This popular Firewall now protects a computer from malicious software
Zonealarm has long been our free firewall of choice, so we're excited to see that it now includes an anti-virus tool as well. This reduces the number of different programs needed to keep a PC safe online.
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Installation is straightforward with an easy install option. We opted to check the options and you might want to do this as well as there are several changes that it will make to your computer.
It will offer to install the Zonealarm Security Toolbar that includes a site check tool, a private browsing mode and some security-related bookmarks. It will also change the browsers default search engine to search.zonealarm.com. These can be deselected if you choose the custom install option.
Although this download is 5.56MB, it then needs to download the rest of the program, that was around 75MB.
After installation you are asked for your email address to receive updates but you don't have to. Click on the yellow Finish button to complete the installation.
The interface is clear and easy to navigate with sections for the main tools. Click on a section to view and edit its options.
The anti-virus tool includes read time protection for the computer as well as scheduled scans. By default it runs a quick scan once a week and full scan every three months. Updates are downloaded daily. It is possible to set the frequency of the scans but the exact date and time can only be set in the paid version of the software.
There are two parts of the firewall, application control and the firewall zones. The first is easiest to explain as Zonealarm can block or allow internet access to specific programs. Zonealarm recognises well-known programs so you don't have to set it up yourself, a big advantage given the number of Windows tools that need internet access.
The Zones tool allows you to set different network rules for the internet and your home network. This is useful if you want to share files of media just with computers at home.
Click on the View Zones option and then add. IP Range is the best option for a home network. Make sure that Trusted is selected and enter the start and end IP addresses. You'll need to check this on your router but it will normally be something like 192.168.1.0 and 192.168.1.254. Give the zone a name and click on OK.
Other tools include a site checker that can warn of known phishing website and 5GB of online backup space that can be activated.
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A very good security program for home users
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