUSTED ZONE SECURITY
These can be set to
Your computer is totally hidden from hackers and sharing is NOT allowed
Other computers can see your computer, but cannot share its resources - this does not affect computers linked on home networking in respect of the internet, but will prevent shared drives from being accessed.
Firewall is effectively off
Do you know how many times your computer software tries to access the Internet?
Who's laughing? Don't you believe it; so far, in addition to my E-Mail and Internet Browsers I have had a total of 24 programs try to access the Internet under their own steam, scary - who said computers couldn't think?
The facility offers 4 settings, I opted for medium, whereby each program trying to access the net has to request permission the first time, and your response will be remembered for future attempts - s
ome packages such as Ad Subtract and POW will require access to the net in order to perform their intended function.
I leave this permanently to ON; it acts as a supplement to my anti-virus software and quarantines any incoming files that it considers suspicious.
One of the biggest hindrances of using the Firewall at Medium/High settings, it will restrict the activities you can undertake on the web, and will slow your connection down each time it visits a new site to check its suitability.
It can also cause problems for activities such as making purchases, banking and using your beloved Dooyoo & Ciao (before you all sign off) there is a way around this - you can add your regularly visited web-sites to what is known as a Trusted Zone and the Firewall will automatically bypass the system - although for each of these sites, you have the facility to elect to block items such as:
·3rd party cookies
You can also block and expire cookies, as you desire.
IS IT MONEY WELL SPENT?
I should say - since install (December 2001), ZoneAlarm has successfully blocked 230 intrusions, 216 of which have been high rated alerts. If you subscribe to the Pro version, ZoneAlarm Pro will tell you where these alerts are coming from in the world - so far I can recall:
·Somewhere in dark and deepest Africa
Scary thoughts that someone out there wants to know your business - don't let them,
hop along to http://www.zonealarm.com/ and pick up a free copy for yourself, letting you watch out for whose watching you.