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  1. #1
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Zone Alarm Free Vs. Pro?

    I know this could probably go in Software, but since it's a "security" subject, I'll stay in this board. I mean this post with NO disrespect for Zone Labs for I am, thus far, a happy camper with their current firewall, but rather a question of "features" of the Pro version compared to the free one. As I read the description chart, the Pro (paid) product has about three things that one doesn't get in the free version: Triple Defense Firewall, Anti-Spyware and Email Security. I'm not sure where Identity Theft fits in, so I'll ignore that topic for now.

    It seems to me that these three topics are in the same arena as Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro and others who market "package" products to do the many jobs that individual software products do as standalone applications. For example, I use the antivirus component of Trend Micro for all around virus/trojan protection, MailWasher to do "front end" analysis of my incoming emails and, like most of you, a series of malware programs like Spyware Blaster, AdAware, Spybot and others to protect me from those kinds of intrusions.

    The three items I highlighted seem to me to deal with those same topics and therefore a bit of overkill on these topics. I was going to quote the descriptions from the Zone Labs chart but I'll leave it to you to read those at: Zone Labs Feature Comparison Chart.

    I welcome your enlightening comments and tutorials.

  2. #2
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    Re: Zone Alarm Free Vs. Pro?

    Thanks Al for approaching the subject of Zone Alarm and the features each application offers. I checked the different options that came with the Pro package but still don't know if all of it is necessary or not. In fact, I am not sure that it is much different than the CA eTrust firewall that I replaced. I thought it might be a bit "friendlier" to understand but so far, it hasn't been. Like you, I have other items to take care of adware, spam, etc. so it could be that the simple free version may be better (for me)! Or I may go back to the CA eTrust version since it is also free for me. I'll be very interested in what others may have to say about this topic! <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15>


    "Peace begins with a smile. "-- Mother Teresa

  3. #3
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Zone Alarm Free Vs. Pro?

    The "triple defense" firewall is illustrated in this page (a pop-up from the ZA Pro page): http://www.zonelabs.com/store/company/prod...nse_diagram.jsp

    The second and third "firewalls" reflect the new trend in client security: watching for bad behavior by programs that slipped through all the other defenses. I'm not sure which products will emerge as superior in this area; companies making a large investment in the corporate market (such as Cisco with CSA) probably are the current leaders but I'm not sure that technology has trickled down to retail products. Maybe the latest ZA Pro is one of the first?

    My Outlook Firewall Pro recently surprised me with a warning that an installer was changing a sensitive part of the registry -- Outpost "rolled back" the change but since then my computer has had some problems booting. I'm sure the security vendors will sort this all out sooner or later. Hopefully without requiring a new version of Windows. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Zone Alarm Free Vs. Pro?

    Al,
    I think that the Pro version is ZAs attempt to compete with the "suites" programs, trying to be an all in one, "fits all" type of protection.
    I, like you use the other stand alones to provide my protection and find that the free version of ZA is doing a fine job as a firewall.
    BOB
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    WS Lounge VIP rory's Avatar
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    Re: Zone Alarm Free Vs. Pro?

    Al,
    I would agree with your synopsis - Zone Alarm Security Suite does cover what the others do. In my experience, and according to several reviews I have read, it is also among the best in every area. (In a recent PCPlus review it was one of the only two programs tested that caught the Hacker Defender rootkit). I guess the advantage of having the full version is that you get one interface for everything - though being the paranoid type I am, I also run CounterSpy and Spyware Doctor! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> It also seems to use considerably less system resources than certain other suites I could mention...
    Regards,
    Rory

    Microsoft MVP - Excel

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Zone Alarm Free Vs. Pro?

    Since you need overlapping layers of protection, I don't think it's a bad thing. The ZA Security Suite has a bunch of stuff, but the basics are covered in ZAPro, which is what I use.
    Charlotte

  7. #7
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Zone Alarm Free Vs. Pro?

    Charlotte,
    Right, I don't think Suites are necessarily bad things ( I use a few like Systemworks and System Mechanic ) but I don't think you should put all of your eggs in one basket and rely on one app to do it all for you. More may be better in this case?
    BOB
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  8. #8
    3 Star Lounger
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    Re: Zone Alarm Free Vs. Pro?

    Charlotte,
    Yes, ZAP does cover more than just the basics, but there is plenty of room for other programs that overlap its coverage. SpySweeper, for instance, seems to play very nicely with ZoneAlarm Pro, even though they both prevent malware from installing itself on your machine. Microsoft's beta antispyware also plays well with ZAP's antispyware element. So, in this case, I suppose that more is definitely better. A layered approach to security is wise. Even though I tend toward the 'belt and suspenders' approach, it's better to have too much than too little, unless you're talking about antivirus programs.

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