A firewall is essential on any Internet connected PC. Firewalls control what is allowed in and out of the computer, virtually eliminating the possibility of a hacker gaining control or of spyware that has found it’s way in transmitting any data.
ZoneLabs Zone Alarm Pro is a popular personal firewall application – a piece of software installed onto the PC to block unwanted connections by using:
• the Triple Defense Firewall™
• an anti-spyware system
• the SmartDefense™ service
• protection of privacy and identity
• email protection
• wireless PC security
Zone Alarm Pro is available in a variety of packages, from the single user license to large volume license packages, making it ideal for the home, small network or larger working environment. The program is clearly laid out and easy to use. If a query can’t be fixed through support documentation, there are online user forms for quick and handy advice.
The Triple Defense Firewall, as the name suggests, has three layers of protection, providing excellent security against Internet pests:
• defense against hackers, spyware, and Trojans by not allowing them through
• prevention of “bad” programs attacking “good” programs on the PC by surrounding each application with a second firewall
• deep down protection of the operating system against malicious attacks
SmartDefense works with the firewalls, automatically updating itself with information on new spyware programs and adjusting Zone Alarm’s security settings to match. SmartDefense examines everything that tries to connect to the Internet from the PC to see if it is performing a valid operation. If it is not, access is blocked. If it does allow the connection, SmartDefense will continue to monitor the activity to ensure it does not perform any operations outside of it’s built-in policies.
The privacy and identity protection works to stop annoying pop-up ads and to prevent personal information leaving the computer without permission. Email is kept secure with any suspicious attachments being quarantined for examination in case they contain anything harmful. Likewise, any suspicious outbound messages are also stopped to prevent unintentionally passing on anything nasty.
Even with all of the protection offered by the firewall, some persistent spyware will still find it’s way into the computer. The anti-spyware system within Zone Alarm Pro roots it out, while learning to recognize legitimate items with spyware-like tendencies, such as the cookies for your favorite websites.
Wireless protection is crucial when out in the open on a laptop as well as on the home network. It’s easy for a hacker to hijack a wireless connection or even set up their own. Zone Alarm can prevent connection hijacking wherever the connection is made.
Zone Alarm Pro runs on Windows systems only, with minimum specifications of:
• Windows 98SE/ME, 48MB RAM (some functions may be limited and support is due to end for the operating systems late 2006)
• Windows 2000 Pro, 64MB RAM
• Windows XP, 128MB RAM
• Pentium III 450 MHz or higher
• 50MB available hard disk space
• Internet access is required for updates (Internet Explorer, Netscape, Firefox, AOL and MSN compatible)
• POP3 and SMTP mail only
• Instant Messenger compatibility with minimum version number: MSN 6.2.0205, Windows Messenger 220.127.116.119, Yahoo! IM 5.5.1226, AIM 5.2.3292, ICQ Pro 2003b, ICQ Lite 5.0, Trillian 0.74i, Trillian Pro 1.0, GAIM 0.74, Miranda 0.3.2