ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 2012 Review: Internet Security Software
|Visit ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 2012 Website|
|Full-featured, low-fuss improvement to previous ZoneAlarm software; good value, but hard to measure effectiveness|
[Editor's Note: ZoneAlarm is currently offering an exclusive 70% discount on its Internet Security Suite 2012 to NextAdvisor readers. No coupon is necessary; simply follow any link from NextAdvisor to ZoneAlarm!]
Check Point Software Technologies is back with ZoneAlarm 2012 Internet Security Suite. The interface seems to have been updated from last year's Windows 98 look. ZoneAlarm's big selling point has always been its inclusion of a free year of Identity Guard's "Good Start" program, which we'll discuss more in the Special Features section, and now it has added 2GB of free online backup. It's also one of the cheaper products out there, currently going for $49.95 per year for three PCs.
Installation was easy but slow. It loaded without fuss or much confusion. It ran an initial quick scan right away and required just one restart.
ZoneAlarm 2012 has a slightly more modern look than its previous incarnations. It's functional, clear, and fairly well-organized. We found the log viewer to be less informative than on other products we've tested. You can schedule and customize the operation as well. Game Mode is a nice addition as it temporarily suppresses alerts to avoid interrupting your game play, but you must choose to respond to all alerts with a blanket "allow" or "deny." We were also annoyed by the attempts to sell us additional features; for example, an option called "Tune Up" in the top menu bar opens a browser and tries to sell you PC Tune-up, a product that cleans and defragments your hard disk and registry. Customers might feel tricked into buying more than they originally signed up for.
Antimalware and Antivirus:
Our first scan took just about an hour, which is pretty much par for the course. Unlike other products we tried, it did not call out tracking cookies as threats.
ZoneAlarm still does not submit its products to either AV-Comparatives or AV-Test, two independent testing companies that we look to in order to determine a product's effectiveness. Because of that, we can't say much about its abilities quantitatively.
Qualitatively speaking, ZoneAlarm works on the kernel level, protecting the operating system itself rather than just the files within it. Its Advanced Download Protection determined that our test virus, a document that looks and acts like a virus but is not a virus, was safe to download, which speaks either highly of ZoneAlarm or ill of the test file. However, when this file was opened, ZoneAlarm alerted us to the threat right away and treated it automatically. Remember that you can customize how the program responds to these threats, though.
First on the list is the free year of Identity Guard's Good Start identity theft protection service. While not as full-fleshed as Identity Guard's Total Protection program, it will still monitor your Equifax credit file.
Adding to the identity theft protection component is a fairly standard ID Vault. Just enter your personal information (credit card number, social security number), and ZoneAlarm promises to protect it from hackers by verifying that all requests for that information come from legitimate sources.
ZoneAlarm's Parental Controls have improved now that they are provided by our top-rated parental control software, Net Nanny. The controls block programs and sites, limit the amount of time your kids spend online, and even shuts out inappropriate IMs, PC games, emails, and other offline items. Also notable is that ZoneAlarm's firewall passed 100% of the company's own leak tests.
ZoneAlarm 2012 seems much improved, but it's hard to tell for sure because we can't compare its abilities directly to other products. Plus the lack of log information and annoying upsells were rather unsettling. However, even though ZoneAlarm has raised its prices slightly, it's still affordable, and the free year of basic identity theft protection and the online backup increase its value from three to four stars.
System Requirements: Microsoft Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7
**Score indicates impact of antivirus product on system performance. Average of performance tests by AV-Comparatives.
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- ZoneAlarm Review
Here is NextAdvisor's review of ZoneAlarm: http://www.nextadvisor.com/internet_security_software/zone_alarm_review.php