ZoneAlarm Free Firewall Review

ZoneAlarm Free Firewall, longtime choice of PCMag’s reviewers, protects you from hackers that attempt to break into your computer and steal passwords and personal information. Furthermore, its protection helps block port scans and web-based attacks against port scans and similar security threats.

ZoneAlarm’s user interface makes managing all your security settings effortless, as well as offering useful alerts.


Although this program does not contain an anti-phishing engine, it serves as a heuristic firewall which monitors network activity to identify suspicious patterns. It works alongside anti-malware programs or as a stand-in defense against phishing, ransomware and other illicit activity; its user-friendly program monitors installed software to detect spyware or privacy violations and has the added feature of being able to detect programs which attempt to take over control of camera/mic/devices – something many competitors lack.

ZoneAlarm’s anti-phishing capabilities rely on heuristic analysis of login pages. The software can differentiate between genuine and fraudulent pages by temporarily disabling username and password fields while it tries to determine legitimacy. Additionally, this product detects any links leading to unsecure sites or those trying to redirect you towards fraudster sites with a popup banner and tooltip that informs you the page is currently under examination. This program also blocks email addresses and URLs in incoming messages to prevent their misuse by phishing emails. In its previous iteration, Identity Lock allowed users to store 15 types of personal data that could then be replaced with asterisks for outgoing communications – this feature no longer available but this program’s heuristic approach makes it a suitable solution for those concerned about identity theft.

All tiers of this program include one year of identity protection through Check Point, its parent organization. Furthermore, every plan offers several additional features you can switch on or off according to your needs – from file shredding capabilities to providing a sandboxed environment for running downloaded software. While the free tier may not offer as comprehensive a level of security as higher priced programs do, it still provides reliable protection.

As with other modern firewalls, ZoneAlarm automatically updates its virus and threat databases to safeguard against new malware threats. Its user-friendly interface makes setting and forgetting settings straightforward for even novices while its system tray icon minimizes impact on system performance.


Defender of Your PC from Spyware Attacks By detecting and stopping programs that spy on you and steal private information, using advanced detection and blocking algorithms, it protects against unauthorized connections to both the Internet and local network, detects unauthorized connections to other computers on both, utilizes powerful database to quickly update defenses against threats, monitor suspicious behavior and identify and stop new malware that bypass traditional antivirus protection such as raw data access/timing issues/SCM & COM and DNS hijacking techniques, employs advanced encryption for sensitive data sent over the internet as well as offering identity theft protection services including credit monitoring/restoration services and offers identity protection services including credit monitoring/restoration services/.

ZoneAlarm hadn’t changed much over the past decade, becoming outdated. The NextGen version provides much-needed relief. The main status bar now displays either a green checkmark indicating security or red Xs if any problems exist, while four icons across the bottom provide quick access to Antivirus, Firewall, Web Secure, and Anti-Ransomware protection features.

The Virus and Spyware Scanner tab of the Settings menu offers various options, such as selecting a custom scan folder. In our testing, a full scan took two hours and 25 minutes – significantly higher than the current average of about an hour for such scans; repeat scans also took over an hour each. Even using custom folder scanning can reduce scanning times; however, you still must wait for all files to be fully scanned by software.

Quick Scan mode performs on-demand scans by default; however, you can switch to full system scanning or set the application to automatically scan archives using on-demand scanning option. Furthermore, you have control over Behavioral scanning as well as whether to include or exclude archives in this scan.

ZoneAlarm includes several features to prevent hacking attempts, including Idle Port Blocking. This feature monitors both inbound and outbound ports to block hackers from attacking through idle or unused ones. Furthermore, ZoneAlarm hides your PC from the Internet in order to reduce chances of bot attacks on it.


The ZoneAlarm Free Firewall includes anti-virus capabilities to identify and eliminate malware threats on your computer, with multiple layers of defenses that use real-time intelligence from DefenseNet threat database to constantly scan for signs of infections on your PC. Furthermore, regular updates ensure quick responses to new threats; automatic checking can even be configured more frequently or manually for updates.

This program’s logging area lets you inspect system activity, such as quick and full scans. It displays a progress bar showing how long each scan will take and has an intuitive UI which makes navigating its various features effortless. Furthermore, its security team can block access to sites deemed dangerous while updates and scans can be scheduled at specific times or when computers are inactive; additionally it runs in stealth mode to minimise online risks while remaining invisible online.

During our tests, ZoneAlarm proved adept at detecting and eliminating most of the malware threats we introduced; it did miss some minor threats not considered serious enough for alerts; it did an outstanding job of mitigating their impact on our system, particularly ransomware detection and removal. It should be noted, however, that ZoneAlarm has recently experienced technical difficulties as well as data breach, leaving it struggling to keep pace with other options available to users.

The program can easily be tailored to suit your individual needs, with default settings designed for novice users and more advanced configuration options for experienced users. Furthermore, the software can be set to run at startup and backup/restore security settings; use proxy servers; allow/block certain applications; as well as backup/restore. It works across Windows versions from 8.1-10 but only offers protection on desktop computers; not mobile devices.


ZoneAlarm Free Firewall boasts some of the strongest firewall capabilities among free software suites. When combined with antispyware and antivirus components, its firewall capabilities provide multilayered defense for most situations; security or network experts may customize settings further for maximum protection.

Your two-way firewall protects your computer from hackers, viruses, spyware and other online threats such as hackers. Phishing sites that are known to you are immediately blocked while unknown URLs are scanned in real time to guard against zero-day attacks. Incoming and outgoing programs are filtered or blocked immediately while internet usage is limited only when necessary – stopping applications from sending data off-network without your explicit approval.

All this can be managed easily with an intuitive user interface that displays the status of three major protection areas – Computer, Internet and Identity & Data – using colored blocks that indicate their status; clicking any one gives access to its related component.

A simple configuration menu lets you define rules based on protocols, packet types and other factors. For instance, an expert group for an application or service could then specify its days and times of operation to give more control over when and how it connects with the Internet.

ZoneAlarm employs its OSFirewall technology to keep an eye on how programs act and alerts when any appear to engage in suspicious activities. While other providers such as Comodo and Outpost also utilize this form of behavior-based detection, ZoneAlarm goes a step further by notifying you when an attempt at connecting to the internet occurs – then only permitting it after receiving your consent.

Ad-supported browser toolbar is irritating, but easily removed via the Options dialog in the Firewall panel. Our only real complaint with this program is its failure to update automatically; manually updating is simple though. Nonetheless, the overall package remains strong, making this an excellent value at free and offering complete protection features as well as antivirus and antispyware protection in one package. We highly recommend it!

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