ZoneAlarm Free Firewall Review

Millions of people worldwide trust ZoneAlarm Free Firewall to safeguard them against hacker activity, viruses and spyware as well as identity theft and anti-phishing attempts. Additionally, its Anti-Phishing functionality offers extra layers of defense.

Monitor programs for suspicious activity – identifying new threats that evade traditional antivirus and security suites. Customizable settings enable you to tailor this firewall’s performance according to the needs of your PC.


ZoneAlarm provides reliable protection from malware and other threats, featuring a robust firewall which provides real-time and ongoing network intrusion protection as well as anti-phishing, anti-spam protections and an advanced web security tool to scan downloads for suspicious content.

Additionally, this software features anti-ransomware protection to thwart hackers’ attempts at encrypting your files and demanding ransom payments to unlock them. Furthermore, there’s an online backup function so your data can be recovered from cloud storage should disaster or theft strike.

ZoneAlarm may lack some of the more advanced features found in its competitors, but it provides essential security tools for small businesses or households with multiple devices that require protection. With advanced configuration settings that give more control over which programs and ports connect to your computer and a smart firewall that automatically learns and applies rules against zero-day attacks, ZoneAlarm’s suite offers enough essential protection tools.

ZoneAlarm stands out from Windows antivirus offerings with its comprehensive suite of cyberdefense protection. Its web security includes features such as anti-phishing protection and an extension that flags unsafe search results; additionally its phishing and malware protection work across major browsers while real-time file monitoring detects suspicious activities in real time.

As part of its efforts to keep you secure, this app enables you to set custom settings that apply specifically to specific programs or apps based on their behaviors. For example, you could configure critical setting changes automatically notify you and seek your approval before being made; or create general security settings based on protocols, packet types, etc.

ZoneAlarm software enables you to schedule quick and full scans for your files, though the company recommends against running full scans too frequently as they take time and may slow down your computer. Furthermore, the program includes Behavioral Scanning features which monitor for suspicious activities on your system. In case of an issue arises, tickets can be submitted through email or chat to get help quickly.


ZoneAlarm Free Firewall’s installation process is fairly simple and straightforward. After going through its initial setup wizard and product update process, the program will prompt you to enter in your license key in order to activate and synchronize it. Once your program is installed and running smoothly, its settings can be accessed by selecting its Tools menu. In particular, click Programs Control tab to view a list of programs which have asked ZoneAlarm to connect them to the Internet. If you are confused as to why a program received an Alert, keep a small notebook by your computer and write down its name every time ZoneAlarm alerts you with an Alert prompting it – this will become familiar with any requests and help train ZoneAlarm so that it issues less alerts over time.

One of the key strengths of ZoneAlarm is its ability to monitor and govern both incoming and outgoing computer traffic, an essential aspect in protecting against unauthorised entry to your system and any transfer of sensitive information over the web. ZoneAlarm uses vigilant monitoring techniques to evaluate all software behaviors, quickly notifying you if any suspicious activities are identified.

ZoneAlarm stands out from its competition by protecting against spyware, an especially pernicious type of malware designed to steal personal information about your PC and relay it back to malicious parties. ZoneAlarm employs an aggressive scanning engine designed specifically to detect and remove these insidious programs before they have time to steal anything of value from you.

Software updates are made frequently to stay ahead of the latest threats and ensure its proper operation, which has earned praise from users and security specialists alike.

ZoneAlarm is a reliable firewall designed to keep malicious threats off of your computer, but may lack some of the advanced features found elsewhere. Still, its user-friendly design offers affordable premium plans with risk-free 30-day money-back guarantees and is simple enough for everyday users.


ZoneAlarm Free Firewall is a straightforward security suite to set up and use. Once installed, updates automatically take place shortly thereafter without the need to reboot your computer for checking purposes; and no personal information needs to be given in order to use it.

The suite provides several tools for configuring network settings and firewall rules based on protocols, packet types, services provided and traffic types – these settings apply both in Trusted and Public zones. Furthermore, general settings (see “Configuring Advanced Global Firewall Settings”, page 36) may also be tailored based on your Internet Service Provider (ISP) as well as other factors.

Application Control modules give you the power to choose whether or not they contact the ZoneAlarm server each time a program attempts to access the Internet, your local network, or gain server privileges. While this setting may reduce alerts received, it also lowers protection against known malicious programs or threats which rely on Microsoft Catalog databases.

Application Control not only communicates with your server for access policies, but it also queries your computer’s operating system to identify potential malicious activity. This is performed silently unless a program attempts to make changes that violate operating system or ZoneAlarm policies or when any program tries to make changes that exceed what’s allowed by either.

Application alerts are prioritized according to their perceived severity of a threat. Malicious alerts are generated when ZoneAlarm software detects known viruses, worms and trojans attempting to take over or steal information from your computer or steal your personal information. Suspicious alerts occur when trusted programs begin altering their own behavior – for instance changing search pages within Internet Explorer for example – such as changing them manually without permission. You can set custom alerts for specific applications or behaviors with ease.

Game Mode in this program enables you to disable alerts and limit incoming and outgoing data during gaming sessions – ideal for online MMOs that would otherwise compromise computer performance.


If you are running multiple security products such as Zone Labs’ own software suite, setting them all to work together may prove challenging. This is particularly the case if using various versions of Windows such as XP and Vista; in such cases you should reset settings back to default before trying again. If this occurs, simply restore settings back to their initial state before trying again.

ZoneAlarm provides alerts whenever programs on your computer attempt to access the Internet or local networks, change program settings or gain server privileges. Alerts are classified as Low, Medium and Suspicious with Low alerts not requiring any action from you while Medium alerts ask whether you want to Allow or Deny. Suspicious alerts indicate when something might be spyware, worm, trojan or another form of malware. To assist with making decisions about which action should be taken next, the ZoneAlarm software presents brief descriptions for each threat so you can decide how best to proceed with taking it.

Most times, when you recognize the program that generated an Alert, it is safe to click Allow. But if it comes up out of nowhere or is unfamiliar to you, we advise first logging the name and then searching the Internet for more information on it – this can help familiarize yourself with programs asking ZoneAlarm for access and train its firewall so it won’t bother you as often in future.

Maintaining a small notebook next to your PC and writing down all programs that trigger ZoneAlarm Alerts will allow you to become more familiar with them and train the firewall to accept requests with less Alerts.

For a comprehensive breakdown of each ZoneAlarm alert, visit Zone Labs website and read up on their explanation of each type. They also offer an information page to help select an appropriate type of protection plan.

If you are having issues with ZoneAlarm software, Zone Labs’s Website has an online troubleshooting guide to assist with identifying and solving most problems. One such version problem, which many users have reported is that ZoneAlarm won’t load at startup, can be resolved by running MSconfig to disable all startup programs except ZoneAlarm until one causes conflict; once found it should be restored one at a time until it resolves the issue.

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