This free firewall lets you control network traffic to and from your computer
Zonealarm is a firewall, a program that monitors the different programs trying to access your computer and the internet, in both directions. Blocking attempts to access your computer blocks hackers. Keeping an eye on software trying to access the internet can block malicious software from spreading or leaking your personal information.
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Installation is straightforward, but we'd recommend selecting the Custom install option. This gives the choice to install a toolbar that can block dangerous websites and changing the default search engine to ZoneAlarm. Installation does not require an email address if you opt not to receive the email newsletters.
When the installation finishes it scans the computer for known software that should be given access to the internet and asks to restart the computer.
When Zonealarm detects a program that is trying to access the internet or local network, it displays a warning message with the option to allow or block the program. This response can be set as a new rule to avoid repeated and annoying warnings.
The main Zonealarm screen shows that the firewall is active with an option to upgrade to the paid-for version of Zonealarm. Clicking on the Firewall option shows how many times it has blocked access to the computer. This also has the option to open the firewall settings.
Zonealarm has two lots of settings, one for activity on the home network and one for the general internet. This is helpful if you want to share documents, photos or music with other computers at home but not on the internet.
We have found it necessary to set up this trusted network before the zones work properly. Click on the Zones option in the Firewall section of the settings window. Click on the Add button and then IP range. Enter the first and last addresses of your network. You'll need to find this information from your router but it will normally be something like 192.168.1.0 to 192.168.1.254. Make sure Trusted is selected in the Zone section and and give the network a name. Click on OK to save the changes. Your computer should now be visible on the home network. It's a shame this cannot be set up automatically.
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